Last week the Ferries 2 France team caught a ferry from Calais to Dover and headed up to London for a sightseeing adventure along the River Thames (it was cheaper than catching the Eurostar!).
On a warm day in October (we didn’t even need a coat!), we started out west in Richmond, almost as far as the London underground would take us, to begin our journey early in the morning.
To our disappointment, Kew Gardens was a bit pricey and without paying to enter here was a large wall around the edges to block any possible view. As we weren’t planning to spend a great deal of time either we would walk around the edges of Kew Gardens, up to Barnes Bridge where we could view Oliver’s Island, named after Oliver Cromwell after rumours he once took refuge there, which later turned out to be untrue.
It was still early at this point and I was able spot a couple of canoeists – presumably their morning exercise before working in the capital:
The team and I had a little wonder around this area, taking a look at the house prices along the way, before catching a tube to Putney Bridge to save what looked like a good hour’s walk on the map.
Putney Bridge is home to Fulham Palace, formerly the main residence of the Bishop of London. The medieval building remains a beautiful attraction with a delightful garden of flowers.
With so much to visit on this day, we headed back to the tube station where we took a 14-minute tube journey to Sloane Square.
From here it was a short walk along the Thames and over a bridge to Battersea Park. This beautiful 200-acre park runs adjacent to the river, opposite Chelsea.
A small children’s zoo is a short walk from the entrance, whilst the park is also home to a boating lake, a bandstand, and an all-weather outdoor sporting facility. There were tennis courts, a running track and football pitches here.
Located nearby were also Battersea Power Station and the Battersea Barge. At this point we took our first opportunity of the day to relax in the park and enjoy the morning sunshine and natural beauty.
Exiting the park, we headed over Vauxhall Bridge and walked up to Westminster. From the early morning and quiet areas, we were hit by crowds of tourists upon my arrival around midday.
Like the tourists we were on this day, we happily took some snaps of some of London’s most-famous landmarks that were in close proximity in this area. Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the London Eye etc.:
I in particular was in awe of what London has to offer around this part – staring at such amazing architecture and famous landmarks! No wonder this is the most popular part of London – the capital of England itself the most popular tourist destination in the world.
Crossing Westminster Bridge took us to the London Aquarium and Dungeons, and then at the bottom of the London Eye. We of course took the ride to get a view across the city.
This really was tourist central. As we ducked and dived between our fellow tourists, trying not to lose one another, and trying at the same time to take snaps of what we could, wepassed the Southbank Centre, Embankment, National Theatre and other well-known and popular tourist attractions.
Walking past Blackfriars Bridge and Bankside Gallery, we came to the Millennium Bridge. Crossing this took us up close to St Paul’s Cathedral. Heading back across the bridge allowed us to pass Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, the OXO Tower, London Bridge, the Shard, City Hall and many other commonly-known attractions.
This would conclude our trip along the River Thames – a 12-hour journey full of sightseeing was over as we headed for bed before leaving in the morning.
I wholeheartedly recommend any tourist planning to visit London that they try this or a similar route on a warm summer’s day. No tour guide is needed and the only expenses are the tube, for which you could probably avoid if you’re fitter than us!