London and the Thames

Sightseeing & Attractions   |   Mar 29, 2016

The Thames is the heart of London, running though the centre of the city and the reason why London was founded.

London and the Thames

There are long walkways on both sides of the river allowing visitors to enjoy Thameside scenes, strolling from the Tower of London up to Westminster and beyond.  This is a tidal river, so patches of muddy soil may emerge at the sides of the river from time to time – but bear in mind it can get covered over very fast.

One of the best ways to appreciate the Thames is to take a sightseeing river cruise or an evening walking tour.  These provide a good introduction to the history and the sights of the river.

There are many top attractions which you can explore while staying in affordable London youth hostels.  Greenwich is just a short journey down river and was the favourite home of the Tudor Kings and Queens, but is now better known for its superb maritime museum and the site of Greenwich Mean time.  You can actually stand on time here!

Take in a play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, discover contemporary art at The Tate Modern and Tate Britain or discover films at BFI Southbank.  

The London Eye is an irresistible attraction offering stunning views across London and surrounding counties.  Close by in County Hall is the Sea Life London Aquarium, home to one of the largest collections of marine life in Europe.  

Don’t miss the HMS Belfast moored just past London Bridge.  Now a museum ship, it formed part of the Royal Navy seeing action during WW2, and continued in use until 1963.  It is a great way to discover what life was really like for sailors serving on board during those years.

History is everywhere when you are by the Thames. Take in the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, explore the dizzying heights of Tower Bridge and the stunning Tower of London.  This is where you can see the Crown Jewels, the crowns and regalia used by every king and queen in the UK. See the yard where two of Henry VIII’s Queen’s were executed (along with many others), and the sombre presence of Traitors Gate.  

For centuries, the river was the main highway through London with barges taking the court from one palace to another.  Hampton Court Palace was a favourite home of Henry VIII  and is well worth a visit, with its stunning architecture, museums and gardens. The Thames Boat Service offers a direct route to and from Hampton Court.

Lively, vibrant food markets are held regularly at the South Bank together with many free outdoor activities such as The Scoop, Fireworks displays, the Great River Race, and the London Marathon.Some of the best youth Hostels in London are nearby which gives an easy access to some of the best london attractions to travelers without travelling a long distance. 

Dine in style and enjoy the best views of London at the Oxo Tower or Pont de la Tour, or try a Thames Dinner cruise.  Alternatively just sit back and relax in some of the best riverside pubs in London such as the  Anchor Bankside just beside the Globe Theatre, the Prospect of Whitby and The Mayflower both of which attracted the likes of Charles Dickens and Samuel Pepys, or The Trafalgar Tavern in Greenwich where the windows offer spectacular views across the river.

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