London By Boat: Not just for Tourists

The Tube in London is great. You can get from A(ngel) to B(arking) without even realising how far you’ve travelled.

The bad thing about the Tube, is that you don’t even realise how far you’ve travelled.

Often, journeys that I take on the Tube during winter because of the weather (or spring, or even summer in London, the weather can be much the same) are actually walkable. And when the nice weather eventually does come round, and I do decide to walk it, I realise that it’s actually not as far as I thought. Or the bus journey which, funnily enough, is generally above ground, slightly sunnier, only an extra five minutes and I don’t have to change at Holborn and therefore experience the wrath of the Oxford Street commuting tourists.

So I do tend to try to travel by foot, or bus where possible. This evening, I took a different transport-type.
Tower Bridge - an alternative view

Coming out of an interview, slightly before 4.15….I’m not going back to the office, am I? I’ll take a nice walk along the South Bank from London Bridge, to Embankment, pop into Ocean Leisure (the best, nay only dive shop in central London to my limited knowledge) and pick up my newly serviced regs. The weather is uncharacteristically sunny. I have flat shoes on. I’m feeling unstressed now the pressure of the interview has gone. It’s a no-brainer.

Shortly after this thought, I turned to the Thames, to see the riverboat, or Thames Clipper just about to dock.

The Thames Clipper is London’s water taxi service. It serves the Thames, both North and South Banks from The London Eye, right out to Woolwich in the East.

A quick check of the map by the mooring told me it does indeed stop at Embankment. And in only 9 minutes.

Now I know this is aimed at the tourist trade: £5.50 a ticket tells me that (versus the usual £1.90) for the same a tube journey. But this is the Thames. It’s sunny. And they serve BEER.

That’s right. Beer. And wine.

Now I didn’t get a drink for my 9 minute journey. But you could. Instead of getting the Tube from Bank to to Canary Wharf on a Thursday night, how about a riverboat from Blackfriars with a few cheeky wee beers on the way with your pals. Or even out to Greenwich on a weekend for a nice lazy day around the Market.

It’s not as cheap as the Tube, but it’s nicer. And you actually get to see stuff you’re travelling past, rather than a black tunnel wall.

I wouldn’t do it all the time, but it’s nice on occasions. Like sunny days after interviews.


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