Cruise the Thames with London’s Oyster Card

Parliament forms the background for a memorable sunset cruise on the Thames.

Parliament forms the background for a memorable sunset cruise on the Thames.

You never know just how valuable a concierge can be ’til he gives you information that 1) saves you money and 2) gets you where you want to be!  Thanks to Grosvenor House: JW Marriott for hiring a man who understands Southern tourists (We have a drawl, ya’ll) and knows how to make their day.  When we approached the desk and asked the best way to get to The Globe from the Mayfair section where Grosvenor House is located, the concierge immediately said, “Have you heard of London’s Oyster Card“?

Good on most any London transport -- the Oyster Card!

Good on most any London transport — the Oyster Card!

And that’s how we discovered this little gem.  With an Oyster Card, you can tool around London on just about any form of transportation:  public buses, London Underground (the Tube), Docklands Light Railway (DLR), and trains.  River boat fares are discounted with an Oyster Card, the little blue smartcard you pre-load with money at any tube station. When you want to ride, hop on and touch your Oyster Card to an electronic reader which deducts the price of your trip and shows you how much you have remaining.  No cash involved.  Don’t use it all in one trip?  You can get a refund both for your deposit and what you didn’t spend.  Check it out at participating tube stations.

Is it only crazy, old Americans who take Thames Clipper selfies? Surely not.

Is it only crazy, old Americans who take Thames Clipper selfies? Surely not.

Passengers on a SunClipper, cruising the Thames

Passengers on a SunClipper, cruising the Thames

Purchasing an Oyster Card in London is pretty convenient, but you can order a Visitor Oyster Card before you leave home and have it mailed to you.  It wasn’t, however, much more expensive to purchase one onsite.

Boarding a ThamesClipper for the route to The Globe is easy.  Just walk down behind Parliament where ships dock.

London's Parliament

London’s Parliament

Follow the covered walkways to the waiting areas where you wait — but not long.  Many boats ensure short wait times.

Covered walkways leading to the docks.

Covered walkways leading to the docks.

Scan your Oyster Card.  Board.  And off you go.

If you want clear shots of the skyline, head to the back of the boat, stand up facing the back, and brace yourself.  It’s worth it to get shots like this one of the London Eye . . .

London Eye at sunset -- great time of day to catch this shot!

London Eye at sunset — great time of day to catch this shot!

or boats wrapping up their business for the day.

Wrapping up a day on the Thames

A scene on the Thames.

Of course, not all is lovely on the river.  But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

This seagull must like what he sees!

This seagull must like what he sees!

Traveling on the river takes you close to architecture you can’t see from a bus, like these ornate details on one of the bridges . . .

Spectacular details on this bridge on the Thames.

Spectacular details on this bridge on the Thames.

or passengers crossing Millennium Bridge to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

London Millennium Bridge was once called Wobbly Bridge when crossers felt a sway. But it was revamped and reopened in 2002.

London Millennium Bridge was once called Wobbly Bridge when crossers felt a sway. But it was revamped and reopened, better than ever, in 2002.

It’s just another day on the Thames for those making a living on the water.

Well, the birds knew which boats to circle!

Birds know the right boats.

But for us, it was a sight to remember.

For pennies on the pound, a Thames River cruise may be one of your best memories of London.

 

For more scenes of London, check out our series Postcards from England.

 

 

 

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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23 Responses to Cruise the Thames with London’s Oyster Card

  1. ankay says:

    Lovely photos! London is one of my favorite cities!

  2. The Oyster Card makes getting around London s simple. I use my contactless credit card any time I go as it does the same job. The water is definitely a great way to see the city. Thanks for sharing with #MondayEscapes

  3. We have an Oyster card and should do this! #mondayescapes

  4. Valentina says:

    Public transportation in Europe is so much better and functional than here in the US. Beautiful photos.

  5. Great perspective from the Thames with fun photos, Rusha. Really like the evening shot of the ferris wheel. –Curt

  6. Lana says:

    Great blog, glad you enjoying your stay. I don’t live in London but I have an Oyster card!

  7. We enjoyed the Thames cruise via the Oyster card as well it was a great addition to the regular transit options. Relaxing and great views

  8. Pit says:

    Those cards really are fantastic and make travelling around in London so much easier!

  9. cindy knoke says:

    Great shots of a wonderful city!

  10. Love your photos. We road above and underground but didn’t take a cruise. 🙂

  11. It’s so fun to come upon something we can do for so little money that brings great pleasure! And this was it. Walking was another option, but cruising gave us a chance to feel the breeze and enjoy the sunset. Thanks for taking a look!

  12. nikirath says:

    Wish to visit London one day! Cruise looks beautiful.

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