London is a popular tourist destination with numerous attractions, but hidden gems often go unnoticed. A Thames River cruise offers a fresh perspective on the city’s famous landmarks and hidden gems. From the historic Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge to the lesser-known Battersea Power Station and O2 Arena, there’s something for everyone. This post shares the top cruises to discover the hidden gems in London and experience the city in a unique and exciting way.
#1. The Grand Canal Cruise
Little Venice, a picturesque area of London, is often overlooked by tourists and locals. The Grand Canal Cruise, one of the top cruises in London takes you on a journey through the tranquil waterways of Little Venice, located in Paddington. The cruise offers a glimpse of some of London’s most beautiful houses on the canal banks. One highlight is the 249-meter Maida Hill Tunnel, built in the early 19th century, a true engineering feat. The cruise also includes visits to Regent’s Park and Hyde Park, offering a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.
#2. The Thames Barrier Explorer’s Voyage
The Thames Barrier Explorer’s Voyage is a once-in-a-lifetime voyage along the River Thames that explores the interesting Thames Barrier and its plentiful wildlife. The tour provides spectacular views of the London skyline, including Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf. While you take in the spectacular surroundings, your professional guide imparts intriguing facts and stories about the river’s history.
More so, the Thames Barrier, one of the world’s largest movable flood barriers, is the tour’s highlight. You’ll learn about the barrier’s importance in protecting London from floods as your boat travels over it. The excursion also allows you to see wildlife such as gray herons, cormorants, and seals swimming and playing in the river. In summary, it is one of the best cruises in London with amazing options.
#3. The River Lea Cruise
The River Lea Cruise, one of the most amazing cruises offers a unique way to experience London by taking a journey through Hackney’s waterways. The cruise takes you through vibrant neighborhoods such as Hackney Wick and the historic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. One highlight is the famous Three Mills Island, home to one of London’s oldest tidal mills. This picturesque location has been used for filming major TV shows and movies. An expert guide will share fascinating insights into the area’s history and culture.
#4. The London Waterbus
The London Waterbus offers a unique, affordable, and leisurely way to explore London’s historic waterways, starting at Little Venice and passing by iconic landmarks such as Regent’s Park, Camden Lock, and the London Zoo. The one-way and return trips allow passengers to explore stops or return to Little Venice. The journey is a perfect blend of tranquility and excitement, with the calm waters of the canal contrasting with the bustling neighborhoods.
The boat is equipped with comfortable seating and a refreshment bar, serving hot and cold drinks, snacks, and light meals. The London Waterbus is also an eco-friendly and sustainable mode of transportation, making it an attractive choice for exploring London’s hidden gems.
#5. The Regents Canal Tour
The Regents Canal Tour is one of the essential cruises to explore the hidden gems in London. Starting from Little Venice, the tour takes a leisurely cruise through a network of canals and waterways to Camden, passing by iconic landmarks like the London Zoo, Regent’s Park, and Primrose Hill. Along the way, visitors can also discover hidden gems like the Maida Vale neighborhood with Victorian houses and Camden Lock, a bustling market, and vibrant street art. The tour also offers insight into the canals’ history, engineering feats, and significance in the city’s infrastructure today.
#6. Olympic Park and River Lea Cruise
The Olympic Park and River Lea Cruise is an unforgettable experience for sports enthusiasts and nature lovers. The cruise takes you to witness the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics, including the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre, and the ArcelorMittal Orbit. The hidden gem, the River Lea, offers a unique blend of sports, nature, and history, showcasing diverse wildlife and architecture. The cruise also provides a glimpse into London’s rich history, making it an unforgettable experience for all who visit.
#7. The Little Venice to Camden Cruise
The Little Venice to Camden Cruise is a charming journey through London’s picturesque areas, starting in Little Venice and continuing along the Regent’s Canal. The cruise offers stunning views of the canal, its greenery, iconic landmarks, and architecture. The area is renowned for its vibrant energy and diverse culture, featuring some of London’s best markets, music venues, and street art. Camden is a melting pot of styles and influences, creating an unforgettable and unique experience.
#8. The Tower Bridge Cruise
The Tower Bridge is a recognizable and beloved landmark in London, offering a unique perspective on the iconic landmark from the water. As you glide down the River Thames, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the city skyline, with the Tower Bridge as the centerpiece. The intricate details and architecture of the bridge are truly a sight to behold, and you’ll have plenty of time to take in the sights.
The Tower Bridge Cruise also provides a chance to learn about the bridge’s history and significance, with a knowledgeable guide sharing interesting facts and stories about its significance in London’s history and culture. If you’re lucky enough to take the Tower Bridge Cruise at sunset, you’ll experience a magical experience as the sky turns pink and orange and the city lights twinkle. The Tower Bridge Cruise is without a doubt one of the most enchanting cruises in London.
