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An Afternoon Tea Cruise Down The Thames

by LaurettaCWright
An Afternoon Tea Cruise Down The Thames

I never knew that you could enjoy Afternoon Tea on the River Thames until very recently. In posh hotels, maybe, but on a boat while taking in the sights of London? Now this I had to see.

City Cruises offers Afternoon Tea cruises on a daily basis. They depart from Tower Pier (the nearest tube station being Tower Hill), so if you really wanted to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ on a trip to London, you’re well placed to take in the sights of the Tower of London too.

I was travelling with my lovely friend Aurora, who like me, was partial to a bit of cake and tea on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

The boat docked up and on we got. My initial impressions were great; although there was a queue to board, what I liked was that there wasn’t a massive rush for the best seats in the house.

Afternoon Tea Cruise down the Thames

Boarding was a very civilized affair – we gave our names and we were escorted to our table by a hostess – they had it all worked out in advance where we would be seating – nice touch.

Aurora and I had a two-seater table right next to the window, so I knew it wouldn’t be long before my phone either (1) ran out of storage space or (b) ran out of battery, with all the photos I’d be taking.

As it turned out, my phone did run out of battery – but luckily not before I had got most of the shots I wanted.

Afternoon Tea Cruise on the Thames

Fancy a cuppa?

Within a few minutes of us being seated, we were served with cups of tea or coffee – and the hot drinks were literally ‘on tap’ for the duration of the cruise.

This was definitely my cup of tea (pun totally intended), although my bladder didn’t thank me on the journey home – should’ve thought of that.

Next came the lovely Afternoon Tea stands featuring a selection of sandwiches on the bottom tier, cakes and pastries on the middle tier and the obligatory scones, clotted cream and jam to finish off.

I had a good old nose at the sandwiches – fillings in ours included salmon, ham, turkey and prawns. The company also offers a vegetarian option and, if you give enough notice (at least 24-hours), they also offer gluten-free tea.

Afternoon Tea Cruise on The Thames

City knowledge on City Cruises

While we were enjoying our lunch and admiring the city views, the live commentary began. Now I don’t know about you, but one of my bad habits is a wandering mind – and I often find myself switching off from commentary – especially if it’s all facts and figures

But what City Cruises did so well was to incorporate humour into its commentary – before long, the witty quips, jokes and observations had the guests on the boat bonding over shared laughter. It was really nice to see.

And in fact – I did learn a few new things about the city I thought I knew so well. Here are just a few I picked up…

  • On a good day, the London Eye generates £215,000 in revenue.
  • Both Michael Jackson and Pavarotti have performed at the Festival Hall.
  • Cleopatra’s Needle is the oldest object in london – it’s 3,000 years old!
  • The National Theatre has been voted the ugliest building on the banks of the river Thames for last 10 years! And Prince Charles was even quoted as saying it was the ugliest building he had ever seen!
  • Years ago, if you had a cherry tree on your house boat you would receive free moorings. You can still see the trees on some boats today, but they are kept more as a tradition nowadays.

Following the commentary and me trying to drink as much tea as my bladder would allow, Aurora and I wrapped up to venture upstairs to the outdoor deck to enjoy 360-degree views of the city.

It was actually perfect timing; dusk was setting in and the city was starting to come alive with lights – it looked really pretty.

Afternoon Tea Cruises on the Thames

So, the big question is: would I recommend Afternoon Tea on the Thames with City Cruises?

You bet. In fact, it actually makes for a really nice birthday, anniversary or special occasion experience – as you really feel like you’re being well looked after. Maybe next time you’re stuck on ideas as a nice gift for someone – this could be just the ticket.

What you need to know

City Cruises runs Afternoon Tea Cruises every day. You board at 3.15pm and it departs at 3.30pm, returning at 5pm.

Prices start from £32 per adults and £22 per child and a ticket includes:

  • The one-and-a-half-hour river cruise
  • A selection of sandwiches, cakes, pastries and scones with clotted cream and jam
  • Live commentary
  • As much tea and coffee as you like!

I have to say, towards the end of the cruise I did start to feel a bit queasy. But this was probably more to me stuffing myself with as much cake and tea as I could muster than seas sickness; the only time we felt the waves were when another boat went past and created the waves.

I just love the fact that you get to see the city from the river, boost your knowledge of London with some cool facts and eat cake at the same time. Whoever came up with this genius idea needs a gold medal as far as I’m concerned.

What are you thoughts? Would you give river cruising with Afternoon Tea a go?

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Afternoon Cruise Down The River Thames


Iris Tilley 9th April 2018 - 10:21 am

Certainly one to think about and if you did it in your home city you would certainly see and discover new parts you didn’t know existed

LaurettaCWright 9th April 2018 - 12:57 pm

You’re absolutely right Iris – as I found out myself. It’s funny how much I learned while on the trip.

