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Central London Highlights Tour with Thames Riverboat Cruise

Experience the city's highlights while cruising the Thames River
From US$185 privately
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • Palace of Westminster/Houses of Parliament
  • Shakespeare's Globe
  • Tower Bridge
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Tower of London
  • Thames River
Photos & Highlights
  • Board a riverboat and travel along the Thames to Westminster, disembarking to explore the city on foot and visit significant landmark sites
  • Learn about London's history and its cultural and industrial development as you view landmarks like St. Paul's Cathedral, Shakespeare's Globe, Tate Modern, and City Hall from the riverboat
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Tour Description
London’s form lends itself to a variety of spectacular views, but the perspective from the Thames gives a particularly comprehensive and evocative perspective on the city's complex history. The skyline that dominates both sides of this waterway reveals the city’s beginnings alongside its most modern additions; William the Conqueror’s White Tower of 1066 sits in conversation with Christopher Wren’s 17th-century dome of St. Paul’s and Norman Foster’s ‘Gherkin.' 

Visiting London can often feel fragmented and impenetrable—too vast or too overwhelming—but the river provides an opportunity to weave all the parts together, to make sense of it. The majority of this tour will be spent on land, but we'll use the Clipper Riverboat to visit the city from one end to the other, with the Thames forming a key thread in the narrative of how London developed as it did. This tour will guide you from London's Roman origins, through the Middle Ages, the affluence of its imperial period, and finally, its current incarnation as a vital modern metropolis. 


  • Highlights of London's most significant sites
  • 3 hours with a PhD- or MA-level guide

Sites Visited*

  • All Hallows by the Tower
  • Tower of London
  • Palace of Westminster
  • Shakespeare's Globe
  • Tate Modern
  • St Paul's Cathedral
  • Tower Bridge
* All venues will be seen from the exterior only

Itinerary Details

The tour will begin on dry land exploring the building of the Roman settlement of ‘Londinium,’ at the London Wall and of the Middle Ages at the city’s oldest church, All Hallows by the Tower. We'll take in the area near the Tower of London and Tower Bridge before our guide leads us down to the river, continuing our conversation about London's early history as we await the Riverboat.

We will then board the Clipper Riverboat and travel along the river to Westminster. Here, we disembark to spend time discovering this side of the city on foot. We'll stroll by such significant sites of British governance as Downing Street and Whitehall, as well as the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben, learning how they have contributed and how they continue to contribute to Britain's past and present. Our tour will then take us on another Clipper journey, this time back towards Tower Bridge. This loop affords us the opportunity to discuss the most important locations on both riverbanks, as we'll also be able to discuss St. Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe, Tate Modern, and City Hall as we view them from the boat. With the Thames as a focal point of the tour, we'll be able to explore such themes as the initial Roman and Anglo-Saxon origins, the Norman Conquest, the river’s role in British Imperial history, and the industrial and cultural development of the Southbank.

At the end of our time together, we'll part ways having explored the highlights of central London from East to West and back again and gained a deeper understanding of how the Thames has shaped this magnificent city.

Interested in exploring London by land? Check out our London in a Day, with Context tour or our London History Tour.


Is this tour wheelchair accessible?
Yes, all boats are wheelchair-, mobility scooter- and pram-accessible by ramp. All piers are wheelchair accessible except London Bridge City, Wandsworth Riverside Quarter, and Cadogan piers. Ramps are used for boarding.

Will you pre-purchase tickets for the Thames clipper?
Yes. We'll pre-purchase a 'River Roamer' ticket (valid for 24 hours) for each participant. Your guide will have the tickets on hand.

How long will we spend on the boat on this tour?
There are two boat journeys in this tour, one Westward and one returning Eastward. Each journey takes around 20 minutes.

What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, and the boat is glass-covered. It also never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.

Is this tour good for kids? 
Yes! We have some excellent family-friendly expert guides who can appeal to the learning styles of children. Please book privately if you have children under 13. Feel free to provide us with information about your children such as favorite school subjects, and hobbies. This way we can match you with the best possible expert.
Where You'll Start
36 Reviews (4.93)

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The tour is fabulous, and so is Caroline!
Rob was an excellent tour guide. He was knowledgeable about a broad range of topics. He was articulate, funny, insightful and welcomed our questions. A wonderful 3 hour tour!
Fabulous tour guide….very knowledgeable!