You Are Better Off By Boat

The river Thames flows straight through the centre of London. Instead of taking the bus or tube around London, hop on one of the many boat tours and see London by boat.  The clipper is one of the best ways and at £12.00 per adult, (which is less when presenting a travel card), it makes an enjoyable day trip out without breaking the bank. Here are some of the places to visit next time you are taking a trip down the river.

1) Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

The Palace of Westminster of Westminster Palace is probably more commonly known as the Houses of Parliament, home to the House of Commons and House of Lords.  It is on the north side of the river Thames, opposite Westminster Abbey and close to other government houses such as Whitehall and Downing Street.   The first royal palace was built on the site of Houses of Parliament back in the 11 th century and was the main London residence of the royal family until 1512 when a fire destroyed a large part of the building.  Since that time it was the Parliament.  There are tours of Parliament but only if you are part of a school or college.

Big Ben is the name of the bell of the clock in the clock tower, not the clock tower as many people may believe.  The clock tower has the largest 4 faced chilling clock in the world and celebrated its 150 year birthday in May 2009.  Both the Houses of Pariliament and Big Ben are iconic landmarks in London and feature in many of the tourist guidebooks as well as Hollywood films.

2) London Eye

Built for the Millennium and costing £70 million this giant Ferris wheel attracts 3.5 million people a year.  When it was erected in 1999 it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world at 120 metres.  Other countries have since erected taller wheels, first the Star of Nanchang in 2006 and then the Singapore Flyer in 2008 at 164 metres.  On a clear day you can see all of London from the top of the Eye, but it is not cheap, costing from £31.50 for an adult.  Book early to avoid quieting in the long line which is outside.  Probably best to go on a summer day, less chance of rain and more of clear skies.  The London Eye was sponsored by British Airways, then Merlin and now it is the EFD Energy London Eye after EDF sponsored it from January 2011 for 3 years – good promotion in the lead up to the Olympics.

3 ) Tower Bridge and The Tower

Tower Bridge is an iconic London attraction built between 1886 and 1894 and is seen  in many films and London events such as the London marathon.  It has even featured on shows such as The Apprentice where they rented out the top walkway for the function.  Other companies also rent out the top floor and from here you get a breathtaking view of London.  The nearest tube is Tower Hill or Tower Gateway is the DLR.

Tower Bridge is next the Tower of London, which was originally was a castle.  It was founded at the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The castle has been used as a prison from the 11the century.  It is now home to the Crown Jewels.  It costs 20.90 to enter, so it can get a bit pricey if you have also gone on the London Eye the same day. But it is well worth a visit.

4) Canary Wharf

Located in the West Indian Dock on the Isle of Dogs, it was once on of the busiest docks in the world.  However, by the 1950s, the port industry had begun to decline which led to the docks closing by 1980.  By the late 1980s redevelopment of the area began to make this the financial district of London.  Canary Wharf has gone through two recessions and is the home of many headquarters  including Barclays, Citigroup, State Street, Credit Suisse, Clifford Change.   It is also home to a big shopping centre and some of the in the city.  It is a real busy place during the day, but it is yet to have a buzzy nightlife at weekends.

5) Greenwich

Before the Jubilee extension, Greenwich was not the easiest part of London to get to.  But thanks to the extension in 2000, plus the boat tours such as the Clipper, it is much more accessible and is a great day out.  Greenwich has been rename the Royal Borough of Greenwich due to its long maritime history and ties with the Royal Family. There has been a royal palace – the Palace of Placentia since the 15 th century and Greenwich is also the birthplace of many in the House of Tudor.  Greenwich is more commonly known as the place for Greenwich Meridian (0 degrees longitude) s it is where Greenwich Mean Time

There are so many places to visit along the Thames.  These were just a few of the many tourist attractions.  The millennium dome can also be accessed by boat and is now home to the O2 arena where many concerts take place.  For those people living further out of town and want to experience all of what London has to offer, there are options to rent one of the many apartments in London.

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