In addition to the many sightseeing river boat services, Transport for London also runs a number of river buses. These offer regular, comprehensive services up and down the river, from Hampton Court in the west to Woolwich in the east. They are a scenic and relaxing way to travel around the city, if the sights you want to see are all near enough to the river, but they are not included in Travelcard or Oyster card payments (although if you have a Travelcard or an Oyster card travel on the river buses is discounted), so you will need to bring some extra money.
The question of who owned the Thames was one of hot dispute in history, with both the Crown and the City of London claiming jurisdiction over it. This was finally settled in 1857 with the establishment of the Thames Conservancy to manage all of the tidal river from Staines downstream. In 1909 these powers were turned over to the Port of London Authority. At the beginning of the twentieth century London was one of the world’s major ports, with huge amounts of shipping into and out of the Isle of Dogs. However, as the volume of international trade into and out of London decreased, the river became less important as a shipping lane, to the point where now regular commuter services can be run, and Docklands is more famous for being the home to many people who work in the financial industries, rather than actually having anything to do with docks.
A single journey on the river now costs around £4-£5. If you have a Travelcard then there is a 30% discount. If you have an Oyster card then there is a 10% discount. If you wish to do a lot of travelling by river (and with so much so close to the river there is no reason not to spend a whole day along the banks of the Thames) then there is a River Rover ticket which allows unlimited travel on the river boats and DLR for one day. At the time of writing, the cost is around £15.
There are many stops along the north and south sides of the river, with piers including the London Eye pier, Festival Pier serving the South Bank, and Tower Pier. As well as the bus services there are also river tours. These are individually priced, and leave from many of the bankside piers: some are dinner cruises, discos and even jazz boats. For full details of the sightseeing tours available, leaflets are available online.
Other sightseeing tours are also available, of course, including the famous amphibious duck boats, which both drive the streets of London and take you up and down the river in a boat. Among the sights along the river banks are the London Eye, Shakespeares Globe, the British Film Institute, the National Theatre, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the Tate Modern, St Pauls Cathedral, and the Tower of London. As you can see, there is more than enough to fill a day, just on the north and south banks of the river Thames.
Embankment - Woolwich Arsenal
- London Bridge City
- Canary Wharf
- Masthouse Terrace
- North Greenwich
- Woolwich Arsenal
Putney - Blackfriars
- Wandsworth (RQ)
- Chelsea Harbour
Canary Wharf - Hilton Docklands
- Hilton Docklands
- Canary Wharf
- Woolwich Ferry North Terminal
- Woolwich Ferry South Terminal