Exploring London from the river with MBNA Thames Clippers #ThamesNippers

We are fairly frequent visitors to London and have enjoyed a short trip on the Thames aboard a “Duck” with London Duck Tours as well as a sightseeing tour last year up as far as the Tower of London.

Last week we were invited to join MBNA Thames Clippers on a family day of sightseeing from the river and exploring Greenwich and the Greenwich Peninsula.

MBNA Thames Clippers are the fastest & most frequent fleet on the river Thames with departures from major London piers every 20 minutes. Their services stretch from Putney to Royal Arsenal Woolwich, and they cater for all, from early morning commuters to families wanting a day out on the river.

We started the day by boarding the boat at the London Eye, where the kids were given activity packs to complete once they were on board.

MBNA Thames Clipper

We then travelled along the Thames as the kids tried to spot the landmarks in their activity book which included The Shard, The Globe and St Paul’s Cathedral. They also got to try their hand some colouring and puzzles too.

MBNA Thames Clippers

During our journey we had to make an unscheduled stop of about half an hour to let the Thames waters settle for the Doggets Coat and Badge race, the oldest rowing race in the world. Up to six apprentice watermen of the River Thames compete for this prestigious honour, which has been held every year since 1715 and it was a real treat to watch.

Doggets Coat and Badge Race

Whilst we were waiting for the race to start, Isaac and Sebastian were invited up to the wheel house by the Captain and got to learn all about the Thames Clippers as well as watching the race start from a great vantage point.

MBNA Thames Clipper

Once the race had gone past it was time to set off again to continue our journey to Greenwich to visit the historic Cutty Sark, Britain’s only surviving tea clipper and fastest ship of her time.

Cutty Sark

With interactive exhibits, different samples of the ship’s cargo and a cast of colourful character actors from Cutty Sark’s past, it is a really interesting visit, plus there are magnificent views over the Thames from the helm.

Cutty Sark

In comparison to the 19th Century ship, the museum is a modern marvel and the glass housing is made to look like the sea from the outside and suspends the ship in mid air so you literally walk under the hull once inside.

cutty sark museum

By now the kids were getting hungry so we headed to the Rivington Grill, located in the Greenwich Picture House in the town centre to sample their new children’s menu.

Rivington Grill

Rivington Grill are offering a fabulous ‘kids eat free’ offer, with a maximum of two children per paying adult over the summer holidays and Isaac and Eliza enjoyed a tasty burger and chips whilst Sebby plumped for traditional bangers and mash. They all had ice cream for dessert though.

Rivington Grill

Once lunch was finished we headed back to the pier to catch the MBNA Thames Clipper to North Greenwich, where we would be riding the Emirates Airline from Greenwich Peninsula to Royal Docks and back.

I have been wanting to go on a RIB ride of the Thames to experience some speed, so I was pleasantly surprised when the clipper opened up the throttle and sped along the Thames at 30 knots past Canary Wharf and The O2.

MBNA Thames Clipper

It wasn’t long before the Emirates Airline was in sight.

Emirates Air Line

We have ridden the Emirates Airline before, but it was dark and raining so we were all excited to do it in the sunshine.

Emirates Air Line

Sebby was excited to spot planes flying low overhead, whilst Eliza was determined to make the passengers on passing cable cars wave to her.

Emirates Air Line

Isaac, on the other hand, was much more studious and was busy studying his booklet and pointing out everything we could see out of the windows.

Emirates Air Line

The journey itself is 1km long each way and the maximum height you reach is a staggering 90m at its highest point, so great for a birdseye view over east London.

Emirates Air Line

Once we were back on dry land we headed into the Emirates Aviation Experience which is situated opposite the entrance to the cable car.

Emirates Aviation Experience

Here the kids got a real insight into the operations and achievements of modern air travel, including getting to see the travel cycle of a piece of luggage, from check-in all the way through to collection.

Emirates Aviation Experience

There was the chance to learn how an aircraft engine works, which was explained in laymans terms so even the kids could understand the physics of it and the screen moved along the length of a real engine so you knew what part did what job.

Emirates Aviation Experience

All the displays were interactive which held the kids attention and they even enjoyed a spot of in-flight entertainment.

Emirates Aviation Experience

It was the upstairs they were most excited by though, as they got to pretend they flying their own plane.

