Review: Exploring the capital on an afternoon tea London river cruise

One of the very best ways to explore London, and to piece all of the sights together, is from the River Thames. From Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, all the way to Canary Wharf, a river cruise allows you to soak up all of London’s most iconic sights from the comfort of a relaxing cruise. There are a variety of different London river cruise options so always do your research, but City Cruises offer a fantastic and affordable programme of cruises, such as the 24-hour hop-on-hop-off sightseeing cruise as well as themed cruises including the afternoon tea and jazz dinner cruises.

I was recently invited to review an afternoon tea river cruise with City Cruises, which is set to be one of the most popular things to do in London for families during the upcoming Easter holidays. Read on for my full review.

Tower Bridge selfie of The Travelista
afternoon tea London river cruise

This blog post has been sponsored by City Cruises. All words and photos are my own.

Reviewing the afternoon tea London river cruise

I was greeted by friendly City Cruises staff who showed me on to the river cruise boat. The downstairs of the boat is where the afternoon tea takes place. It’s warm and indoors which is great to know considering the unpredictable British weather.

After setting off on the cruise, the attentive serving staff offered me a choice of tea or coffee (both of which are unlimited as part of the package). They also handed over a menu which had non-inclusive drink options such as wine, beers and champagne. Shortly after setting off, the afternoon tea was served in the classic 3-tier stand of sandwiches, scones and patisserie cakes. It was fresh, beautifully presented and tasted delicious. My favourite thing, as always with any afternoon tea, were the scones. Lashing of jam and clotted cream is a must!

afternoon tea London river cruise
Scones with jam and cream on an afternoon tea London river cruise

It was lovely to see lots of international families on the cruise, enjoying what was probably a highlight and very special experience of their trip to London. The cruise itself lasted 1 hour, during which time we passed by Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, The Tate Modern, the Millennium foot bridge, Tower Bridge, the HMS Belfast, The Tower of London, Canary Wharf and so much more. There was commentary throughout the cruise, pointing out all the main sites.

The City Cruises Afternoon Tea Cruise costs £52 per adult and £41 per child between ages 2 and 12. Under 2’s go free. Considering the average price for an afternoon tea in London, I think this experience provides good value for money as you are able to combine two experiences of a London river cruise and a London afternoon tea into one.

My top tips for a London river cruise

  • Be sure to try and arrive at the departure pier early to ensure you bag a table by the window for the best views.
  • Although the afternoon tea is the main event of the experience, I would definitely recommend heading up to the open top deck during your cruise to get the best photos and take in a 360 degree vista of London. Especially for when the boat passes under Tower Bridge. That is an iconic moment!
  • The afternoon tea river cruise is a family-friendly experience, however, if you are thinking of booking with children I think it would be best suited to the ages of 6 and up. Younger children may get a bit restless.
  • The afternoon tea city cruise departs from Tower Millennium pier. If you’re planning to visit other main attractions whilst in London, consider combining the afternoon tea city cruise with a trip to the Tower of London as it is right next to the pier.
  • If you’re going to be in London between 17th April to 8th May, City Cruises will be celebrating the Royal Coronation of King Charles III with decorated boats, Royal-themed deserts, activities for children and more.
Tower Bridge London from an afternoon tea London river cruise
City cruises London river cruise
City Cruises London hop on hop off

Whether you’re visiting London from overseas or live locally and want to try something new, this London afternoon tea experience is a unique and memorable experience. Thanks to City Cruises for inviting me along.

Read more Travelista London blog posts.
Read more Travelista Afternoon tea reviews

What did you think of this review and top tips for the city cruises afternoon tea experience? If you found this post helpful or have any questions, leave a comment below.

Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.

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