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INSIDE: Everything you need to know about booking a Thames River Cruise family ticket. 

One heavenly blue-sky day in London with kids in tow, we made our way through Hyde Park to the Thames river via Big Ben.

The kids were awed by the great brown river in front of them, much more so than the historical significance of any of the buildings around them.

So we made a snap decision to take advantage of their fascination with the poo-coloured water, and booked a Thames River Cruise family ticket in London. 

With the London Eye shining brightly to the left, we made our way to the City Cruises ticket office on the Westminster Pier (via a steep staircase below the Westminster Bridge in London that was NOT pram-friendly).

Take a look below for details of the best things to do on the River Thames with kids & fun facts too. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, we may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you.

river cruise london big ben

Guide to Booking a Thames River Cruise Family Ticket

City Cruises sightseeing cruises depart every 40 minutes from piers at Westminster, London Eye, Tower and Greenwich.

They also run circular cruises from Tower and Bankside pier.

We rode from Big Ben to Tower Bridge London.

RELATED: All You Need to Know about TOWER BRIDGE GLASS FLOOR Experience with Kids!

photo - river cruise london

Best London River Cruise? City Cruises London! 

With snacks and a few sweet treats in hand, the kids were happy to take a break from all the walking and strollering, and kick back on the boat for this London River Cruise .

We took a seat on the far left side of the boat, heading in the direction of Tower Bridge but as long as you claim ‘window’ seats, the kids will be happy.

There’s cultural sights on both sides of the river, and they are big enough to spot without having to jump up and down.

On our Thames river boat cruise, we had a very funny tour guide sharing stories of England, new and old.

Even Ned could keep up, and laugh along he did!

Making it the best river cruise London style!

RELATED: The ULTIMATE List of Things to Do in London with Kids

london river cruise deals to see the london eye

Fun London Sightseeing on The River Thames for Kids 

Between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge, Thames River Boats pass lots of London tourist attractions and famous London landmarks.

See if the kids can spot:

  • Houses of Parliament (as if they’d want to!)
  • Palace of Whitehall
  • Big Ben
  • London Eye
  • Oxo Tower
  • St Paul’s Cathedral
  • The strangely shaped ‘Gherkin’ building
  • The Shard
  • HMS Belfast
  • Waterloo Bridge
  • Millenium Footbridge
  • London Bridge
  • Tower of London
  • The Tower Bridge

While the kids may not be in awe of these historical buildings on any London boat tour, YOU will be!

London sightseeing is exceptional.

river cruise london lookout

The Thames Boat Trips cafe

Thames Cruise Boats have café-bars with sandwiches, snacks, soft drinks, wine, beer and more.

You can also book a London river cruise with afternoon tea, or a lunch cruise.

The River Thames Facts for Kids

Here’s a bunch of facts about the River Thames for kids.

No.1: Where is the River Thames?

The central Thames River location is at Westminster, near Big Ben.

But it runs through lots of British cities including:

  • Cricklade
  • Lechlade
  • Oxford
  • Abingdon
  • Wallingford
  • Reading
  • Henley-on-Thames (home of the Royal Regatta)
  • Marlow
  • Maidenhead
  • Windsor
  • Staines-upon-Thames
  • Walton-on-Thames
  • Kingston upon Thames
  • Teddington
  • Westminster
  • London

No.2: How long is the River Thames?

215 miles long, the longest river in England.

It’s also the second longest river in the UK. 

No.3: How deep is the Thames River?

Want to know the answer to how deep is the River Thames? 

It’s reportedly about 20 metres at its’ deepest point, but depends on the tides. 

No.4: How wide is the River Thames at its widest point? 

Can you believe a mammoth 18 miles wide at the mouth of the river.


No.5: Where is the source of River Thames? 

Where does the Thames start?

The start of the River Thames is at Seven Springs near Cheltenham.

(Although there’s some schools of thought that say that the River Thames mouth at Thames Head near Cirencester in the Cotswolds is the true source.)

No.6: Where does the River Thames end?

At the North Sea via the Thames Estuary at Southend. 

No.7 : River Thames History

Click here for a full run down of the history of the Thames River from Roman times, through the middle ages, past the Victorian era and into the 20th Century. 

It’s been a maritime route, played the role of a boundary in marking land ownership, has been a fresh water and food source for daily life, and now encourages locals and visitors onto the water for boat rides, water sports, & racing. 

No.8: River Thames Pronunciation

No.9: Thames River Festival

Check out the Totally Thames festival that runs during September.

