The twists and turns of the Thames River through the heart of the capital make it London's best thoroughfare and most compelling viewing point. Once famous for sludge, silt, and sewage, the Thames is now the one of the cleanest city rivers in the world. Every palace, church, theater, wharf, museum, and pub along the bank has a tale to tell, and traveling on or alongside the river is one of the best ways to soak up views of the city.
"On the smallest pretext of holiday or fine weather the mighty population takes to the boats," wrote Henry James in 1877. You can follow in the footsteps of James, who loved the boat trip from Westminster to Greenwich, or make up your own itinerary.
Frequent daily tourist-boat services are at their height between April and October.
In most cases you can turn up at a pier, and the next departure won't be far away. However, it never hurts to book ahead if you can.
Westminster and Tower piers are the busiest starting points, usually with boats heading east.
The trip between Westminster Pier and the Tower of London takes about 30 minutes, as does the trip between the Tower and Greenwich.
A full round-trip can take several hours. Ask about flexible fares and hop on/off options at the various piers.