Discover a night out on the Thames with City Cruises
With so many iconic attractions in the capital, sightseeing in London is boundless; however, the determining factor between an ordinary and an extraordinary experience can quite simply rely on how you choose to explore…
by Gemma Dunn
For some, the hop-on hop-off buses are ideal, while for others, taxi or walking tours that cover a well-trod path of tourist destinations are the preferred means. Me? I’ve ticked off all of the above itineraries and more; froze half to death amid an open-topped bus, blistered my feet among the hectic crowds, and spent a small fortune on a specialist taxi tour. My methods are all but exhausted, aside from one; but it may just be the best one yet.
The leading operator of passenger tours on the River Thames, City Cruises prides itself on offering a first-class range of sightseeing, entertainment and charter services throughout the calendar year. From the River Red Rover – ideal for families on an ambitious day out in London – to commentated sightseeing singles, returns, ticket combinations (combine a river cruise with a visit to one of nine top London attractions), lunch and afternoon tea, there’s a day and night option to suit every requirement.
On this occasion, my penchant for wine prevailed – and with that came the London Showboat experience. Sightseeing in style and better still, away from crowds and queues, this evening cruise offers passengers a welcome drink, four-course sit-down meal, the aforementioned ‘wine’ (half a bottle each), spades of entertainment, and of course, unrivalled views.
As the boat slipped its moorings, my guest and I were already tucking into a delicious starter of Scottish smoked salmon mousse, and king prawns with a lemon and mesclun salad. Enjoyed in full panoramic view of the glittering city backdrop and recently passed Tower Bridge, a tomato, roast pepper and basil soup followed, as did our main course: roasted supreme of chicken wrapped in Parma ham, served with dauphinoise potato, seasonal vegetables and a mushroom, thyme and red wine sauce. There is also a vegetarian option if desired.
Having headed downriver, passing Canary Wharf, Greenwich, and arriving at the Thames Barrier, a rather delicious white, dark and milk chocolate truffle cake was the only thing standing between me and the dance floor. But not for long. Upon heading back towards Westminster, it was time to soak up the party atmosphere and enjoy the singers second – more upbeat – set; the perfect end to a unique and memorable night.
Taking around three and a half hours in total, the London Showboat does exactly what it says on the tin and offers great food, great entertainment, and timeless views from the best vantage point possible. Exhilarating as opposed to exhausting, this is undoubtedly my kind of sightseeing!
With cruises departing every 30 minutes, all year round, City Cruises gives you the freedom to explore the many sights of the River Thames from four fantastic piers: Westminster, London Eye, Tower of London and Greenwich.
For a full list of river cruises, prices and special offers, visit www.citycruises.com.