Daytime Cruises from Bankside Pier
Thames River Sightseeing
A visit to London isn’t complete without a cruise on the River Thames. Thames River Sightseeing operate regular services from six piers on the River Thames including Westminster Pier, Embankment Pier, Tower Bridge Quay (St. Katharine Pier) & Greenwich Pier. Thames River Sightseeing cruise 361 days a year & operate a fleet of all-weather vessels with spacious open decks perfect for the summer months & heated saloons with panoramic windows for the colder months. The vessels range from more traditional River Thames passenger boats (London Rose) to more modern vessels purposefully built for the River Thames (Thomas Doggett). A cruise between Westminster & Tower Bridge Quay takes just 30-40 minutes & passes numerous London landmarks including the New Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament), the London Eye, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Shard, London Bridge & Tower Bridge. Passengers can cruise further to the Royal Borough of Greenwich & the Thames Barrier passing the Cutty Sark, Old Royal Naval College, the Queens House, the O2 & the North Greenwich Cable Car.
Passengers can embark at Westminster Pier, Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, Bankside Pier, Tower Bridge Quay or Greenwich & take advantage of a range of ticketing options. Single tickets are suited for day trippers or passengers travelling in or out of London & return tickets allow passengers to disembark & explore before joining a return sailing later the same day. A 2 Day River Pass is the perfect option for anyone visiting London over multiple days. A River Pass allows unlimited travel on our services for just £19.50 per adult, a family River Pass is just £39.00 (for 2 Adults + 3 Children).
Between April & October Thames River Sightseeing operate cruises to the Thames Barrier, cruises to the Barrier are round trips & pass through the Thames Barrier twice before cruising back to Greenwich, Tower Bridge & Westminster. Pre-booked groups can embark or disembark at Barrier Gardens Pier to visit the Thames Barrier Information Centre & Café. A cruise to the Thames Barrier offers a unique perspective of the second largest movable flood defence in the world.
Thames River Sightseeing also offer excellent group rates & discounts which are perfect for families, tour companies or travel trade. Toilet facilities & a Multilingual Audio Guide are available on all sailings. The Multilingual Audio Guide is an informative commentary available through our onboard Wi-Fi in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish or Mandarin (Smart device & headphones are not provided, Read More).
Why Choose Thames River Sightseeing
- Modern & traditional sightseeing boats with open decks, heated saloons & toilet facilities.
- Regular departures: Currently every 40 minutes.
- Onboard Café Bars are open on Saturdays & Sundays serving hot drinks, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks & light snacks. Some sailings between Monday & Friday may also have refreshments available. (Read More)
- Scenic cruises between Westminster Pier, Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, Bankside Pier, Tower Bridge Quay (St. Katharine Pier) & Greenwich Pier passing more than 44 London landmarks.
- Wi-Fi Audio Guide available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German & Mandarin. (Smart device & headphones are not provided, Read More)
- Cruises to the Thames Flood Barrier. (Returning in 2022)
Thames River Sightseeing Routes
We are currently operating 7-days a week calling at Westminster Pier, Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, Bankside Pier, Tower Bridge Quay & Greenwich Pier. Unfortunately we are unable to offer our cruises to the Thames Barrier this year.
Cruises Calling at Bankside Pier
About Bankside Pier
Bankside Pier is located on the south shore of the River Thames next to the Millennium Bridge within the London Borough of Southwark. Bankside stretches from Blackfriars Railway Bridge to the edge of London Bridge City & is one of London’s newer tourist hot spots. Bankside & the surrounding area is home to a variety of historical & contemporary attractions including Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral, the Clink Prison Museum, Golden Hinde II, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Tate Modern, Bankside Gallery & the Millennium Bridge. Bankside is also home to numerous riverside restaurants, pubs, bars & is just a short walk from London Bridge City, the City of London & the South Bank.
There have been settlements in the Southwark area since the Roman’s first established Londinium & built the first London Bridge. The area was the lowest bridging point of the River Thames during the Roman era & it’s name derives from Sudweca meaning southern defensive work. The area became a a busy thoroughfare after the construction of an early medieval London Bridge in c990 & Borough Market was established in 1014 which is still trading today.
