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What to Expect on the London Eye River Cruise

  • Tuesday July 25th 2023
  • London Eye
  • River Cruise, London Eye, London Activities

A picture of the London Eye River Cruise.

What to Expect on the London Eye River Cruise

• Introduction: A New Way to See London

• The London Eye River Cruise Experience

• The sights you’ll see

• What to do after the cruise?

• London Eye River Cruise FAQs

Introduction: A New Way to See London

Whether you’re a local Londoner, a daily commuter or just excited about your day trip to the nation’s capital, it’s time to try something a little different. A new way to see and experience some of London’s most renowned historical landmarks, the London Eye River Cruise is as relaxing as it is engaging and educational. Sit back and enjoy the Silver Bonito (the name of the boat) as it takes you through the heart of London on a daytime (or evening during Summer) cruise, departing every 45 minutes, come rain or come shine. Seating up to 250 passengers, the London Eye River Cruise is a great way to see the city from a new perspective.

The London Eye River Cruise Experience

On your London Eye River Cruise, you’ll be treated to an exciting, guided 40-minute tour of London, accompanied by refreshments and the opportunity to enjoy the scenery, indoors or outdoors, on the sun deck seating. Those with a Merlin Annual Pass will also get to experience the cruise from just £7.50 with your up to 50% off discount. Departing from the London Eye pier (directly below the London Eye itself), here’s what to expect:

The London Eye Guided Commentary

On your sightseeing tour of London’s landmarks, you’ll be given guided commentary throughout the circular journey by our expert guides, and whilst learning fun facts and the history of some of London’s most iconic landmarks – you will be able to enjoy the experience all from the comfort of the Silver Bonito.

Audio Commentary in various languages

If English isn’t your first language or you’re struggling to hear our expert guides because of the wind passing over the River Thames, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Our sightseeing tour is available as an audio commentary in English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Japanese and Mandarin.

Accessibility on the London Eye cruise

We’re proud to say that the Silver Bonito is one of the few cruise boats on the River Thames that is fully accessible to people with disabilities and impairments. We also have full disabled access to both decks of the boat.

The sights you’ll see

Let’s take a look at just some of the landmarks you’re going to encounter on your sightseeing cruise of the city of London:

Big Ben

As probably the world’s most famous clock, Big Ben (the name actually given to the large 13-tonne bell housed in the clock tower itself), is a favourite landmark that can be seen from the London Eye cruise on the River Thames. Lovingly renamed the Elizabeth Tower in June 2012 (in honour of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee), Big Ben has a rich and intriguing history: it continued to chime, even during the Blitz (a bomb was even dropped next to it), the hands on its face are 4.2 metres long and weigh about 100kg each, and the timekeeping of this beloved clock is regulated by a stack of coins placed on the huge pendulum inside the tower.

The London Eye

A triumph of engineering ingenuity and now the UK’s most paid-for visitor attraction, the London Eye (which is not a Ferris wheel because of its 32 enclosed climate-controlled 360 view pods and A-frame on one side) stands at just over 135 metres tall, which is the equivalent of 64 red telephone boxes piled on top of each other. But the London Eye offers more than just breathtaking views; it serves as a gateway to the soul of London, providing a serene and captivating experience where visitors can truly connect with the vibrant spirit of the bustling city below. Loved by Londoners and tourists alike, the London Eye was originally a temporary structure, but has remained in its original position due to its immense popularity.

Shakespeare’s Globe

When most people think of England (and, by extension, London), they think of the great playwright William Shakespeare. So, you’ll be pleased to know that on your tour across the River Thames, you’ll get to pass by the famous Globe Theatre. Inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘wooden O’ theatre, the Globe Theatre is a 360-degree auditorium with no roof. As a result, events go ahead whatever the weather decides to do (theatre goers are advised to dress for the weather). Officially opened in 1997, the Globe Theatre and its adjoining Sam Wanamaker Playhouse are renowned across the world for their faithful reproductions of Shakespeare’s greats and many more plays from the Renaissance era.

