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London to Royal Observtory via the Thames clippers

We would like to visit the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, instead of a bus I thought it might be fun to travel to the Observatory by boat. If you have used the Thames clipper, I would appreciate your input.

thank you

Posted by
1469 posts

I haven't used the Clipper but I did use a water taxi from the Tower to Greenwich. There are a few different water taxi companies. The Clipper goes for speed so you might get there before you leave. It's not that far. Once you get to Greenwich the Observatory is a hike up a hill. It is fun to stand on both sides of the World. The Royal Naval College is free to visit and has several exhibits including intricate ship models which we enjoyed.

Posted by
73 posts

Thank you for the information. My husband will be interested in the Observatory, as for myself, the Painted Hall mural.

Posted by
205 posts

The Clipper goes for speed so you might get there before you leave.

It's a boat, not a TARDIS.

Embankment to Greenwich takes 40 minutes. Plenty of room inside and a bit of room outside if not too cold. Don't expect a commentary, it's a commuter bus.

Posted by
8642 posts

We went by boat to the Observatory and returned by bus. It worked well for us. This was a must see sight for me because my Grandfather attended the Royal Hospital School there. So fun to be where he had been as a boy.

Posted by
1172 posts

We did it and it was fun to get to see London from the water. As a previous poster mentioned, wear very comfortable shoes as it is a steep hike up to the observatory. The Observatory was a let down for us but we got great pic standing East and West!

Posted by
16914 posts

I love the Thames clippers and ride them whenever I can. For Greenwich, we walked there on the Thames path and rode the boat back.

Posted by
6670 posts

I took the Thames clipper from Westminster to Greenwich last year and enjoyed it. Like others said, it's transit not a narrated tour, but that was fine. A good way to see sights and avoid traffic. I came back on the tube.

Posted by
11491 posts

We loved it. Took the cruise from Westminster on a clear, cold day in early March and the views of London were terrific. We followed Rick Steves' self-guided tour of Greenwich and returned by DLR, as I recall.

Posted by
73 posts

Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences taking a water taxi to The Royal Observatory. Looking forward to the experience. Next question I will post onto the forum will be on Scotland. London to Scotland by train, hoping we can stop in York before heading north.

Posted by
3821 posts

To add some details that no one else has mentioned.
Thames Clippers take the Oyster card. Very convenient.
Just "tap in" when you get on, just as you would getting onto the tube or bus.

Once you are in Greenwich, you won't want to miss the National Maritime Museum which is free.
We enjoyed this very much when we were there last spring.

They have on display Nelson's coat he was wearing when he was shot during the battle of Trafalgar, dying aboard HMS Victory.

They have great paintings of naval battles and ships, and many other interesting items.
Their cafe is very good. I had a Coronation Chicken sandwich, which I had not had before.

The walk up the hill to the Observatory is quite a hike, as others have said.
There is a road on the right side of the hill which is not as steep to get up there.
Ask how to find this as you're getting off the Thames Clipper.

Walk straight up from the ship Cutty Sark, then up King William Walk, then up The Avenue. This will bring you
up a street through the park, and up to the back of the Royal Observatory, thus avoiding the killer walk up the
hill's path that most people take to the front of the Observatory.

Posted by
288 posts

Did a standard tour boat to Greenwich from tower bridge about 30 minutes, was part of the London Pass if you get one so did not cost extra. Just came back last week and we did the train from London to Edinburgh and spent a night in York on the way back if you need info LMK.

Posted by
1 posts

one thing you might want to know if you're catching the Thames Clipper as a sightseeing boat -- they have very few outside seats. they only have two rows at the very back of the boat which means you can only look out the sides or the twist around to look out the back. if you want to see out the front they you have no choice but to sit inside.
that, together with the fact they don't provide any commentary, means i wouldnt recommend them for sightseeing trips (it's difficult to take good photos if you're sitting inside)

personally i would go for TRS ( instead. Most people choose City Cruises (, but that's the boat they include with the London Pass (a tourist discount card - so it's always packed with people. If you choose TRS then you're more likely to get the perfect seat.