"Boats for every occasion."

Festival Pier

Transport for London River Services Logo Daytime Cruises from Festival 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 five piers on the River Thames including Westminster Pier, Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, Bankside 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).

Passengers can embark at Westminster Pier, Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, Bankside Pier 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 £21.00 per adult, a family River Pass is just £42.00 (for 2 Adults + 3 Children).

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 & 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)


Thames River Sightseeing Routes

We are currently operating 7-days a week calling at Westminster Pier, Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, Bankside Pier & Greenwich Pier.

Piers on our Routes
Westminster Pier (Houses of Parliament)
Embankment Pier (Charing Cross, Villiers Street & Strand)
Festival Pier (Royal Festival Hall & South Bank Centre)
Bankside Pier (Globe Theatre & Tate Modern)
Greenwich Pier (Cutty Sark)

Cruises Calling at Festival Pier

About Festival Pier

Festival Pier is located on the south shore of the River Thames next to Royal Festival Hall in the heart of the Soutbank Centre. The National Theatre, London Eye, OXO Tower Wharf, & County Hall (Home to the London Aquarium, London Dungeon, Shrek’s Adventure and more) are only a few minutes from Festival Pier. Festival Pier is popular with corporate & private charters, our daytime sightseeing cruises with Thames River Sightseeing also call at Festival Pier.

The name Festival is inherited from the Festival of Britain, a festival of national celebration which took place in 1951. The Festival of Britain was envisioned as a celebration of the centennial of the Great Exhibition of 1851 which was organised by Henry Cole & Prince Albert. The Festival of Britain turned into a grand celebration of British achievements including science, industrial design, technology & the arts. Royal Festival Hall is the only building that remains from the Festival of Britain however the area is still known for it’s concerts, exhibitions & perfomances which take place in the Festival Hall, National Theatre & the British Film Institute Southbank.

Festival Pier is an 8 minute walk* from Waterloo Station which is served by National Rail Services, the Bakerloo, Jubilee, Waterloo & City, Northern London Underground Lines & a number of buses.

Private Charters from Festival 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 Festival Pier

Royal National Theatre

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.

Walking Distance  3 Min / 0.1 Miles

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Royal Festival Hall

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.

Walking Distance  3 Min / 0.1 Miles

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London Eye, Waterloo

About the London Eye

At 135 metres tall the London Eye is the worlds largest cantilevered observation wheel. The London Eye was designed by Marks Barfield Architects & launched in 2000 as a temporary attraction. The London Eye has quickly become one of the most popular paid attractions in the world carrying over 3.5 million visitors each year. On a clear day visibility is up to 40km allowing views of Windsor Castle & the Queen Elizabeth II bridge at Dartford.


  • See London from a unique perspective.

Walking Distance  5 Min / 0.5 Miles

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County Hall

About County Hall

County Hall was designed by the architect Ralph Knott & opened by King George V in 1922. The building served as the headquarters for the London County Council & then the Greater London Council. Today County Hall is home to the Sea Life London Aquarium, London Dungeon, Namco Arcade, hotels, restaurants, private apartments & conference & event spaces.


  • Sea Life London Aquarium
  • The London Dungeon
  • Shrek’s Adventure!
  • Namco Funscape Arcade
  • Agatha Christie’s Witness For The Prosecution (performed in the County Hall Court Room)

Walking Distance  6 Min / 0.3 Miles

Cleopatra's Needle, Victoria Embankment

About Cleopatra’s Needle

Cleopatra’s Needle was erected in Heliopolis around 1450 BC. The needle was already over 1,300 years old when Cleopatra became Queen. The needle was presented to the United Kingdom in 1818 to commemorate British military victories at the Battle of the Nile & Battle of Alexandria but it was not moved to London until 1877.

Walking Distance  9 Min / 0,4 Miles (Via Golden Jubilee Footbridges)

OXO Tower Wharf, Southbank

About OXO Tower Wharf

Stamford Wharf started its life as a power station before being converted into a cold store for the manufacturers of the OXO Beef Cube. Today “OXO Tower Wharf” is home to over 30 design studios, specialist shops & restaurants.

Walking Distance  9 Min / 0.5 Miles

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Benjamin Franklin House, City of Westminster

About Benjamin Franklin House

36 Craven Street is the only remaining home of the Benjamin Franklin, a famous scientist, diplomat & Founding Father of the United States. The house itself dates from around 1730 & is an authentic representation Benjamin Franklin’s time in London. Tours of Benjamin Franklin House are available for the public & there is also a small shop & toilet facilities onsite.


  • Tour the only remaining home of Benjamin Franklin & the first de facto United States Embassy.
  • Purchase souvenirs & gifts at the Benjamin Franklin House Shop.

