Dividing north from south, the Thames River certainly dominates London in terms of its sheer size and meandering route through the heart of the city. As well as being an iconic London landmark, there’s also whole host of experiences to be discovered on its waters and banks, especially if you have children in tow. Just a short walk or bus ride from the water’s edge, The Rubens at the Palace in Victoria provides the perfect base for riverside activities in London.
1. The Golden Hinde
London’s famous galleon, The Golden Hinde, is a perfect playground for swashbuckling adventures, where children can explore the decks of this full size reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake’s vessel and experience the life of a Tudor sailor with costumed guides.
2. London RIB Voyages
Hop on a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) at the London Eye and hold on tight as you’re taken down the Thames for a spot of sightseeing – at speeds approaching 35 knots (40mph). The white-knuckle ride is not only an incredible way to see the city, but it’ll have the whole family shrieking too!
3. National Maritime Museum
Whether it’s steering a ship into port or firing a canon at pesky pirates, history comes alive for even the most demanding children at the National Maritime Museum – London’s interactive, informative and incredibly entertaining hub of seafaring adventures.
4. SEA LIFE London Aquarium
Dive beneath the waves at London’s SEA LIFE Aquarium, where children can meet an array of underwater creatures, including awesome great white sharks, huge stingrays, and majestic green sea turtles. Be sure to catch a ‘feeding’, held almost every hour throughout the day.
5. WWT London Wetland Centre
Get the kids out in the fresh air and engage with nature at the London Wetland Centre, a wildlife haven in the heart of West London where you’ll find 100 acres of wetlands teeming with wild birds, otters, water voles and bats.
6. London Kayak Tours
Get the family onto the River Thames and see London from the comfort of your own kayak with London Kayak Tours. With multiple locations along the river, it’s just a case of choosing which of the city’s iconic sights you’d prefer to float past.
7. The London Bridge Experience
London’s dirty deeds and haunting history come to life at the London Bridge Experience, where you’ll meet Romans, Vikings, Jack the Ripper and even William Wallace’s executioner as you’re lead through the dark secrets that lie beneath the city’s most historic Thames bridge.
8. EDF London Eye
See the Thames – and pretty much everything else within a 25-mile radius – from one of the world’s tallest Ferris wheels as the whole family hop on the iconic EDF London Eye. Set on the shores of South Bank, you’ll be treated to incredible cityscape views from 135 metres up.
9. Medieval Banquet
Kids get the chance to meet the enigmatic King Henry VIII at their very own Medieval Banquet in St Katherine’s Docks, where themed entertainment, live musicians and performances, (not to mention a feast of royal proportions), await.
10. Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
Sitting right on the banks of the Thames, Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is home to an impressive collection of exotic animals, including cheeky lemurs and meerkats, emus and even bearded dragons. Don’t miss feeding times and a trip down the tunnel at Meerkat Madness…