St Paul’s Cathedral

Located atop Ludgate Hill, St Paul’s Cathedral is a symbol synonymous with British strength (it survived the Blitz), history and monarchy. Its famous dome has dominated the London skyline for centuries, with the cathedral’s first iteration beginning in the 11th century (built on top of a Roman temple dedicated to the goddess Diana). Throughout modern history, it has played host to the marriage of Charles and Diana, the Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II and the funerals of Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Winston Churchill. All in all, it’s something that you won’t want to miss on your cruise across the River Thames.

Tower of London

As iconic as it is large, this World Heritage Site is best known today for housing the Crown Jewels of England. Throughout history, the castle has been considered equally iconic for many other things, including as a fortress, a palace (for around 500 years) and a notorious dungeon (known as the Tower, its walls have seen enemies of the state, rich and poor). It was also home to the Royal Mint, the Royal Armouries and even a zoo at one point. Not to be missed on your cruise across the River Thames, the expert guides of the Silver Bonito will be able to tell you even more about its colourful history.

a picture of the London Eye and cruise boat.

What to do after the cruise?

Now you’ve had a nice, relaxing cruise around London’s major landmarks, why not spoil yourself and see what else this capital city has to offer? We proudly recommend the following three activities:

Taking a ride on the London Eye

Why not do the London Eye and a cruise all in one day? As it’s right where you’ll be finishing your cruise anyway, we recommend jumping from the Silver Bonito straight onto the London Eye itself (situated just in front of the pier). With 32 climate-controlled pods (numbered 1 to 33, with the number 13 missing for good luck), you can take in the capital city in all its splendour from the very top of the London Eye with a view of up to 40 kilometres in all directions (on a clear day, that’s as far as Windsor Castle). Want to experience the high life? Enjoy the London Eye’s champagne experience, which includes a glass of chilled Pommery Brut Royal Champagne (served by a private host) and Fast Track boarding through a dedicated entrance.

Get your heart racing at the London Dungeon

In the spirit of doing things a little differently, why not discover a more gruesome and frightening part of the city of London? If that idea sounds as thrilling as it does chilling, the London Dungeon is the perfect thing for you to do after the cruise. Tucked away under County Hall, you’ll be treated to a macabre performance history of the city’s grizzly Victorian past. Get your heart pumping on the Dead Drop: Drop Ride, take another boat trip (underground) or hear a tale or two over a drink at the Tavern, the London Dungeon has something for everyone. And, if you have the time, you can even try to escape from the dungeon’s brand-new attraction, the Guy Fawkes Escape Room (fingers crossed you get out in time).

Continue your relaxing day at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium

From cruising calmly on the river to the depths of the ocean blue, many Londoners would agree that there’s no better way to relax and pass the time than at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium. Housing around 500 different species of marine life in 14 themed zones, there’s a variety of things to see at this world-famous aquarium, including sharks, turtles and even penguins. One of the main highlights of this aquarium is the spectacular glass Ocean Tunnel, where you’ll have the sensation that you’re truly traversing the ocean floor as you’re surrounded by creatures from the deep. Don’t forget to check out the majesty of the Coral Kingdom Zone and to shake hands with a starfish (maybe avoid the sea anemone) in the Rockpool Zone.


London Eye River Cruise FAQs

On the London Eye Thames River Cruise, you’ll see many of London's most famous buildings and landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Shakespeare's Globe and the London Eye itself (when you start and finish your cruise).

The closest tubes to the London Eye River Cruise are Charing Cross, Embankment and Waterloo. Waterloo is the closest underground station to the London Eye (5 minutes on foot). Embankment and Charing Cross stations are a 10 to 15-minute walk (just cross over Hungerford Bridge).

The London Eye River Cruise is situated right next to the London Eye, on the South Bank of the River Thames, opposite Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Waterloo is the closest underground station to the London Eye (about 5 minutes on foot).