Southwark played an important defensive role & was burned by William the Conqueror during the Norman Conquest in 1066. William was unable to cross the well fortified London Bridge & travelled over 50 miles upriver to Wallingford to avoid other secure crossings including Reading.
During the Tudor era Bankside was home to numerous establishments which were not permitted in the City of London including theatres (Including the Rose & Globe theatres), animal-baiting pits, gambling dens & brothels. Bankside has been home to many famous Londoners including William Shakespeare during the 17th century & then Sir Christopher Wren during the construction of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the 18th century.
Bankside Pier is a 7 minute walk* from Blackfriars Station which is served by National Rail Services & the Circle & District London Underground Lines. The pier is also an 11 minute walk* from London Bridge Station which is served by National Rail Services, the Jubilee & Northern London Underground Lines & a number of buses.
Private Charters from Bankside Pier
Our versatile party boats are a popular choice on the River Thames. Large open decks, heated saloons & fully licensed bars are just a few of the facilities to be found on-board.
We provide a wide range of catering & dining options, perfectly paired with our extensive wine menu. Our entertainment options & decorations can also make your event truly unique.
Near Bankside Pier
About Shakespeare’s Globe
The Globe Theatre at Bankside is an authentic replica of a 16th century theatre. Shakespearean plays are regularly performed & guided tours of the theatre are also available. The Swan bar & restaurant at the Globe serves breakfast, lunch, dinner & a “Midsummer Nights Dream Afternoon Tea” inspired by the Characters of Shakespeare’s plays.
About the Millennium Bridge
The Millennium Bridge links Bankside on the South Shore to the City of London on the North. The bridge opened in June 2000 & gained its nickname the “Wobbly Bridge” after an unexpected swaying motion caused it to close. After almost two years of modification the bridge re-opened.
About the Tate Modern
About OXO Tower Wharf
About St. Paul’s Cathedral
There have been several cathedrals on the site on St. Pauls dating from as early as 604 AD. The most notable of these was the cathedral built by the Normans between 1087 & 1240. The Norman St. Pauls was the largest building in Medieval England, it lasted for almost 600 years surviving the Reformation & the English Civil War. In August 1666 Christopher Wren finalised plans to restore the cathedral although little more than a week later St Pauls was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. Construction of the new cathedral commenced in 1675 & lasted for 33 years. The new cathedral was consecrated on the 2nd December 1667 & still stands today. St. Pauls is open for prayer seven days a week, sightseers can visit the cathedral from Monday – Saturday.
About the Monument to the Great Fire of London
The Monument to the Great Fire of London was designed by Christopher Wren & Robert Hooke. The Monument stands 202 feet tall & is located exactly 202 feet from the bakery of Thomas Farriner where the Great Fire of London started in 1666.
About the Royal National Theatre
The Royal National Theatre was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1976. Three individual theatres occupy the site & over 20 different performances are shown each year. The Olivier Theatre is the largest theatre & seats 1,100 guests. The Olivier Theatre takes its name from the National Theatre’s first artistic director, Sir. Laurence Olivier.
About 20 Fenchurch Street
20 Fenchurch Street, nicknamed The Walkie Talkie was designed by Rafael Viñoly & completed in 2014. The top floors of 20 Fenchurch Street are home to the Sky Garden, an award winning garden landscape with restaurants, bars & a viewing area.
About HQS Wellington
HQS Wellington is a Grimsby Class Sloop launched in 1934. She escorted convoys in the North Atlantic throughout the Second World War. She is now permanently moored on Victoria Embankment and is the livery hall of the Honorable Company of Master Mariners.
About 120 Fenchurch Street
One Fen Court is a modern office complex located at 120 Fenchurch Street. Designed by Eric Parry Architects & completed in 2019 the building stands 15 storeys high & features London’s largest rooftop garden. The Garden at 120 is a spacious, open air rooftop garden which is open to the public free of charge between Monday – Friday. 14 Hills, a restaurant, bar & deli is located just below the garden on the 14th floor.
About Royal Festival Hall
Royal Festival Hall is the last remaining building from the 1951 Festival of Great Britain. The hall can seat 2,500 guests & is situated in the Southbank Centre, the largest arts centre in the United Kingdom. Over 5,000 events are held at the Southbank Centre each year including exhibitions, festivals & performances by some of the worlds most famous artists.