Photo of the Tower Bridge from a Thames River cruise
Photo of the Tower Bridge from a Thames River cruise

While London seems to be perpetually changing, the Thames River has been the one constant through London’s history, snaking its way through the heart of London, passing by (and under) many major sites.

And on a sunny day, there may be no better way to see the city than from on the Thames. The best way to do it is to make a day out of it and take a boat to Greenwich, where you can visit the famed site of the Prime Meridian as well as the quaint, historic town. You can also take a boat to Canary Wharf to see the modern side of London with it’s towering glass skyscrapers. Catch the boats by Westminster Bridge and pass under London Bridge, going past the Tower of London and beneath the picturesque Tower Bridge and into the historic docklands of London. As a bonus, London Travelcard owners get up to a 33% discount on the ride.

To complete the experience, you can stop in for a drink or a bite to eat at one of the many historic London riverside pubs. The pubs used to draw sailors in for a drink but now are relaxing places to take in the view of the Thames. The Mayflower Pub in Southwark sits near the site where the pilgrims departed en route to America and behind the church where Mayflower captain Christopher Jones is buried. A young Charles Dickens would sing and dance on the tables at The Grapes, which he used for the setting of Our Mutual Friend. Greenwich’s Trafalgar Tavern, built in 1837 and still retains the Georgian feel, has large windows overlooking the Thames and in the distance, the O2 Arena.

If you prefer to get a little more hands on, London Walks, a walking tour company with very reasonable prices, offers a unique experience for those interested in the history of London. As the route in and out of London for thousands of years, the Thames has picked up pieces of London’s past. As politician John Burns once said, “The Thames is liquid history.” In this unique Thames Beachcombing walk, a guide will take you down to the shore of the Thames to search of pieces of London’s past. Objects like pipes and plates from hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of years ago wash up a long the sand.

And while your are visiting the Thames in the city why not stay like a local and choose a vacation rental in London. Here are some great choices to get you started:

This chic furnished one-bedroom vacation rental in Westminster, London (LN-815) is located just off the Thames and by the Embankment departure point for many Thames river boats, including the Transit for London departure for Greenwich. After a day out by the water, coming home to a Jacuzzi bath is the perfect way to end the day.

For a different feel to a London stay, this furnished studio apartment rental in Tower Hamlets, London (LN-610) is located in the historic Limehouse shipping area of London. With a nearby Docklands Light Rail stop, it’s a short trip to the sleek Canary Warf.

This modern furnished one bedroom rental in Southwark, London (LN-1152) is near the magnificent Tower Bridge where breathtaking views of the Thames can be had. A short stroll along the Thames leads you to the famous London Bridge and the popular pedestrian-only Millennium Bridge.

let us know your favorite attractions along the Thames River in the comments section below.