London is intimately connected to all things watery – indeed, the city owes its very existence to the River Thames. A boat trip to Greenwich from central London offers a unique view of the city.
En route you will pass spectacular waterfront developments, the imposing Tower of London, HMS Belfast (which saw service during World War II) and a beautiful full- scale reconstruction of the Golden Hinde – the Tudor galleon on which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe in 1577–80.
Greenwich itself is a veritable showcase of all things nautical, including the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark – a 19th-century tea clipper. Facing Greenwich across the river is the fascinating London Docklands area, once one of the most important ports in Europe, from where ships departed to all parts of the British Empire and beyond.
The great Victorian docks fell into sudden decline during the 1960s but a massive regeneration project transformed the area into a thriving business district, with the monumental Canary Wharf tower – the UK’s tallest building – at its heart. The absorbing Museum of London Docklands nearby traces the history of the docks from Roman times to the present.
Cutty Sark Greenwich (under restoration; due to reopen summer 2010);
The Golden Hinde Southwark;
HMS Belfast Southwark;
Museum of London Docklands West India Quay, Canary Wharf;
National Maritime Museum Greenwich;