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River Thames

Sail on the water or walk along the riverbank to admire the scenery and take a trip through time on London’s great river.

London’s long and tumultuous history is written upon the face of the city, and the River Thames has watched it all. A 19th-century Member of Parliament, John Burns, said it best: “The Mississippi is muddy water, but the Thames is liquid history.” In modern-day London, history comes to life on the 70 wharves, which have remained in operation after centuries. As you make your way down the river’s dark waters, you will enjoy a unique snapshot of life in this dynamic but resolutely historical city. 

Any trip down the Thames is a trip into London’s mighty past, as the story of this river is entwined with the history of London and its surrounds. The current London Bridge is located near the site where the Romans built the river’s first bridge, some two millennia ago. By the post-industrial Victorian era, London was notorious for its dreadful public health conditions and the Thames had become more or less an open sewer. Eventually, however, the river was cleaned up. Some say the decision to clean the river came about because the members in the riverside House of Parliament at the time could no longer bear the smell.

Today, the Thames is far more hygienic and atmospheric. A variety of companies offer cruises of the river. For an unforgettably picturesque experience, take a cruise around sunset. Adventurous visitors might prefer to row their own way down the river, starting in the clear Upper Thames and passing through Windsor before winding into the heart of London. 

Take a walk along the Thames Path to enjoy a fine city hike. The path will take you past famous sights, including the Millennium Eye, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Tower Bridge, as well as some of London’s quieter zones. The views along the river are beautiful, so remember to bring your camera.

The River Thames is easily accessible from most London locations. Look online to survey the various cruise and tour offerings available.


Guide to Exploring Thames River


Top Thames River Hotel & Accommodation Deals

See all 17,364 properties near Thames River
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London NZ$267
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is steps away from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. St. Thomas' Hospital and Sea Life London Aquarium are also within 5 minutes. Waterloo Underground Station is only a 4-minute walk and Lambeth North Underground Station is 6 minutes.

    ME London NZ$375
    ME London

    ME London

    336-337 The Strand, London, England
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is steps away from Lyceum Theatre, The Strand and Aldwych Theatre. Covent Garden Market and Royal Opera House are also within 5 minutes. Temple Underground Station is 5 minutes by foot and Covent Garden Underground Station is 7 minutes.

      The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton NZ$430
      The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton

      The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton

      2 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square, London, England
         
        5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Trafalgar Square, London Eye and Buckingham Palace. Big Ben and The British Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Charing Cross Underground Station and London Charing Cross Station are within a 5-minute walk.

        Point A Hotel - Westminster, London NZ$106
        Point A Hotel - Westminster, London

        Point A Hotel - Westminster, London

        118 - 120 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Imperial War Museum, Sea Life London Aquarium and London Eye. Big Ben and Houses of Parliament are also within 15 minutes. Lambeth North Underground Station is only a 2-minute walk and Waterloo Underground Station is 9 minutes.

          The Strand Palace Hotel NZ$243
          The Strand Palace Hotel

          The Strand Palace Hotel

          372 The Strand, London, England
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in London City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Covent Garden Market, Piccadilly Circus and London Dungeon. Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are also within 1 mi (2 km). Charing Cross Underground Station is 5 minutes by foot and Covent Garden Underground Station is 5 minutes.

            The Grand at Trafalgar Square NZ$160
            The Grand at Trafalgar Square

            The Grand at Trafalgar Square

            8 Northumberland Avenue, London, England
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in London City Centre, this boutique hotel is steps away from Charing Cross and The Strand. Trafalgar Square and National Gallery are also within 5 minutes. Charing Cross Underground Station and Embankment Station are within a 5-minute walk.

              London Marriott Hotel County Hall NZ$409
              London Marriott Hotel County Hall

              London Marriott Hotel County Hall

              London County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
                 
                5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of London Eye and Big Ben. Buckingham Palace and St. Paul's Cathedral are also within 2 mi (3 km). Westminster Underground Station is only a 4-minute walk and Waterloo Underground Station is 6 minutes.

                Park Plaza County Hall London NZ$260
                Park Plaza County Hall London

                Park Plaza County Hall London

                1 Addington Street, London, England
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is steps away from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. Jubilee Gardens and The Vaults are also within 5 minutes. Waterloo Underground Station and Lambeth North Underground Station are within a 5-minute walk.