I was having dinner overlooking the Thames the other week and I started thinking about how many amazing places there are along the river in London. As I soaked up the view, I picked out my favorites. Now I want to share them, so today I bring you 21 amazing places to see on the Thames in London.

Places to See on the Thames in London

21 Places to See on the Thames in London

The following is an east-to-west list of riverfront spots in London I’ve come to love. From famous landmarks to secret gardens, there’s no shortage of gems along the water. I hope you enjoy discovering them as much as I have.

St Katharine Docks

1. Thames Barrier

I recently had my first up-close look at the Thames Barrier, the flood barrier that protects London from aggressive tides and storm surges. I previously thought it was more functional than aesthetic, but it turns out it’s a work of art in its own right.

Thames Barrier

2. Emirates Air Line

One of the most unusual ways of traveling in London is by air. The Emirates Air Line cable car soars over east London and offers views of everything from the 02 to Canary Wharf. It’s a good way to see a different side of the city from a unique angle.

Emirates Air Line

3. Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

Whenever I’m in Greenwich I love seeing the view of the Queen’s House through the Old Royal Naval College. The symmetry of the buildings and grandeur of their design is beautiful from any angle, but it’s particularly lovely from the river and the hill.

Greenwich, London

4. St Katharine Docks

St Katharine Docks always transports me into another world. The boats in the marina are reminiscent of the seaside, and the shops, restaurants, and markets always offer me something new to discover. I love the flower-covered facade of the local pub, too.

St Katharine Docks

5. Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is one of London’s most iconic feats of engineering. Its Victorian style and eye-catching towers make me reach for my camera every time I’m on the Thames.

Tower Bridge

6. Tower of London

Speaking of towers, the Tower of London is one of the city’s oldest and most revered landmarks. With layers of history and sparkling jewels, it deserves its place among the top places to see on the Thames in London.

Tower of London

7. Borough Market

For food, there’s no better place along the river than Borough Market. Grazing through the stalls and taking in the smells and colors could occupy me all day (and often does).

Borough Market Cheese

8. Shakespeare’s Globe

When I’m in the mood for theater, Shakespeare’s Globe is the perfect riverfront stage. Whether I go for a classic play or something modern, I know I’m in for a treat.

9. Tate Modern

Next door is Tate Modern, one of the most visited museums in the world. The art is lovely to look at, as are the views from the terrace on the top floor of its Switch House.

Tate Modern

10. OXO Tower

Just down the river, the OXO Tower not only illuminates the night sky with its neon letters, but also offers some of the best views of the Thames from its restaurant terrace. I had my aforementioned dinner here and couldn’t stop staring at the City skyline.

OXO Tower

11. London Eye

Equally impressive are the vistas from the London Eye, one of the city’s most iconic contemporary landmarks. I’ve conquered my fear of heights twice just to get a glimpse.

London Eye

12. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

The highlights of a ride on the London Eye are two more of the best places to see on the Thames in London. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are some of the most recognizable symbols of the city.

Big Ben

13. Tate Britain

Down the way is Tate Britain, another of London’s great art museums. Its permanent collection and temporary exhibitions both draw me in for frequent visits, and I love having lunch at the restaurant’s outdoor tables in the summer.

Tate Britain

14. Chelsea Physic Garden

When I’m in the mood for nature, I beat a path to the Chelsea Physic Garden. This green space is full of medicinal plants and botanical beauties from around the world, and it’s the perfect respite from the busy streets.

Chelsea Physic Garden

15. Hurlingham Club

As is the Hurlingham Club. This private venue in Fulham is worth getting invited to for its lush gardens and sprawling croquet lawns. I enjoyed an afternoon barbecue here last summer and could have stayed all season.

16. Thames Path in Hammersmith and Chiswick

Up a bend in the river, the Thames Path in Hammersmith and Chiswick is one of my favorite places to walk along the water. From the cozy pubs to the beautiful houses, this stretch delights me every time.

Boat in the Thames

17. Kew Gardens

Around another bend lies Kew Gardens, one of the city’s most impressive green spaces. I could spend all day walking through the grounds, but the real highlight is the collection of historic glasshouses that transport me straight back to Victorian England.

Kew Gardens

18. Syon Park

Across the river is Syon Park, another place I like to wander. It too has a glasshouse, but the weeping trees and arched bridges are equally lovely.

Syon Park

19. Richmond Pubs

When my feet need a rest, Richmond is one of the most welcome places to see on the Thames in London. Its waterfront pubs are some of the best places to soak up the sun on warm days, and the neighborhood atmosphere makes the experience all the more pleasurable.

Boat in Richmond, London

20. Eel Pie Island

My most exciting surprise along the river has been Eel Pie Island. This gem in the Thames is full of quirky houses and artists’ studios, making it a great place to explore the unexpected.

Eel Pie Island

21. Hampton Court Palace

Way out east, Hampton Court Palace is one of London’s most impressive royal residences. I love how the interiors are rich in history and the gardens full of secret mazes and colorful blossoms.

Hampton Court Palace

There are a lot more places to discover along the waterfront, but I hope these give you a good base to start from. Someday I would love to venture up or down the river, but for now London is keeping me busy enough.

What are your favorite places to see on the Thames in London?

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Places to See on the Thames in London

14 Comments on Lady’s 21 Places You Have to Discover on the Thames in London

    • A Lady in London
      June 1, 2017 at 11:00 am (3 weeks ago)

      I hope you can get to them sometime soon!

      Reply
  1. Sandra
    May 30, 2017 at 10:53 am (4 weeks ago)

    The emirates air line is so cool! I prefer it as an attraction than the Eye.

    Reply
  2. Maria
    May 30, 2017 at 11:20 am (4 weeks ago)

    I love a good walk along the river and the best part is that you will always find a new gem. Some of the places that you mentioned in this post, I’ve never been to but now I feel like I need to head out for a new walk when I next have a weekend free.

    Reply
  3. Mark
    May 30, 2017 at 2:22 pm (4 weeks ago)

    I have visited most but not all of these and am inclined to agree with your selection. I might include either the Old Thameside Inn (which is not at all old, really!) or the Oystershed as well, and perhaps Southwark Cathedral? But still, it is a personal list and 21 is quite a lot already. How about the Museum of London Docklands? I have been a couple of times but need to go again before I can give you a thorough recommendation – I did not allow enough time!

    Reply
  4. amanda
    May 30, 2017 at 4:13 pm (4 weeks ago)

    wow what a comprehensive post! I didn’t know about the fabulously named Eel pie island! I think Barnes village is also worth an explore along the thames and although it has been done 100 times there is usually something on at southbank. Oh and the thames clipper is my favourite way to travel down the river and see all these wonderful things!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      June 1, 2017 at 11:01 am (3 weeks ago)

      Yeah, Barnes is lovely! I always enjoy visiting.

      Reply
  5. John Hendricks
    May 31, 2017 at 2:34 am (3 weeks ago)

    Thanks for the list! I was excited to see this as walking The Thames is one of my favorite things to do in London. Hard to think of my favorite, but I would say my favorite so far was relaxing while having lunch on the terrace at The Anchor Bankside, with the views of the Thames and St. Paul’s Cathedral, among others! Or maybe watching the sunset from the Queens Walk.

    Reply
  6. Lucy
    May 31, 2017 at 6:01 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Great piece – I’ve never heard of Eel Pie island so just read your other post from a few years back. Sounds like such an intriguing place – in the middle of the Thames – who’d have thought!

    Reply

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