Emirates Aviation Experience

There are also commercial flight simulators available to try, so you can practice your very own take-off and landing skills.

By now it was getting late so we headed back to the MBNA Clipper terminal to catch one back to the London Eye and this time we sat in open air at the back to let the wind get in our hair as we whizzed back along the Thames.

MBNA Thames Clippers

MBNA Thames Clipper prices vary depending on your destination, however, we had a river roamer which allows you to get on and off as many times as you like throughout the day and the Family River Roamer ticket for two adults and three children costs just £32.60.

Disclaimer: We were guests of MBNA Thames Clippers for the day. All thoughts and opinions are our own.




30 thoughts on “Exploring London from the river with MBNA Thames Clippers #ThamesNippers

  1. London Mumma says:

    What a great family day out and a great way to explore London.

  2. kristal says:

    Your kids are so beautiful. I love london when I visited I had and great time and always an activity. Your kids look like they had a blast.

  3. Erica Price says:

    This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I think you get a different angle on a city from the water. Your pictures make it look great fun.

  4. Laura Nelson says:

    This looks like a fab way to explore London! And not too much walking involved 🙂

  5. Oh what a fab experience! We love Greenwich so much, we used to visit a wonderful tapas restaurant there in our child free days! Love the sound of the tours too- looks fun 🙂

  6. Amy Deverson says:

    Wow what a day out – and so different from the sight-seeing busses and other typical ways people explore London!

  7. Taslyn Russell says:

    This looks like so much fun I would love to do this with family.

  8. I love that it was so interactive and that you were able to get the kids involved. What a fun cruise x

  9. Dani says:

    This looks like so much fun!
    I’ve lived near London my whole life but I’ve actually never been on a boat on the Thames, adding it to the bucket list 🙂

    Dani x

  10. We went on a boat tour recently (not the clipper) although we did see it. Didn’t know about the overhead cable cars. they look amazing

  11. I would love to go on this boat tour! However, the weather in London can be quite unpredictable. What time of the year would you suggest visiting?

  12. This looks like such fun, I really need to visit London with my children as I know they would love it x

  13. Stephanie says:

    What a fun experience! The flight experience looks great fun for kids

  14. Looks like a great way to see all the sights: I can’t believe how much you managed to do!

  15. tots2travel says:

    We’re visiting London in November, and this all looks right up our street.

  16. Cathy Glynn says:

    This sounds like such a fabulous day, the kids looked like they were having so much fun x

  17. Ami says:

    Oh my gosh this looks like so much fun. Especially for the children! I haven’t been on any boats in London, will definitely look into it on my next trip though. It seems like a great way to explore.

    Ami xxx

  18. Talya says:

    Exploring London by water is so much fun to do – we went on the cable earlier in the year and it was awesome!

  19. Leta says:

    Wow, looks like a brilliant day out. Love the new Cutty Sark museum, so well done and impressive.

  20. Sonia says:

    I would be so terrified on the cable cars. I went on one for the first time last year and I hated it! I’d love to explore London from the river though that sounds awesome! Looks like you all had a fab time x

  21. Kirsty says:

    We done th London eye and a river cruise last year for our wedding anniversary. It’s such a good day out isn’t it. I wish it we had nice weather though as we couldn’t sit on the top deck.

  22. Sounds like a great day, I’ve been meaning to do a Thames cruise for a while and the clipper sounds great. I love the views from the Emirates line x

  23. Hannah says:

    Oh that looks like such a fun day out! I love London 🙂

  24. Sarah Majer says:

    It looks like you had such a fab day out! I live just of the River Thames and always forget that there’s sight seeing things to do right outside my door – I must look at what’s underneath me more! Looks like the kiddies had lots of fun! Sarah xx

  25. This is our favourite way to get into London. We park up at the O2 and boat into London and then back at the end of the day so we’ve the car for when the kids are tired.

  26. Deby says:

    Looks fab I love being on the river now London but have never been down via boat to the migrates skyline bit I shall put on my todo list with zack

  27. What a great way to explore London! I’ve never been on a boat across the thames, but it looks like so much fun 🙂

  28. Tori says:

    This looks like a fab day out – I love that your little ones got activity packs! It’s definitely something I’ll be looking into doing!

  29. I like that this goes much further along the Thames that some of the other riverboat cruises available. I went on my first riverboat cruise last year and really enjoyed it.

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