Thames River Cruise

Everything You Need To Know About The Thames River

Thames River CruiseThames River Cruises

Thames River Cruise | Sail the heart of London

From sightseeing cruises that point out Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament to themed cruises with afternoon tea or dinner, there's a Thames River cruise for every taste. You can choose a short circular trip to get a flavor of the river, or a one-way journey from central London to Greenwich, which takes you under Tower Bridge and other historic bridges.

Quick facts about the Thames River Cruises

How deep is the Thames River?

The depth of the Thames River varies considerably along its course.

  • In central London, around areas like London Bridge, the river is relatively shallow, only about 1.5 meters deep
  • On the other hand, the mouth of the Thames can be much wider, reaching up to 18 miles (28.9 kilometers).

Here's how it compares to the top 3 deepest rivers in the world


The Danube is the third deepest river in the world. It's famous enough to have its own song! Johann Strauss made a waltz called "The Blue Danube" in 1866. This river is really deep, about 584 feet (178 meters). Plus, it's super long, stretching for 2,857 kilometers (1,775 miles). It flows through ten different countries in Europe: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine.


The Yangtze River is the second deepest in the world, plunging down 656 feet (199.9 meters) 9nearly as deep as the Eiffel Tower is tall!). It's the longest river in China, running 6,300 kilometers (3,914 miles) long. This river does a lot for China—it supports about 40% of the country's economy! And if you're into big dams, the Three Gorges Dam on this river is the largest in the world.


At the top of the list is the Congo River, the deepest in the world at a whopping 720 feet (219 meters). It's also the second longest river in Africa, after the Nile, stretching for 2,715 miles (4,370 kilometers). The Congo flows through six countries: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. To put its depth in perspective, it's over ten times deeper than the Thames! That's like dropping two St. Paul's Cathedrals into the Congo—only half of one would stick out of the water. But please, don't try that at home!

History of the Thames River

The Thames' history is long and winding, stretching back millions of years and intertwined with the story of England itself. Here's a glimpse into its fascinating past:

  • Ancient Origins: Millions of years ago, the Thames was a tributary of the Rhine, with Britain still connected to mainland Europe. The Ice Age dramatically altered its course, carving the Goring Gap and making it the mighty river we know today.
  • Roman Arrival: The Romans landed in Britain in 43 AD. Drawn to a convenient ford on the Thames, they founded Londinium, the seed of modern London, and built the first bridge across the river.
  • Medieval Metropolis: London thrived under Roman rule and later became a center of trade and power. The Thames served as a vital transportation route, carrying goods and people upstream and downstream. Settlements and monasteries sprung up along its banks.
  • Shifting Tides: The Vikings raided London in the 8th and 9th centuries, but eventually assimilated into society. The riverbanks witnessed the rise of famous buildings like Westminster Abbey, solidifying London's role as England's capital.
  • Industrial Age: The 18th and 19th centuries saw a boom in trade and industry. Canals linked the Thames to other parts of England, and the river became a workhorse for cargo transport. However, this era also brought heavy pollution to the waterway.
  • Modern Revival: By the 20th century, the Thames was in a sorry state. Fortunately, stricter regulations and environmental awareness led to a dramatic improvement in water quality. Today, the Thames is a thriving ecosystem teeming with life.

River Thames today

The Thames River today is a vibrant waterway teeming with activity. It's no longer the heavily polluted river it once was, thanks to extensive conservation efforts. The improved water quality has made the Thames a hub for leisure activities, attracting locals and tourists alike.

One of the most popular ways to experience the river is by taking a cruise. Get on a sightseeing cruise, which allows you to admire iconic landmarks like Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye from a unique perspective. These cruises come with informative commentary, pointing out historical sites and hidden gems along the way.

If you're looking for a more luxurious experience, dinner cruises are also available. These cruises offer a multi-course meal served on board while you take in the sights of the city bathed in the warm glow of the evening. Alternatively, for a shorter and more casual option, you can hop on a Thames Clipper, a high-speed ferry service that functions like a river bus, making multiple stops along the route.

So, whether you're interested in a historical tour, a romantic dinner, or a quick commute across the river, a Thames cruise is a fantastic way to experience the heart of London.

Thames river cruise tickets

Frequently asked questions about the Thames River and Thames River Cruises

What is the Thames River?

The Thames River is a major waterway in England, flowing through London and into the North Sea. It's a historic river that has been crucial for transportation, trade, and industry for centuries.

How long is the Thames River?

The Thames stretches for about 215 miles (346 kilometers), making it the longest river in England.

What's the source of the Thames River?

The source of the Thames can be traced back to a series of streams in the Cotswold Hills in Gloucestershire, southwest England.

What are some must-see sights along the Thames River?

There are many iconic landmarks along the Thames, including: Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Tower Bridge, London Eye, Hampton Court Palace, Greenwich Royal Observatory, and more.

What are the best times to visit the Thames River?

The Thames can be enjoyed year-round, but spring and summer offer pleasant weather for cruises and riverside activities. However, winter can be charming with festive lights and fewer crowds.

How can I get around the Thames River using public transportation?

You can get on any one of the following cruises and sail the heart of London: Sightseeing (if you want to focus solely on enjoying the beautiful attractions dotting the shore of Thames), Evening cruise (perfect for romantic date or outings), Lunch cruises (If you want to combine sightseeing with meal!)

Are there any food stalls or restaurants that offer delicious local cuisine with a view of the river?

Absolutely! Many pubs, restaurants, and cafes along the Thames offer stunning river views and delicious food. You can find everything from traditional British fare to international cuisine.