London

The Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster) on the River Thames

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Overview

London is a world-class cruise destination that is served by the Port of London Authority.  When arriving or departing on a cruise ship, the River Thames is part of the journey. The river serves as heartbeat to Europe’s largest city.

London, the capital of England and the UK is located in the southeast of England. Cruisers will discover a vibrant city offering access to a city rich in heritage, full of history, and one that can proudly claim ownership of four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Westminster Palace and Abbey, Tower of London, Maritime Greenwich and Kew Gardens. In addition to housing over 7 million inhabitants, London also has plenty of open space, which accounts for 30% of the area.

London boasts 143 registered parks and gardens

London For Cruise Passengers

The Port of London welcomes cruise ships at one of the following locations: London Central Cruise Moorings (near Tower Bridge), Greenwich Ship Tier, or London Cruise Terminal at the Port of Tilbury (22 nautical miles down river from Tower Bridge). To verify your location check the Cruise Ship Diary.

There are many ways to spend time in London. The top draws are the museums, theaters, restaurants, and numerous attractions like the world’s most visited modern art gallery, the Tate Modern.

The majority of visitors to London spend their time in and around Central London’s West End. Known for great shopping, theater, and trendy restaurants, the West End is home to Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross Road’s bookshops, Covent Garden, Soho, Regent and Oxford Streets, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Carnaby Street.

Also in Central London is The City, the oldest section of London where the remains of a Roman stronghold can be seen. Look closely because the spot where London began, the original “square mile,” is in a busy area servicing the business and financial district. Not far from here is the Tower of London on the banks of the Thames River.

The Tower of London with Tower Bridge in the background

London’s major museums, such as the Victoria & Albert, are in South Kensington. London boasts many beautiful parks. For recreation and pastoral settings, Hyde Park and Serpentine Lake are perfect, but Kew Gardens in southwest London features an enormous collection of plants, landscaped panoramas and charming greenhouses.

For history hounds, Buckingham Palace, the royal residence, delivers a glimpse of aristocratic life. Plus, venerable Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral serve as time-tested counterpoints to newer sights like the London Eye and the Millennium Dome.

Getting around London is easy, as there are many modes of transportation. The iconic red double-decker bus is popular with tourists, as well as the London Underground, which is clean, safe and handy with 270 tube stations on 11 lines. For those inclined, taxis are plentiful during non-peak hours.

Do Not Miss

  • It’s hard to miss Tower Bridge, one of England’s most famous landmarks when arriving by ship to London. Tower Bridge was completed and opened in 1894. Visitors to Tower Bridge can enjoy wonderful views of the River Thames from the walkway between the  bridge towers.
Tower Bridge
  • Also close to where passengers are able to begin their exploration of London is the Tower of London. The Tower of London is part of The Historic Royal Palaces, which also includes Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace museums.
  • If you are arriving to London from Greenwich Ship Tier Moorings, you will be right next to the National Maritime Museum .
  • The world-famous British Museum exhibits include the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and the mummies in the Ancient Egypt collection.
  • The National Gallery houses the national collection of Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries.
  • Natural History Museum has a collection of the biggest, tallest and rarest animals in the world. See a life-sized Blue Whale, a 40-million-year-old spider and the amazing new Darwin Centre.
A reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe
  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – Founded by the pioneering American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, Shakespeare’s Globe is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare’s work and the playhouse for which he wrote.
There are 32 capsules on The London Eye, also called the Millennium Wheel
  • The London Eye –  is a major feature of London’s skyline. It is the world’s highest observation wheel, with 32 capsules, each weighing 10 tons and holding up to 25 people.
  • The Tate Modern – is Britain’s national gallery of international modern art.  The Tate Modern is based in the former Bankside Power Station, in the Bankside area of Central London.

Shore Excursions

Because attractions in London are easy to access, some cruisers may choose to “go it alone” and visit the sites on their own. Others may choose from a creative collection of shore excursions offered by the cruise lines. Examples include:

  • Tours the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace when the Royal Family is away on summer holiday.
  • For those wanting to see castles, a trip to  900 year old Windsor Castle can be arranged for cruisers wanting to learn about the castle, State Apartments & St. George’s Chapel.
  • Some cruise lines offer behind-the scenes tours of the Tower of London. On these shore excursions, cruisers will see the Chapel Royal and the Jewel House.
  • As a convenience to cruisers, some cruise lines will offer transportation and tickets to shows in the West End theater district.
  • Cruise lines provide opportunities to get out of town and into the surrounding areas to discover Britain’s countryside. Tours of Canterbury, Dover, Leeds, Rye, or Kent are popular.

Getting Further

London is an exciting city and the perfect remedy for a trip in the city is a relaxing visit to the stunning countryside and beautiful coastlines of England and Britain. There’s a destination to suit everyone in Britain.

Avid Cruiser Posts, Photographs and Videos Featuring London.