Last Saturday, 12th October we boarded the last sea going paddle steamer in the world at Tower Pier to go to Southend Pier. Although a wee bit chilly it was a great trip. First the excitement of seeing Tower Bridge open to allow this beautiful boat to steam through and to wave at the crowds on the bridge and then the fascinating trip down theThames. The boat passed the great historic areas of London with great views of Greenwich and the Cutty Sark, then on to the newer views like the O2 arena, Thames Barrier, Canary Wharf and on to the Dartford River Bridge. After the Bridge the Thames changes and you see the real working Thames with the container and oil depots and the larger ships making you realise that the Thames and estuary still has a major commercial purpose. The boat itself is wonderful and you are able to see the engine room and the wonderful poetry in motion engines as you steam along. The boat was very clean and the toilets excellent. as well as the bars and restaurant. Dining room was a little crowded and cramped and we chose to just have coffee and a sandwich and did the whole journey up on the upper deck. The boat docked at Gravesend and Southend and we chose to get off at Southend and walk down the mile long pier and go home by train. We could have got back on the boat and gone back to London in the dusk/dark but Southend was convenient for us to get home. This was a good trip and although cold it stayed dry. If it had been wet then it could have been a little crowded under cover. The staff on the boat were real enthusiasts and very friendly and the on going live commentary was excellent. All in all a great trip and experience.