Thames Rib Experience

896 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

November, 2021

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Reasons for trip

I was choosing an experience on the River Thames for a birthday present and on doing my research prior to booking, there appeared to be several companies offering similar experiences including “Thames Rib Experience”:, “Thames Rockets”: and “Thames Tigers”: .

Despite claims to be the ‘fastest’ or ‘number one’, I suspect they are all of a muchness, and so it’s probably more about finding the style and length of trip to suit you. I booked five of us on the “Ultimate Tower Rib Blast”: which offered a 40-minute trip from Tower Millennium Pier down to the Thames Flood Barrier, with minimal commentary.

Having selected a Sunday morning in November, I’d constantly been checking the forecast in the lead up, but although a few spots of rain threatened whilst we were waiting for the RIB, it held off. And although it was a slightly ‘grey day’ there was a glimmer of sunshine on the way back.

We were advised to arrive 15-minutes before our departure time so that we could get togged up in lifejackets which had to be worn over the top of any cross-body bags. Because of Covid there are no lockers available, and you’re advised to take only small bags onboard. We were offered plastic ponchos, which also had to be worn under the lifejacket, and even if it’s not raining, I’d strongly advise them as protection against the buffeting wind. The young lady overseeing all of preparations was extremely professional and helpful and was happy to take group photos.

The RIB takes a maximum of 12 with the seats in pairs, and although we were sat at the back, they are slightly on a rake as in the theatre, so it’s not a problem.

We set off slowly, going under Tower Bridge where after a ‘fun’ safety briefing about not standing up, or pulling the red toggle, and posing for photos which could be bought on return, the skipper gave a quick overview of Tower Bridge and a story I’d heard on a previous “Tower Bridge Experience”:, about a bus jumping the bridge.

Having passed under the bridge, the throttle opened, and we were off, disco music blaring above the noise of the engine. It was truly exhilarating but at all times we felt totally safe as we sped past lots of famous landmarks. At the O2 we went slowly again, so we could take in the views.

All vessels have to be cleared to go through the Thames Flood Barrier which gave the skipper chance for another explanation about the background to the barrier and how it works. As we went through, we could see one of the barriers raised.

Whilst there are longer trips, 40 minutes was plenty, especially in November. As the throttle eased once again as we returned to Tower Bridge, the skipper played Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday for the birthday girl. It was certainly a memorable experience and one that will appeal to all age groups (there were children aged around 5 to 10 on our RIB).

Helen Jackson

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