Walking Distance  10 Min / 0.5 Miles (Via Golden Jubilee Footbridges)

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Sea Containers House

About Sea Containers House

Walking Distance  10 Min / 0.5 Miles

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The Savoy Hotel, Victoria Embankment

About the Savoy Hotel

The Savoy Hotel was built by Richard D’Oyly Carte & opened in 1889. The Savoy proved popular with tourists & was the first hotel in Britain to utilise electric lifts & be lit entirely by electric lighting. The Savoy boasts numerous bars & restaurants & is adjacent to the Savoy Theatre.

Walking Distance  11 Min / 0.5 Miles (Via Waterloo Bridge)

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Florence Nightingale Museum

About the Florence Nightingale Museum

Florence Nightingale was a pioneer of modern nursing & a social reformer, she became known as the Lady with the Lamp after her night rounds tending to wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. The Florence Nightingale Museum is situated at St. Thomas Hospital on the site of Florence Nightingale’s Training School & celebrates the life & work of Florence Nightingale through collections of over 3000 objects.


  • Learn about Florence Nightingale’s life & achievements.
  • Highlight Tours of the museums collections.
  • Walking tours following in the footsteps of Florence Nightingale.
  • Souvenirs available in the museum shop.

Walking Distance  12 Min / 0.6 Miles

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The Banqueting House, Whitehall

About the Banqueting House

The Banqueting House is the last remaining building from Whitehall Palace, home to a magnificent ceiling painted by Sir Peter Paul Rubens & the execution site of King Charles I. The building was designed by Inigo Jones in the Palladian style for King James I & was completed in 1622.


  • One of the last remaining buildings from Henry VIII’s Whitehall Palace.
  • The execution site of King Charles I.
  • Peter Paul Rubens magnificent ceiling murals.
Walking Distance  13 Min / 0.6 Miles (Via Golden Jubilee Footbridges)
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New Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament)

About the New Palace of Westminster

Known as the ‘Houses of Parliament’, the new palace was built between 1840-1870 after the original palace was damaged during a fire. The palace is the home of UK Parliament & the iconic Elizabeth Tower (known as Big Ben).


  • Guided tours available in multiple languages.
  • Self-guided tours with a multimedia guide.
  • Tours with afternoon tea overlooking the River Thames.
  • Special exhibitions in Westminster Hall.
  • Special talks & guided tours.
  • Refreshments available in the Jubilee cafe.
Walking Distance  16 Min / 0.8 Miles (Via Westminster Bridge)
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Somerset House, Victoria Embankment

About Somerset House

Somerset House was designed by William Chambers & completed 1801. The house has been home to the Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal Society, the General Register Office & the Inland Revenue. Today Somerset House is open to the public and regularly hosts concerts & other public events.

Walking Distance  11 Min / 0.5 Miles (Via Waterloo Bridge)
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The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square

About the National Gallery

The National Gallery was founded in 1824 & opened to the public on the 10th May of the same year. As the collection grew the gallery moved from a small building at 100 Pall Mall to the present building, a purpose built structure designed by William Wilkins. Both The National Gallery’s building & collection has grown over the years, Sir James Pennethorne, Sir Charles Barry & Sir John Taylor have all extended the building & over 2,600 paintings are now housed within the collection. Today the National Gallery is free to visit & they organise a range of exhibitions & events showcases works from the collection. The gallery also has a number of giftshops, a dining room & cafés.

Walking Distance  14 Min / 0.7 Miles (Via Golden Jubilee Footbridges)

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HQS Wellington

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.

Walking Distance  14 Min / 0.7 Miles

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Bankside Gallery

About the Bankside Gallery

Walking Distance  15 Min / 0.8 Miles

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Tate Modern

About the Tate Modern

Walking Distance  15 Min / 0.8 Mile

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About St. Margaret’s Church

St. Margaret’s Church is dedicated to St. Margaret of Antioch & is the third church to stand on the site. The original St. Margaret’s Church was built by the Benedictine Monks of Westminster Abbey in the 11th Century. The Rule of St. Benedict required the monks to sing the Divine Office at set times each day. The creation of a smaller church next to the Abbey allowed the people of Westminster to worship without disturbing the monks.

The current St. Margaret’s Church was designed by Robert Stowell & work started in 1482. The church was finally consecrated on the 9th April 1523 & remains almost unchanged today. St. Margaret’s Church is now governed by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster & can be visited free of charge.


  • Refreshments are available at Westminster Abbey’s Cellarium Café.
  • Purchase souvenirs & gifts at the Westminster Abbey Shop.

Walking Distance  16 Min / 0.8 Miles (Via Westminster Bridge)

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About St. James Park

St. James Park is London’s oldest royal park & is surrounded by three royal palaces, the Palace of Westminster, St. James Palace & Buckingham Palace. In 1536 the royal court was based at the Palace of Westminster & King Henry VIII purchased land at St. James to build St. James Palace & a new deer park. After his accession to the throne in 1603 James I had the park drained, landscaped & filled with exotic animals including camels, crocodiles, birds & an elephant.

