Seeing the Shard from the river certainly has the ‘wow’ factor. Particularly at night.
I am gliding past the newly opened Shard on the Westminster, one of City Cruises sharp, little vessels. The tallest building in Europe soars into the sky and is lit up like a proverbial Christmas tree. I’m on the open deck with the wind blowing through my hair and the turbulent current of the Thames churning below me; the expression ‘ it’ll knock your socks off’ (to steal an American favourite) comes to mind.
City Cruises transport in excess of two million people a year on London’s world famous river. And has recently reported its strongest year to date in 2013 with growth over the previous year of 22%. Apparently, the 2012 London Summer Olympics have really put the city on the map as far as tourists are concerned.
And there really is something atmospheric about travelling up this historic waterway at night. Seeing the Houses of Parliament, palaces and bridges aglow is quite stirring. The Tower of London, The Shard, Big Ben, Canary Wharf, The Globe Theatre and, perhaps most astonishing, St. Paul’s Cathedral are all visible from the river and within a short distance of each other. And it is certainly relaxing taking in major tourist sights without having to jostle with other people for the privilege.
A great way to see these sites either day or night is on one of the City Cruises vessels that navigate the river at any time and in all weather. OK. It is mainly for tourists or for folks who would like a meal and entertainment thrown in with their sightseeing. But, many people just enjoy being on the water and find it a relaxing way to travel
This year City Cruises will have a new Thames Circular Cruise, which is a bit like a hop on, hop off tour bus if I understand the idea. The Circular Cruise will take passengers all the way to Greenwich to see the Cutty Sark and Maritime Greenwich, a UNESCO world heritage site. And the cruise line have acquired another jet powered 315 horse-powered Rib named Blue Thunder, available for booking from March. This is entirely different experience; all speed, thrills, bumps and jumps. The great thing is that these boats run 7 days a week, 365 days a year. So, anytime you fancy a spin down the Thames…