#9. A River Cruise to the Docklands
A river cruise to the Docklands is a must-do for history buffs and those interested in exploring London’s hidden gems. The Docklands, once the busiest port, has undergone significant regeneration in recent years, but the maritime heritage of London remains alive. Starting at the Tower of London, the cruise takes you through the heart of London, passing iconic landmarks like the Tower Bridge, the Shard, and the Globe Theatre.
As you head east, you’ll see the modern skyscrapers of Canary Wharf contrasted with the historic warehouses along the river. The Museum of London Docklands tells the story of London’s rivers and ports from the Roman era to the present day. Additionally, you can stroll through the historic streets of Wapping, where you’ll find charming pubs, independent shops, and beautiful Georgian houses.
#10. A Central Thames Cruise
A Central Thames Cruise offers a unique way to explore London’s heart while discovering its charm. The cruise takes you through iconic landmarks like the Tower Bridge, the London Eye, and the Houses of Parliament, as well as St. Paul’s Cathedral and the beautiful Southbank. The knowledgeable guides provide informative commentary on the city’s history and culture, making the journey both scenic and educational. On board, guests can enjoy meals or drinks, making it an ideal romantic evening or a fun night out with friends and family.
#11. The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour Cruise
The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour Cruise is an unforgettable experience for music fans, taking them on a journey through London’s heart, following in the footsteps of the legendary band. The cruise includes visits to the iconic Abbey Road Studios, the London Palladium, and the Royal Albert Hall. Along the River Thames, guests will hear stories and anecdotes about the Beatles and their time in London, while enjoying live music performances of their most famous songs.
The boat is filled with Beatles memorabilia, creating a truly immersive experience. The tour is led by an experienced guide who is passionate about the Beatles and ensures that guests learn everything they know about the band and their time in London.
#12. The Thames Lunch Cruise
The Thames Lunch Cruise, one of the best cruises offers a relaxing midday break in London, providing a break from the city’s hustle and bustle. The cruise takes passengers along the Thames, passing iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, and the Tower of London. The cruise offers a delicious two-course meal and a choice of menu options. This unique and memorable experience is perfect for families, couples, and groups of friends, offering a relaxed atmosphere and stunning views.
#13. Thames Dinner Cruise
Experience the luxurious Thames Dinner Cruise for a unique and sophisticated way to explore London at night. This elegant evening experience includes a three-course meal, live entertainment, and stunning views of London’s iconic landmarks. Guests are greeted by friendly staff and shown to their table, where they enjoy a variety of delicious options, from classic British dishes to contemporary cuisine.
Live entertainment, such as jazz music or cabaret performances, adds to the intimate atmosphere, making it perfect for romantic evenings or special occasions. The highlight of the Thames Dinner Cruise is the breathtaking views of London’s most famous landmarks, including the Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye. Capture stunning photos to remember your unforgettable experience.
#14. The Bateaux London Cruise
The Bateaux London Cruise is a luxurious dining experience on the River Thames, offering a romantic atmosphere and panoramic views of London’s iconic landmarks. Departing from Embankment Pier, the cruise takes a leisurely two-and-a-half-hour cruise along the Thames, offering stunning views of the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, the Tower of London, and Tower Bridge.
The expert chefs create exquisite dishes using fresh ingredients, and guests can choose from vegetarian and halal options as well as a wide selection of wines, beers, and soft drinks. Live entertainment, ranging from jazz to pop, ensures a relaxing dining experience.
#15. The Christmas Lights Cruise
The Christmas Lights Cruise is an unforgettable way to experience the festive season in London. Starting at Westminster Pier, guests are greeted with a warm welcome and a glass of mulled wine or cider. As they cruise down the River Thames, the city’s skyline is illuminated with glittering lights, including the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Tower Bridge.
Additionally, the highlight of the cruise is the dazzling Christmas lights display at Kew Gardens, which transforms the gardens into a winter wonderland with over a million sparkling lights and laser displays. Visitors can disembark and enjoy the magical atmosphere while sipping hot chocolate.
#16. The New Year’s Eve Cruise
The New Year’s Eve Cruise is a popular and spectacular way to celebrate the end of the year in London. The boat departs from the pier and cruises down the River Thames, offering a stunning view of London’s skyline. The highlight of the evening is the midnight fireworks display, which takes place at a prime location. The boat will anchor at a prime location to ensure the best views. Guests will enjoy delicious food and drinks, including a four-course meal and an open bar, as well as live music until early morning. It is indeed one of the best cruises that help people discover the hidden gems in London.