Last week we ran one of our free trips on the river for clients and friends of Thames Leisure and one of our lovely guests, Ruth Chapman of sponsorship consultancy Sponsor Monster, wrote this lovely article about us and sent it in. We are very pleased you enjoyed the cruise Ruth and thanks for being so complimentary and eloquent about us (you can tell she’s a professional copywriter!). Ruth didn’t know this but we’d also like to thank Honey & Thyme for those delicious canapés that everyone raved about!
“Last night I found a quiet spot in the heart of London with a view that I’m sure most Londoners will never have seen: Underneath Tower Bridge.
I was invited to join the Thames Leisure team for a cruise along London’s historic Thames, an evening of cocktails, canapés and chit chat. I can happily say it surpassed my expectations, showing me the best of the capital city and introducing me to a potentially perfect venue for a Christmas party.
Our cruise was aboard the William B, departing at Tower Pier just as the last light of the day disappeared. Sarah, the Operations Director, welcomed me into a teak paneled entrance hall with coat hooks and polished brass rails. It felt luxurious. Stairs led down to a large open plan bar with space for tables, dancing, bands… it could easily be reconfigured depending on the occasion. As you would imagine, both sides of the room were lined with large windows that framed the passing view. It was glorious and glamourous and before I had even reached the last step I was imagining jazz bands, themed parties and cocktails!
Thames Leisure had beaten me to it on the last one. A selection of delicious looking chocolate orange martinis and apple and cinnamon mojitos lined the welcome table, along with another more formidable sounding number – the “dark and stormy”. Hopefully not a precursor to our Autumn trip on the river?! We were even invited to make our own cocktails in a “taste test” challenge. I went up against Julie Anderson from RAP interiors with a traditional mojito. I definitely do not have the “flair” for cocktails – half of mine ended up on the floor, a muddle whilst muddling! That said we came joint first (or joint last, depending on how you want to look at it) and had a lot of fun and with a little guidance from the masters we both left with something pretty tasty! Cocktail Stars were our brilliant hosts in that corner and Ian and Ben were great cocktail maestros.
With drinks you always need nibbles and Thames Leisure served up a selection of delicious canapés – potato rostis topped with a swirl of smoked salmon, Parmesan stars with goats cheese and pink peppercorns, Filo Cups with cranberry, creamed parsnip and wild mushroom and miniature pies, and they were regularly circulated. There were even dessert canapés, a delectable chocolate, chestnut and brandy roulade that melted in the mouth.
The William B was remarkably smooth and I was having such a lovely time downstairs that when it was suggested that we go up on deck I had almost forgotten we were on a river cruise! It was chilly outside, to be expected in October, but very clear and the sights were astounding, certainly more than enough to keep me outside and wish I’d gone on deck sooner. London is a different place when viewed from the river – without the noise of cars and the chaos of people racing through the streets, it seems calm and peaceful.
There is no doubt that the Thames is the lifeblood of London, and most of the familiar landmarks follow the path of the river. We glided past a green glowing London Eye, a majestic Shard, Festival Hall, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Cleverly lit buildings twinkled pink, white, red and green in the jagged sky line of modern glass, all of which is juxtaposed against the Tower of London’s medieval thick stone walls, centuries old, and the intricate architecture of Somerset House, not that much younger in the grand scheme of things. It was simply stunning and completely unique.
As we approached Tower Bridge from the river we got a true sense of the splendour of this most iconic bridge. The William B did a full 360 so that we could enjoy staring up at the enormous expanse above us. Thames Leisure can arrange for the bridge to open as your boat sails through, which I imagine would be both fascinating and awe-inspiring. The mechanics of a bridge built in 1894, the thrill of knowing that you are stopping the traffic, the idea that you are providing a Kodak moment for all the sightseers on shore… I like it!
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip on the river and would recommend Thames Leisure. The staff were friendly and professional, the cocktails and catering were fantastic and their boat, the William B, would make an ideal and impressive venue for parties.”