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taking the ferry from Westminster pier to Tower bridge

I'm trying to understand the ferry systems along the Thames. What is the difference between the Uber boat and the Thames River sightseeing boat? Is there any other option? I am searching for a weekday ride (Friday) in the morning. I found nothing before around 9:00am. As for tickets, can we get them at the last minute through an app? Hoping to get good views of the sights along the way. We would get off at the Tower bridge, go to the Borough Market and then explore this area and walk back to the Westminster area (where we are staying). Any suggestions on the best way to do this?

Posted by
244 posts

The Uber boats are run by Uber for Transport for London and have a regular timetable going up and down the river between Putney tand Woolwich. The sightseeing boats are privately owned and run generally between Hampton Court Palace and the various docks in alondon. From which dock to which depends on the what the owner finds most worthwhile, and generally take longer. They also have a commentary, which the Uber boats don’t. Think Uber = commuter boat, Sightseeing boat = more irregular. They look completely diffent too

Posted by
4095 posts

Uber boats you pay by Oyster (not included in the daily cap).
Or just pay cash/use contactless at the machines at the pier. Or buy a daily pass at the TVM's.
No need to pre-book or be using fancy apps. The Thames Clippers are sponsored by Uber but don't work like Uber.
For Borough Market I would use London Bridge City pier. The early morning boats are aimed at commuters and so stop at Commuter piers.
The 10 boats before 9am call at all piers from Putney to Vauxhall, then fast to Embankment (first eastbound boat 0718) then piers to Canary Wharf, Greenwich and Barking Riverside through the Thames Barrier.
The first westbound passes Westminster non stop at about 0615 but the first stopper towards Putney is at 0721- also calls at the old Battersea Power Station and Chelsea.
However as tourists are still around in the evening peak there isn't the same evening westbound service gap at Westminter-last arrivl back at 2242
The Thames Clippers are fast- far faster than the tourist boats, fun and provide unrivalled views of the Thames sights.

Posted by
31542 posts

Not much will be going on at Borough Market at 9 in the morning. It isn't a traditional market which opens during the night and is shutting down by 8. It is now very much office workers / tourists starting at lunch and carrying on through dinner.

Posted by
183 posts

I don’t have the vast knowledge to impart as the posters above, but I will say we thoroughly enjoyed our Thames river cruise trip this summer from Westminster Pier to Tower Bridge Quay. We walked up to the post at about 10:00 am I believe and purchased tickets easily. I think it was a 10:30 ish departure. ~12 pounds. We took seats on top- highly recommend if you can- and had a delightful commentary/ tour guide tell us about all the sights. It was a lovely start to our final Saturday there!

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks all! We are early birds when we travel, as we like to tour without the crowds when possible. Seems like London 'wakes up' at 10:00. I know that the Borough Market opens at 10:00, but there is plenty to see in the general area to keep us busy. I assume it must be pretty packed at lunch time? If we are up early, perhaps we will walk up along the south side of the Thames to see the views, then 'float' home. Thanks!