Patrick 25th January 2018 - 8:49 am

This looks like a total hoot! Pretty cool that CityCruises had the seating down pat so there wasn’t a mad dash for all the choice seats.
Glad you didn’t get sick at the end of your tea….

LaurettaCWright 25th January 2018 - 9:07 am

Thanks Patrick – just something that little bit different to do in London…

Vania 25th December 2017 - 2:56 pm

I would love to see London with my boyfriend. We also like tea very much, well we never miss a day without a cup of a good tea. I am sure you had an amazing day with Aurora.

LaurettaCWright 26th December 2017 - 10:09 pm

I’m sure you’d really enjoy the afternoon tea cruise Vania – you need to drop some hints I think! 🙂

caroline tokes 13th December 2017 - 10:49 am

Sounds like an amazing day out

LaurettaCWright 13th December 2017 - 2:28 pm

It’s definitely worth a try – felt like the queen! 🙂

Chloe Ciliberto 2nd December 2017 - 4:27 pm

Wow this looks like so much fun and what a delicious afternoon tea. I’m definitely going to give this ago next time in London. It would be a great date idea! x

LaurettaCWright 2nd December 2017 - 6:41 pm

Thanks Chloe – enjoy!

Jayne @ Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs 1st December 2017 - 12:06 pm

What a lovely experience! I wish I lived closer as I would love to do this. Fab to see you had a great time x

LaurettaCWright 2nd December 2017 - 6:42 pm

One to think about if you’re on a day trip!

Kara 30th November 2017 - 6:29 pm

I never realised City Cruises did afternoon tea – I so need to do this

LaurettaCWright 2nd December 2017 - 6:43 pm

I’m sure you’d love it Kara!

Jo Hutchinson 30th November 2017 - 5:16 pm

The tea looks brilliant.

LaurettaCWright 1st December 2017 - 10:28 am

Thanks Jo – it really was lovely..

five little doves 30th November 2017 - 11:24 am

I love afternoon tea and tea on the Thames is the epitome of British isn’t it? I’d love to do this!

LaurettaCWright 30th November 2017 - 1:40 pm

Tea on the Thames – has a nice ring about it doesn’t it?! Even if the weather’s rubbish, it’s doable which is great.

Claire 30th November 2017 - 11:10 am

What a lovely cruise. I have never been on anything like this before. The cakes look great too.

LaurettaCWright 30th November 2017 - 1:39 pm

Oooh they were lovely Claire ha ha! Polished off of course.

Jayne Townson 30th November 2017 - 10:44 am

Sounds like a great way to see London, the afternoon tea sounds lovely too.

LaurettaCWright 30th November 2017 - 2:38 pm

Puts a new meaning on killing two birds with one stone eh?!

Kira 30th November 2017 - 10:31 am

Oh wow this is definately up my street! I would love to do something like this x

LaurettaCWright 30th November 2017 - 11:04 am

You should drop some hints! 😉

Emma 29th November 2017 - 8:51 pm

We did a River Thames cruise a couple of months ago and it was such a great afternoon. There were so many interesting facts about London during the tour, it was so interesting. It would of been an even better experience with a scrumptious afternoon tea.

LaurettaCWright 29th November 2017 - 10:46 pm

Cake and sightseeing (while warm and toasty) – what more could be better?!

Anosa 29th November 2017 - 6:11 pm

Wow considering it is in London that is really good value for money! I was expecting it to be way more expensive that than. Definitely something to do next time I visit, I would want to go this time of year so it goes dark as well, I love seeing all the lights. Looks like a great time was had

LaurettaCWright 29th November 2017 - 10:45 pm

Thanks Anosa – it’s definitely worth doing – a nice relaxed experience while enjoying the capital!

Sharon Freemantle 29th November 2017 - 4:25 pm

I’d love to take my uncle it looks fabulous

LaurettaCWright 29th November 2017 - 4:34 pm

I’m sure he’d enjoy that!

Helen 29th November 2017 - 2:04 pm

I love afternoon tea, so combining that with sightseeing is perfect 🙂 I found your facts very interesting too!

LaurettaCWright 29th November 2017 - 2:52 pm

Thanks Helen!

Sonia Cave 29th November 2017 - 12:40 pm

What a lovely idea and a great way to have an afternoon tea with a stunning view

Talya 29th November 2017 - 12:26 pm

Oh how lovely I’ve been on a dinner cruise down the Thames before but didn’t know they did an afternoon tea one as well looks like you had a fab time x

LaurettaCWright 29th November 2017 - 2:53 pm

Thanks Talya – it was really rather posh! I felt very privileged!

sarah nichols 29th November 2017 - 12:25 pm

wow I never knew this was a option either, it looks fantastic. Reasonably priced too and the food looks delicious. I’d love to do this.

LaurettaCWright 29th November 2017 - 2:52 pm

One for the birthday maybe!


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