Do you think of the Thames as a highway through London? Cutting a slightly wobbly line through the capital, boats going up, boats going down? Sometimes they carry the odd celeb like David Beckham, and sometimes they grab the nation’s attention in a different way as they take centre-stage in bizarre political stand-offs (See last week’s watery shenanigans between Bob Geldof – voting remain – and Nigel Farage, sailing away from Europe and towards ‘Leave’ and ‘Brexit’). The rest of the time though, as far as you are aware – what goes on on the twisty meandering highway? Barges chug….speedboats and RIBs whizz….Thames Clippers glide Londoners to and from their offices…and a huge flotilla of pleasure boats, cruisers, and party boats give hundreds of thousands of people fantastic, memorable, different, and inspiring experiences in a city many of them thought they knew – but who have then discovered something delightful and yes, magical.
“HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ON THE THAMES!!”
That’s right. 100’s of thousands of people. So that’s….er….many times the population of Liechtenstein over and over.* And they are smiling! And laughing! And having a good time! And drinking cold beers, and eating superb cuisine, and having BBQs as they pass under London Bridge, and dancing, and watching magic tricks, and sampling fine wines with experts, and dancing to first-class DJ sets, and bonding with colleagues, and going to world class gigs, and having networking breakfasts, and shooting guns. What!? Shooting? Guns?! Yes, that too. Read on..
So let us explain…
From early morning to late at night, London’s companies and also private individuals host guests on board London’s charter boat fleets. We are privileged to own and operate three of the best Thames charter boats in London, and the variety of events we run might surprise. Here’s a general breakdown of the types of events we run on the Thames.
Events on the Thames 1: Corporate and staff entertaining on a boat
There’s nothing more refreshing for both event organisers and guests than getting out of the office and into an environment that is as different as possible. That is one big reason why a cruise on the Thames with colleagues, suppliers or customers is great: The River Thames is a really different environment. There is no other natural environment in London that offers such a ‘step-away’ and different feeling from the hurly-burly and crowded urban-ism of central London. Of course, it is right on the doorstep for millions of people too. Once you are on the water, sounds change, the quality of light and air changes, and people are on a different firmament; the River Thames unsettles in a very good way.
Find out about our corporate boat hire packages.
So, it’s a great natural environment that has a special effect – what next?
It is a great thing in itself to cruise smoothly up and down the Thames being hosted with delicious food and drinks. For one thing, the scenery changes. Constantly. Be it The London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London or any one of a score more of world-famous sights, you will more than likely have a grand-stand view of all of them in even a short Thames cruise. The fact that you can gaze at these wonders of London unhurriedly, not being jostled by rushing commuters or tourists, with a glass of wine in hand, being supplied with delicious canapes or bowl-food. It’s a great thing! You will feel special and lucky.
About the food. We take special care over our catering, constantly reviewing menus and catering options, and always ensuring quality is tip-top, whilst still offering value. Take a look at some of our menus. The BBQs are perennially popular (great sizzling away on the open deck of the William B), canapes and bowl food options are brilliant too for mingling and a touch of sophistication; the seated dinners allow for relaxed dining and come into their own for our Christmas cruises particularly.
In short, the simple things of good food and drink, plus amazing views of one of the world’s great cities on your own exclusively chartered Thames boat, delivers a world-beating event for company staff or customers.
Events on the Thames 2: Corporate Team building on the river.
Clay Pigeon Shooting Cruises
Many companies take advantage of the special environment the Thames offers and take it one step further. I want to here just on our most popular team-building event: Clay Pigeon Shooting on the Thames. (It’s run a close second by our wine-tasting cruises by the way).
We invented this as it happens!
This is how it works: For a minimum of 4 hours, you will be on board our most popular Thames cruiser, William B, and we will take you down beyond the Thames Barrier to our cleared shooting area near Deptford Creek for the shooting event, before bringing you back (with a bar that opens after the last shot has fired!) into central London, buzzing with the experience you’ve just had.
The shooting itself is for everyone, those who have tried clay shooting before as well as absolute beginners who have never held a real gun, and possibly never even seen one. And in case you were still wondering, yes these are real guns! Our shooting master John has spent a lifetime handling guns and coaching novice shooters to have fun safely and enjoy an experience that many never get the chance to try. John’s style is fun, irreverent and entertaining, but every lesson he and his shooting assistants deliver is also given with safety as a paramount concern. Everyone can shoot and the first stage is letting everyone have a go – the ‘training’ phase. Holding a gun, hoisting it to your shoulder, pulling the trigger, these are all strange things to do the first time. But before you know it you’ll be firmly set and confident, ready to enter the competition, always with a shooting assistant beside you to help out and offer advice.
Always tailored dependent on the group size as well as the duration of the event, the competition is for fun. That doesn’t mean it’s not competitive though! With an engraved trophy for the ultimate winner, it is the culmination of the shooting event. Following this, the bar opens if that’s what the client wants, and drinks can accompany the chatter about a great and unique event as you cruise gently back into central London towards your final pier for disembarkation.
Clay Shooting cruise options
As mentioned, the minimum time for a cruise is about four hours going from and to the highly accessible North Greenwich Pier at the O2 (Jubilee Line, less than 10 mins from London Bridge), as this allows enough time with the right tide to get to the shooting site and back, plus time for the shooting itself. We run many as full-day (c. 6 or 7hr) events though also, with the itinerary looking something like this:
- Set off in the morning with a late breakfast – perhaps fresh egg and bacon rolls with fresh coffee and juices – from the central London pier of your choice, towards the cruise site.
- Late morning the shooting session begins
- Shooting over, the awards ceremony is delivered with great panache by John and his team!
- The bar opens and lunch is served as you begin your cruise back to London
- Disembark exhilarated and well-fed and watered at your chosen London pier.
This event can be run as a half-day (c.4 hours from-to North Greenwich Pier) or full day event (c.6-7 hrs hours from-to Central London) and there is flexibility and options with timings that we can work out for you dependent on the time of year. All shooting must take place in daylight.
We are very proud to run Clay Pigeon Shooting Cruises in London, and we are rewarded every time by thrilled clients. Contact us today to be one of the lucky ones to get a chance to do this remarkable event.
Events on the Thames 3: Birthday parties, wedding receptions and anniversary parties on a boat
Not all the fun is for the business people! Almost half of all our cruises are run for private family events and celebrations with friends. Birthday parties on a boat are getting more and more popular, in part because of the affordability compared to venue hire in other land-based venues, and partly because it is like nothing else. Anything we can do for our corporate clients, we can do for our equally valued private customers, including the Clay Shoot events and Wine Tasting. In fact, our clay-shooting for Stag Parties are extremely popular events!
The Tideway is one of our most popular river boats for private hire when it comes to birthdays, and other private parties and celebrations. She is a good size but still affordable and suitable for smaller groups. When it comes to wedding receptions or larger seated dinner cruises, the William B is our most popular.
So there we have it – the Thames is abuzz with a hidden world of amazing events and experiences on fantastic value river boats! We are honoured to be a big part of that and hope we can help you – whoever you are – to hold one of your future events or celebrations on the majestic River Thames one day. See our Instant Quote Calculator here or drop us a line to start things off.