The English are well known for tasty breakfasts and fancy layouts complete with a sweet cuppa at four o’clock. Any trip to London would be incomplete without a little teatime scheduled into your itinerary.
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There are so many beautiful places to catch the best afternoon tea that you may be scratching your head trying to choose one. So, what is more English than afternoon tea on a boat, on the River Thames?
I have experienced this unique afternoon tea experience twice and love recommending it to friends who are visiting London for a weekend and want to see London’s most iconic landmarks in one go.
This afternoon tea is not as fancy as my other afternoon tea experiences at the Shard, Sketch, The Ritz or Fortnum and Mason.
However, you do get a bang for your buck where stunning views of London is concern and that’s why I think, this City Cruise afternoon tea on the Thames is worth it.
You can also check out my YouTube video of my experience.
Anyways, not only is the River Thames as classic as a Bond character, but it is also rich in history and culturally momentous events.
This post is all about afternoon tea on the River Thames. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know before finalising your trip to some favourite London landmarks.
The history of the River Thames dates back to over 30 million years ago and is coursing with cultural and historical significance.
This river stands at the forefront of significant attractions in England, as it stretches through nine counties. From Oxford to Reading and London, this river will take you past enjoyable activities for anyone.
The river was naturally formed; carved and changed during the Ice Age era. The Thames had pathways that led into Chiltern Hills and other random meandering pathways. These patterns have created a roadmap of sorts for royalty, Tudors and marketers alike.
Settlers built castles and forts alongside the river and various people groups, like the Romans and the Saxons, used it as a manner of military defence. The Thames River was well used as a route for markets and trade during the Middle Ages too.
Even Queen Elizabeth I was said to have absolutely adored the river, specifically where it flowed through the Greenwich and Richmond regions.
Since the 19th century, river and canal trade boomed, and these days it is the beautiful landmark that is most synonymous with London, England.
Visitors are privy to views of the biggest attractions from the Thames. While you can enjoy London on foot, boating along the river is a little bit more regal. You get stunning views of Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster, Shakespeare’s Globe and so much more.
The commentary provided by the tour guides on the City Cruises River Thames afternoon tea cruise offers you valuable insight into the amazing sights along the banks.
You’ll hear fascinating information about places like the 1000-year-old Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The afternoon tea culture in Britain has been coming along for fewer years than one would imagine. The tea-riffic tradition was started in the mid-nineteenth century.
In 1840, the Duchess of Bedford popularized this lovely mid-day snacking when she found that she was often hungry between her lunch and dinner wait.
Since dinner was usually at around eight o’clock, she would request a pot of tea, some cakes, biscuits and other delicious treats to be delivered to her room.
It became such a norm that her friends would join her and thus began the tradition of tea. So, to stick with the traditions, grab your closest buds and head out for an afternoon tea cruise along the River Thames.
The River Thames afternoon tea cruise is a full 90 minutes of delectable treats. You can expect a range of British excellence.
Enjoy Barbers Cheddar Ploughman’s on granary, egg and cress on soft grain, which is just some of the vegetarian options.
Other savoury options include sandwiches with oak-smoked salmon and cream cheese on granary, or British ham and cheddar cheese with Branston pickles.
Your sweet tooth will appreciate sultana scones served with Cornish clotted cream and a strawberry preserve, as well as a wide range of mini pastries to fill you up.
You also get unlimited tea; however you can add a bottle of wine or Champagne if you want to make the experience more fancy.
The Thames River cruise afternoon tea is prompt. So, be sure not to dilly-dally beforehand as you make your way to boarding.
If you miss the boat, your opportunity will be lost and there’s little chance to reimburse your ticket.
Boarding opens at around 15:15 and the boat leaves promptly at 15:30. Your boat cruise continues for an hour and a half.
Afterwards, at around 17:00, you’ll return to the Tower Pier from where the cruise started. This light tour is perfect for a midday break in between your busy shopping or museum visits. Also, this is a great if sun is setting on your way back into the city, it adds a very romantic feel to the cruise.
Look out for the raising of Tower Bridge if you are on the cruise! My first-time seeing Tower Bridge lifted was during my first afternoon tea cruise on the Thames and everyone on the cruise was oohing and aahing at how stunning this sight was. So, keep your eyes peeled.
Top tip: There are window tables that seat two. Be sure to book these or you’ll be sat somewhere in the middle at a table for four.
An afternoon tea Thames River cruise allows you to see a ton of great sights. You can sit at your table, along with the rest of the crew and other visitors and enjoy a running commentary of everything around you.
Most guests prefer to head up to the top floor. On the open deck, you have a 360-degree view of the landmarks that London is most popular for.
Throughout your journey, the London Bridge, Big Ben and London Eye are visible without obstruction.
You’ll also passed directly underneath Millennium Bridge and Tower Bridge.
Grab yourself a drink from the fully licensed bar and soak up the tremendous panoramic views of the HMS Belfast, Bankside Beach, Blackfriars Pier, and everything else all the way to Waterloo Bridge.
If you’re looking for a truly English experience, a Thames cruise afternoon tea is just the right activity for you.
Grab your closest gal pal and get your tickets for a regal experience of the sightseeing and history that the River Thames offers.
Uphold the British tea-dition with scones, delightful finger sandwiches, and tasty fancies coupled with clear views of the most renowned landmarks.
Be sure to clarify any allergies or food preferences at least 24 hours before your trip, and then get ready for an unmissable journey.
If you find yourself in Greenwich and searching for more rich landmarks where you can enjoy tea, book your seat for afternoon tea on the Cutty Sark.
Tickets where a courtesy of City Cruise, however all opinions are my own.