It endeavours to celebrate the River Thames with:

  • arts events, music, choirs and singing
  • film showings
  • active adventures
  • environmental initiatives, and 
  • heritage and education programmes.

Check it out here.

No.1o: River Thames Fireworks

Fireworks light up the sky over the Thames River on New Years Eve every year. 

There’s also more Thames River fireworks on Guy Fawkes night on 5th November. 

This is the perfect time to book a river cruise too! 

Image credit: Garry Knight via Flickr CC By 2.0

THE INSIDE SCOOP: River Thames Boat Trips

Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in British pounds, unless otherwise stated

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 77 400 400.
Website: Click here
Email (guest relations): [email protected]

City Cruises Opening Hours

  • Departures begin from around 10am.
  • Cruises depart every 40 minutes
  • They run extra services during peak periods
  • In summer/spring, river cruise London boats operate until around 7pm.
  • In Winter/Autumn, the last cruise of the day finishes earlier.

For last boats of the day, please check with staff or visit here to view timetables.

River Cruises London with City Cruises continue in all-weather on every day of the week, all year round, from four piers in the heart of London:

  • Westminster
  • London Eye
  • Tower of London, and
  • Greenwich.

Facilities on board: Full toilet facilities on board each boat

Image credit: Gail Frederick via Flickr CC BY 2.0

The Best London River Cruise Deals

City Cruises London Prices 

Let’s take a look at the best London river cruise deals for families here.

Hot tip: Book online and save.

City Cruises London 24 hour Hop-on Hop-off Family Pass –

A 24 hour Hop-On Hop-Off Family Pass (2A + 3C) is the cheapest way to go. This Thames River cruise family ticket is a bargain at £39 if there’s two adults in your family.

If there’s less people in your family, individual 24 hour pass Rover Tickets cost:

  • Adults £19.50
  • Children £12.50

Combo Ticket – Save up to 20% on a Top London Attraction + River Cruise

We bought a Tower Bridge Combo ticket including a Hop-on Hop-off all day sightseeing 24-hr pass River Cruise from Westminster to Tower Pier, with entry into the Tower Bridge exhibition.

The cost of the package is £23.10 for adults, and £13.20 for kids 5 -15.

Jack was free, as children aged 0 – 4 years go FREE!

Image credit: Robert Pittman via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

MORE OPTIONS for a City Cruises 24-hour Sightseeing Pass & One London Attraction

You can also combine a City Cruises 24-hour sightseeing pass, with one of fifteen other top London attractions with their tour packages.

Pick the London attraction of your choice from this list.

NB: Combo Ticket prices vary depending on the attraction.

  • The London Dungeon
  • Tower of London
  • Greenwich Explorer Pass
  • Royal Observatory
  • Cutty Sark
  • Madame Tussauds
  • London Sea Life Aquarium
  • London Eye
  • Shrek’s Adventure!
  • The View from the Shard
  • The Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Exhibition & Tour
  • St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kews Garden

See package prices, and buy tickets here.

Image credit: It’s No Game via Flickr CC BY-2.0

River Thames Boat Ride Prices

You can also buy individual tickets (not combos) 

Children tickets are valid for kids 5-15  years.

Under 4’s free.

Single Tickets – One Way (taking you from one pier to the next)

  • Westminster/London Eye to Greenwich  – online price from £13.25 adults, and £11.25 children
  • Westminster to Tower, or Tower to Greenwich, or vice versa – online price from £16.00 adults and £10.75 children

Return Tickets

  • Westminster/London Eye to Greenwich, or vice versa  – online price from £17.50 adults, and £8.50 children
  • Westminster to Tower, or Tower to Greenwich – online price from £10.75 adults and £7.00 children

Image credit: Neil Willsey via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

How to get to the City Cruises London Boat Terminal

Westminster Pier

The pier is situated next to Westminster Bridge, by the entrance to Westminster underground station, which connects you to the Circle, District and Jubilee lines.

London Eye Pier

Occasionally known as Waterloo Millennium Pier, this is close to Waterloo underground and railway stations and across the river from Embankment and Charing Cross underground and railway station.

The pier is located directly beneath the capital’s London Eye.

Tower Pier

Tower Pier is close to Tower Hill underground station, Tower Gateway DLR station, and London Bridge train station is not far off.

Greenwich Pier

Greenwich Pier is near to Cutty Sark DLR station (Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich).

It is also close to Greenwich railway station.

River Thames Map

Toadstool Rating: 

A river cruise with kids is always a good idea on a beautiful blue sky day!

thames family river cruise REVIEW

Guide to Best London Museums for Kids near the Thames 

Click the links in blue below for more London tips

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