Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Thames River Routes: City Cruises Westminster to Greenwich

Obviously as a Londoner I've never been on any of the tourist buses or boats, but the call of duty led me to Westminster Pier at 11ish with a £ 12.75 City Cruise Westminster to Greenwich ticket in hand.

Just in case anyone might recognise a true Londoner on a tourist boat, I had a hat pulled down low and dark glasses on: if in doubt I'd deny everything.

I did wonder if it was going to be one of those revelations that even Londoners should give it a try but was not impressed by initial impressions, namely a long queue, out in the baking heat, snaking between cattle barriers:

It wasn't helped by the first boat being too small and the next one going only as far as the Tower but eventually everyone was on-board and off we went.

Piers visited:

  • Westminster
  • London Eye
  • Tower
  • Greenwich

There was commentary of sorts, ad-hoc, a bit like the one up-river. There were three big subjects:

  1. Thames side pubs and their history. So we had pointed out The Mayflower, with its British and US flags, The Captain Kidd near execution dock and The Grapes, owned by Gandalf (ok, Sir Ian MacKellan).
  2. Riverside developments and million pound apartments outside the reach of poor watermen (and reminder that any tips at the end would be much appreciated so they could do further research - mostly related to point 1)
  3. How modern art is crap and there's a reason why the Tate Modern is free:


There was some history stuff, about how traitors would be sent to the Tower through Traitors Gate:

To be honest this wouldn't be news to anyone with eyes and an understanding of what the word meant. But then Thames watermen know more about tides than history.

After The Tower there was Tower Bridge:

It was a very hot day, one for hats, sun-cream and sun-glasses, but most stayed on-top to see the sights.

Commentary got a bit thin on the long way down to Greenwich, though the odd pub or luxury property development did get pointed out.

Finally we arrived in Greenwich:

So what did I think?

It was a lot slower than the Clippers, and more expensive. But there was a commentary of sort and you can get a 360 field of view, unlike on the Clippers which just have a few seats at the back (and rather too close to the diesel exhaust).

Given there is more to see between Westminster and the Tower it would make sense to take a cruise if you're new to London but for the long trip down to Greenwich a Thames Clipper would be both quicker and cheaper.

Not that I know: after all, I deny ever taking this voyage.


Greg Wesson said...

I did one of the Thames Rib boats a few years ago. We boarded at embankment, and as they needed to obey speed limits until past Tower Bridge, they did commentary on that part of the river, and then just speed and banked turns past the bridge. It was good fun.

my2fish said...

How long is a boat trip like this one?

JP said...

Depends upon route and stops but I guess about 50 minutes from Westminster to Greenwich though quicker on the Thames Clipper

I've seen those ribs zooming up and down below tower bridge and might have some photos of them so can post latter