Take a boat trip on the Thames

On a first-time trip to London, or even if you have been there many times before, a great way to get your bearings and to see some of the best sights that the city has to offer is to take a boat trip on the Thames. There are several companies that run these cruises from various riverside locations in the city centre, but all of them cover the same stretch of river.

From the Thames you can get great views of attractions such as the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral, as well the many historic bridges. Some trips head down river as far as Greenwich, while others head up river often as far as Hampton Court Palace.

The Tower of London is one of the most-visited attractions in the whole city, built as a royal palace it was then used as a prison and place of execution and is now home to the exquisite Crown Jewels.   Passing under the iconic Tower Bridge nearby is always impressive too.

The next bridge is the famous London Bridge, although this modern construction is not what many visitors expect. If you decide to disembark here there are a number of fun attractions in this part of town, including the London Bridge Experience which takes tourists through the history of the city of London all the way from Druids to Queen Victoria.

The dome of Saint Paul’s still dominates the London skyline even amongst all the new high-rise buildings, and the view from inside is just as good. Meanwhile, the reconstructed Globe Theatre is not only home to a Shakespeare museum but holds regular performances of his plays too.

Many of the London palaces stand on the banks of the Thames, including Kensington Palace, Princess Diana’s favourite, and Hampton Court Palace, famous as the home of Henry VIII and still home to many of his works of art and pieces of furniture. Follow the Thames even further inland and visitors will come to Windsor Castle, the most imposing of the Royal residences in the London area.