Whether you’re a long-standing Londoner or a temporary tourist, there’s nothing quite like seeing some of the city’s most iconic landmarks from the River Thames aboard the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers service.
Sit back and relax in a comfortable, air-conditioned cabin and enjoy seeing London’s landmarks in a completely different way as you sail by sipping a drink from our well-stocked onboard café bar.
In this article, discover 5 fabulous London landmarks by the River Thames and find the nearest River Bus piers in case you want to alight for a closer look!
Famous landmarks along the River Thames
1. The lastminute.com London Eye
A must-see landmark along the River Thames is the lastminute.com London Eye. An iconic part of the London skyline, you get the chance to experience the sights of the Big Smoke from a completely different perspective in just one 30-minute ride. At 135m, The London Eye is Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel.
Right across the river, you can also visit the Palace of Westminster – perhaps more informally known as the Houses of Parliament. The Houses of Parliament is, of course, where the UK government makes the laws of the land. It’s also one of the most recognised buildings in the world, thanks partly to its remarkable 19th-century gothic architecture and the iconic Big Ben, the great bell of the striking clock, probably the most famous clock in the world!
2. Tate Modern
The Tate Modern is an extraordinary modern art museum housed inside the decommissioned Bankside Power Station, full of modern and contemporary art pieces from all over the world and featuring incredible artists like Pablo Picasso. From one breathtaking collection to another, you can hop on our Tate to Tate service (also known as our RB2 route) to visit Tate Britain a few minutes away from Millbank Pier. Their collection displays well-renowned British artists. Entry to both galleries is free but booking a ticket is recommended for exhibitions.
If you want to experience more British history, you can visit Shakespeare’s Globe – a reconstruction of The Globe, Shakespeare’s original performance space. Take in the history with the guided tours and watch live performances of his landmark plays. As the man himself once said: “I like this place, I could willingly waste my time in it.”
You can also experience the iconic sights of St Paul’s Cathedral and its imposing dome, one of the largest cathedral domes in the world. Cross Millennium Bridge to see the cathedral up close.
3. The View from The Shard
You can’t miss The Shard, London’s tallest building can be seen from miles away. Experience breathtaking 360-degree views from the highest viewing gallery in the capital. There is also a Champagne bar at the top! From the sky to the river… combine your experience with a cruise on the Thames. The View from The River sets off from London Bridge City Pier, this 50-minute guided tour shows you all of London’s biggest tourist spots from the River Thames.
Why not visit also the HMS Belfast? Though it’s now permanently moored as a museum ship on the Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, the HMS Belfast was originally a light cruiser built for the Royal Navy more than 80 years ago. HMS Belfast had an extensive role in World War II as a warship and a visit to the museum will allow you to explore all of its 9 decks. The nearest River Bus pier is just 0.2 miles from the ship itself.
This pier is also a short walk from the Tower of London, where you can visit the Crown Jewels, powerful symbols of the monarchy.
4. The Bridges of London
Fun fact, did you know that London Bridge and Tower Bridge are two different bridges? Well, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, the Millenium Bridge, Westminster Bridge and all of London’s many other major bridges await your arrival on the Thames. Wend your way down the river and sail beneath years of historic constructions, each with its own interesting tale to tell.
Launched in 2019, the Illuminated River project transformed the capital at night by bathing the bridges that cross the Thames in environmentally-friendly LED light. Experience the longest public art commission in the world up close by joining an Illuminated River Official Boat Tour, departing from Tower Pier.
5. Cutty Sark
And last but certainly not least on our list of must-see London landmarks is Cutty Sark, a British clipper ship after our own heart!
Built in 1869 on the Riven Leven in Scotland and now an award-winning visitor attraction in Greenwich, Cutty Sark is a celebrated, historic sailing ship that was once the fastest of its time.
Try out the Cutty Sark Rig Climb Experience, or take the helm and have a go at ‘steering’ the ship; download the audio guide and explore the main deck – this is your chance to get a taste of life at sea!
While you’re in the area, why not visit Greenwich Park and walk around the calming flower, herb and rose gardens? Or go to the Old Royal Naval College and visit the Painted Hall, an epic 18th-century masterpiece seen as the UK’s Sistine Chapel! . The bonus of sailing along the Thames is that you get to see the hustle and bustle of Canary Wharf!
And if you feel like continuing your trip further east, why not head to the Greenwich Peninsula and visit The O2, where you can do some shopping, grab a bite to eat or see a live show.