St. James Park underwent further alterations when Charles II opened it to the public & had it re-landscaped in a more formal style with a large canal. St. James Park saw another makeover in the 1820’s when the Prince Regent (later to become George IV) commissioned the architect & landscaper John Nash to give the park a more natural look. The canal was shaped into a lake & an iron bridge was built offering excellent views across the lake. The current bridge (The Blue Bridge) was built in 1957 & is the third bridge to span St. James Park Lake.


  • Take in the view of Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards Parade & the London Eye from the Blue Bridge.
  • Learn more about the park on a walking tour (available on select dates).
  • See the parks resident pelicans at feeding time.
  • Refreshments available at St. James Café.

Walking Distance  16 Min / 0.9 Miles (Via Westminster Bridge)

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The Supreme Court, City of Westminster

About The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court was formally established on the 1st October 2009 & is the highest court in the United Kingdom. The court hears appeals for civil cases in the United Kingdom & criminal cases in England, Wales & Northern Ireland. The Supreme Court sits in the Middlesex Guildhall, an art nouveau gothic style building designed by J. S Gibson & completed in 1913.


  • Guided tours led by a member of the court staff.
  • Permanent & temporary exhibitions on the lower ground floor.
  • Refreshments available at the Supreme Court Café.
  • Purchase souvenirs & gifts from the Supreme Court Shop.

Walking Distance  17 Min / 0.8 Miles (Via Westminster Bridge)

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Westminster Abbey

About Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey was built by King Edward (later to become St. Edward the Confessor) on the site of a Benedictine Monastery on Thorn Ey (Thorn Island) in Westminster. King Edward’s Abbey was consecrated on the 28th December 1065 however Edward was unable to attend the consecration due to illness, he died just days later sparking a succession crisis which intimately led to the Norman Conquest of England. William the Conqueror was coronated King William I on Christmas Day in 1066 & every coronation has taken place at Westminster Abbey since.

King Edward’s abbey stood for over two centuries until King Henry III started to rebuild the abbey in a Gothic style. Henry’s abbey was consecrated on the 13th October 1269 & still stands today. Westminster Abbey is the resting place of 17 monarchs & a number of poets, musicians, scientists and politicians.


  • Explore King Henry VII’s Lady Chapel.
  • Visit the Queens Diamond Jubilee Galleries.
  • Visit the college garden (open on select days each week).
  • Refreshments are available at the Cellarium Café.
  • Purchase souvenirs & gifts at the Westminster Abbey Shop.

Walking Distance  17 Min / 0.9 Miles (Via Westminster Bridge)

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The Jewel Tower, City of Westminster

About the Jewel Tower

The Jewel Tower is one of the last remaining structures from the Medieval Palace of Westminster. The Tower was built by Henry Yevele between 1365-1366 for King Edward III & originally served as a store for precious items including silver plate. After much of the medieval palace was destroyed by a fire in 1834 the Jewel Tower became a records office for the House of Lords. In 1869 it became a testing office for the Board of Trade Standards Department (More commonly known as Weights and Measures).


  • One of the last remaining buildings from the Medieval Palace of Westminster.
  • Light refreshments available at the Jewel Tower Cafe.

Walking Distance  17 Min / 0.9 Miles (Via Westminster Bridge)

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Millennium Bridge, Bankside

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.

Walking Distance  17 Min / 0.9 Miles

Shakespeare's Globe, Bankside

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.

Walking Distance  18 Min / 0.9 Miles

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Garden Museum

About the Garden Museum

Walking Distance  18 Min / 0.9 Miles

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Sir John Soane's Museum

Sir John Soane’s Museum is situated in the Grade I listed home of the Regency architect Sir John Soane. Soane commissioned numerous buildings throughout his career including country homes, the Bank of England & Dulwich Picture Gallery. During his lifetime Soane amassed a vast collection of items including books,  manuscripts, paintings, models, sculptures & the alabaster sarcophagus of Seti I. Soane obtained an Act of Parliament bequeathing his home to the British Public. Today Sir John Soane’s Museum is free to visit & remains mostly unchanged since his death in 1837. Tours & trails are are available at the museum to guide visitors through the rooms & collections that have been curated by Sir John Soane himself.

Walking Distance  20 Min / 0.9 Miles

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Imperial War Museum

About the Imperial War Museum

Walking Distance  22 Min / 1 Mile

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 Festival Pier Location

**Transportation links are based on data from Transport for London, always check their website (tfl.gov.uk) when planning your journey.

Walking times & distances are average times based on data from Google Maps.

Thames River Sightseeing operate daily cruises from Westminster Pier, Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, Bankside Pier & Greenwich Pier

We operate daytime cruises from 6 piers on the River Thames & private charters from over 20 piers. Click the link below to view all piers.

**Transportation links are based on data from Transport for London, always check their website (tfl.gov.uk) when planning your journey.

Walking times & distances are average times based on data from Google Maps.

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