London is one of the world’s most vibrant cities, with a huge diversity of people, the whole city is a cultural experience in itself. One of the central parts of London is the river Thames.
Historically the river has been a focal point for the city. It helped London develop due to the trade that passed into and out of the city on a daily basis. But the Thames doesn’t just pass through central London, it’s actually part of the longest river in England, which is 210 miles long.
It is the only river in Europe to have a nature trail that runs along it’s whole length, so in theory you could walk all the way along the Thames from its source in the Cotswolds to it’s mouth in the North Sea.
There are a number of different activities that you can do on the river both in central London and along it’s more rural areas. This article focuses on things you can do around the most popular part of the river in central London.
Starting from Embankment Pier you can catch a boat cruise along the river. You will pass monuments to London’s history such as the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast which is an old navy ship from pre-World War II. You will also pass the Millennium Dome, a more recent construction, as well as the Canary Wharf area, a mass of skyscrapers testament to London’s status as a world financial center.
You can take different cruises. Some are during the day time where you just view the sights, others are during the evening and have bars and restaurants. Some also have dancing.
The London Eye
The London Eye is directly alongside the river on the Southbank. Going for a ride on the Eye is a great way to get a view of London from above. If you can, try to visit on a clear sunny day. Obviously these aren’t overly common in London but you might get lucky and pick a really good day.
The Tate Modern
Again on the south bank is the Tate Modern, an art gallery dedicated to modern and more unusual art. It’s free to enter and has some world famous exhibitions. It is hard to miss as it’s based inside an old power station which gives it a spacious feel but also an unusual experience, which isn’t unlike much of the art housed inside it.
Some of the art found inside is from world famous artists such as Warhol or Rothko. Some of it can be controversial, think of the famous Turner prize for art and the controversy that often surrounds that.
The gallery is ideally located next to the river, and the Millennium bridge is just outside, meaning you can cross from the south to the north side of the river very easily.
The Tower of London
As you are probably noticing, many of London’s most famous attractions are situated right on the river. The Tower of London is no exception. The Tower dates back hundreds of years and a tour of it will take you right back through some of London’s most interesting history. The British Royal families Crown Jewels are housed in the tower along with priceless jewellery and objects that form part of the British Monarchies history.
The river Thames is central to London, it’s used as a way to navigate around the city and even a way of transporting commuters from one part of London to the other. Much of the history of London is intertwined with the river and in many cases one can’t be explained without the other.
Why not get a real taste for the Thames by staying in a serviced apartment by the river in central London. There are a number of serviced apartments providers in London such as Clarendon who offer a self catering apartment very close to the Thames and all its attractions.