Looking for a novel way to take in the sparkling, winter London skyline? We set sail on the Thames Clippers on a bright and sunny day, and it sure beat going underground.
Some modes of transport are actually fun, and I’d include the Thames Clipper in that category. So here’s a list of what Tourists Need to Know About Cruising on the Thames Clipper to make the most of a family expedition ‘doon the watter’, London style.
1 As much of London is naturally built along the riverbank of the Thames, catching the clipper is a viable way of getting around London. The Thames doesn’t run through the backwaters of London but it’s a main thoroughfare cutting through the heart of the city. Take a peak at the route planner to discover more.
2 It’s a great way to sightsee as key tourist attractions are built on the riverside, examples include the Tower of London, St Paul’s, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the Globe, the London Eye, you can also spot the Shard and the Gherkin, so there’s lots to see.
3 It’s very buggy friendly compared to the tube. The tube often presents a challenging array of steps with no lifts as far as the eye can see. Pushing your buggy or taking a young child onto the clipper is rampelicious in comparison.
4 There’s ample seating onboard and no overcrowding in comparison with the tube, it’s civilised! Kids can move around a bit, and it’s a relaxed space.
5 The timetable isn’t as frequent as the tube or London buses, and some stops are served more frequently than others, so you do have to pay attention to catching, or potentially missing, the Clipper, so take a look at the timetable to see what would work for you.
6 You can pay to set sail with a good old Oyster card, in fact it’s cheaper to pay by Oyster card or online. The ticket prices are here but we went for two adult River Roamer tickets that allowed us to hop on and off throughout the day. We didn’t have to pay for the tots as under 5’s travel for free. Overall the Clipper isn’t the cheapest way to travel but it was an experience in itself. I wanted to get from London Bridge to the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich anyway: sailing on the Thames Clipper made getting there an event in itself.
7 You can buy refreshments onboard. It was lovely grabbing a cappuccino as we cruised along the Thames. Again, just little more civilised than being pressed up against a complete stranger on other modes of transport, where a cup of scalding coffee would be a serious health hazard.
8 There’s also a toilet – you don’t get that on a bus or tube, ideal for little ones who suddenly declare that they need to go immediately!
9 What we tend to forget in the modern age is that cities and towns are built around harbours and rivers, they are designed with the river and the sea in mind. Seeing the city by boat is an entirely new perspective compared to any other approach, and it’s often how the city was meant to be viewed in days gone by. The Thames used to be the way to get around London, especially before the many bridges were built, so get in touch with London of days of yore, and get some cruise control.
10 Ultimately kids love it. Big kids enjoy a scenic boat trip too.
OUR STORY – We caught the Caledonian Sleeper overnight train from Aberdeen London. We sailed to the National Maritime Museum and had a great wee play in Ahoy! The Emirates Cable Car is also nearby, another great perspective on the city of London. Take a look at our top list of things to do with kids in London. The thought of visiting London with tots was slightly daunting, but in reality we had a blast.
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MBNA Thames Clippers is London’s leading river boat service, connecting many of the capital’s top attractions and providing passengers with the chance to take in the iconic London skyline from the river along the way. Tickets from Central London to Canary Wharf cost £6.30 for an adult single journey and £3.15 for a child single journey when using contactless or Oyster to pay as you go. Or, book a River Roamer ticket online to enjoy unlimited hop on, hop off travel all day from £16.30 for adults, £8.15 for children or £32.60 for a family. For more information, please visit www.thamesclippers.com.
If you like what you read then don’t miss a post, enter your email address in the follow box and You’re In, or join the conversation on Facebook. For any queries or opportunities please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We received complimentary tickets for the Thames Clipper for review purposes.