Layover in London: Cruise on the Thames


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Dear Luke and Leia,

Today is our second day in London and we have chosen to take a river cruise on the Thames. It runs from the downtown area of London up to Greenwich. It is cold and rainy today, but thankfully the river boat is well prepared for this with closing glass windows that you can see the city from.

River Cruise boat on the Thames
River Cruise boat on the Thames

Tower Bridge

Our river cruise on the Thames begins by heading towards London's famous Tower Bridge. That's the same one we rode across yesterday on the HoHo tour bus.

River boat on the Thames
Sailing from downtown towards Greenwich goes under the London Tower Bridge

It was different looking at the bridge from the Thames river level instead of street level. It looks so much more impressive when you are at this level as it towers over you while passing under it. The people look minuscule compared to the base of the tower.

Sailing under the London Bridge
Sailing under the London Tower Bridge on the river Thames


Next we cruise through the area known as the docklands. This is where the shipping for London loads and unloads and has been used to many of hundreds of years. Now there is a convention center named Excel located in this area and lots of hotels and restaurants to serve the conference goers.

Wharfs in the docklands area of London
Wharfs in the docklands area of London
Stormy day on the Thames
Stormy day in the Financial District along Thames

Financial District

We liked the Financial District with all the skyscrapers that reached into the clouds and seemed to pull them down. It looked like one of the clouds was a tornado over the Citi building, but it was not.

Greenwich, the beginning of time (zones)


Finally, we reached Greenwich, which marks the far end of the river cruise. This is where the times zones of the world start, known as GMT or Greenwich mean time. From this point you either add an hour or subtract and hour for each zone radiating outwards from Greenwich around the world until you reach the international dateline in the Pacific Ocean. The dateline dodges islands both east and west to split the start of days.

Along the Thames
Along the Thames

We saw so many interesting buildings while on the river cruise on the Thames river with very stately architecture. Many had columns and domes and ornate designs on them like those above.

Battleship HMS Belfast
Battleship HMS Belfast on the Thames

We came across the HMS Belfast battleship. It's been decommissioned and which is now a naval museum. The battleship was launched in 1938 and fought in both the Second World War and the Korean War. The ship was impressive from the view we had. This ship time period marks the ending of the British Empire and the time the United States rose to world power.

At one time the British Empire stretched across the whole world that it was said the sun never set upon the British Empire. Do you know why? Because God didn't trust the Brits in the dark.


Sailing along the Thames
Sailing along the Thames

We we are reaching the end of our river cruise on the Thames river. We have seen such an overview of London in the first two days of our layover in London, but tomorrow we will focus on the Tower of London. I think it's time for a pint with my half-pint (Nana) at a local pub and some fish and chips for dinner.

We miss you both.


Nana and Pap

Sailing along the Thames in London
Sailing along the Thames in London
A pint and a half pint
A pint and a half pint
The London Eye
The London Eye

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Written by Dan

Professional photographer specializing in street, food and travel shots at As We Saw It travel blog. “Photography is unique in that it captures light in all forms, and since the Bible says YHVH (God) is light, photography captures Him in many forms.”

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16 thoughts on “Layover in London: Cruise on the Thames”

  1. Oh wow – I went to England when I was 18 and I can’t remember seeing the Thames like that! Love your photos and letter from Nan and Pop, great pics of the Cruise on the Thames.
    And the fish and Chips in England are the best ever 😉

    • You’re right about the fish & chips, Lisa … Dan ate them for dinner every night! Did you have your chips with malt vinegar like the locals do?

  2. I didn’t do a cruise on the Thames when I visited London though I really should have, I was lucky enough to have perfect weather – warm and clear blue skies. Next time though! 🙂

    • We enjoyed our cruise but even better would have been to take a full-day cruise up the Thames. There’s one that visits Henry VIII’s old stomping grounds, Hampton Court. Maybe next time.

  3. I took this river cruise too when I was in London. I loved it and the weather was perfect that day (very rare in London). Your post made me want to go back to London. What a great city!

  4. I love doing river cruises in cities, as you get such a different perspective from walking (or driving) the streets. This looks like a great one.

    • Thanks Carmen! Another vote in favor of seeing cities from the water! Did you spend any time at Greenwich or Hampton Court?

  5. I’ve never done a Thames River Cruise despite having umpteen years in London. I’ve heard its good and have always meant to take the children.

    • You should, Shobha! It stops at Greenwich, center of time calculation and shipping … think of it! It’d offer all sorts of kid-teaching opportunities, I would think.

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