3 great ways to experience the Thames by night (plus one great competition!)


Travelling the Thames after-dark is truly something special. Relax with a drink, enjoy a meal, listen to some live music, and watch the colourful lights of the banks pass by. Few cities can rival London’s riverside sights, or the effort gone into making them look even more stunning after the sun goes down.

Throughout 2014 City Cruises is offering nocturnal river-goers a choice of three great “Rivernights” cruises covering a range of ticket prices and experiences. There are some new schedules and, on selected cruises until March, up to 30% discount.

We’re here to help you find the one that’s right for you and, on top of that, offer you the chance to win two tickets on “the coolest cruise on the Thames” – Thames Jazz. All you have to do to enter the competition is answer the simple question at the bottom of this article.

Before we dive into what makes each cruise different, there’s one thing they all have in common: great views of London at dusk. Whether sheltering below- or luxuriating above-deck, you’ll be able to soak up the atmosphere with some stunning panoramic views of the illuminated capital.

So, let’s start from the top…

London Showboat

If you like: fancy dining, dancing, show tunes, freedom of dates, the most premium experience…

Showboat 16

The London Showboat is a  prominent part of Thames life and is the quintessential river dining experience. If you’re looking for a sophisticated and memorable evening out – maybe even for a very special occasion, the London Showboat is City Cruises’ most prestigious cruise.

Guests receive a complimentary glass of fizz upon boarding, before embarking on a 3.5 hour cruise from Westminster and back, with delicious four-course meal, free half bottle of wine per guest, and a live performer.

Currently, the set menu promises oak smoked Scottish salmon, king prawns with capers, lemon and dill dressing; butternut squash, cumin and coriander soup; thyme, rosemary and lemon roasted supreme of chicken with creamy leek and tarragon mushroom sauce; and warm, dark chocolate fondant with berry compote and vanilla sauce for desserts. Vegetarian options are also available.

Showboat 11

From April London Showboat will be operating 7 days a week, making it the easiest evening cruise to fit into anybody’s schedule and you’re more likely to be able to book the evening you want.

London Showboat costs £78 per person, which includes a glass of fizz on boarding, four course meal, half bottle of wine per guest, and live entertainment. London Showboat departs from Westminster Pier at 7.30pm and returns at 11pm.

Book on select days in February and March and save 30% (click here for discounted dates).

Thames Jazz

If you like: live music (especially mainstream swing and jazz), fine food, relaxed atmosphere…


The 2014 schedule for Thames Jazz has been released and the only jazz and dining cruise on the Thames is now bopping down the river once a month, every month, on selected Thursdays throughout the year from 8pm (see all dates here)

Thames Jazz is for anyone who wants to enjoy live music but no longer feel comfortable cramming into a tiny box-of-a-room filled with sweaty people and over-loud amps. It’s for people who wish they could find a good pub on a good night when a (preferably, good) band is playing, but rarely do.

Live music is performed by the talented quintet ChiJazz; jazz fans will love the covers that include tunes from Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis. On top of the great music there’s a delicious three course meal, a welcome glass of sparkling wine and a cash bar open for the duration of the 3-hour cruise.

Thames Jazz costs £49 per person, which will get you a welcome glass of sparkling wine, a 3-course dinner with vegetarian options, a 3 hour river cruise and performance from a live jazz quintet. Thames Jazz departs from Westminster Pier at 8pm and returns at 11pm.

You and a partner could experience Thames Jazz for free if you enter our competition. See the bottom of this article for details. 


If you like: socialising with friends, weekend drinks, alternative environments


At only £22 per person, not including the special 30% discount on selected days in February and March, Riverlights is the ultimate choice for people who want to experience an alternative view of London at night, but aren’t looking for a sit-down meal or anything too indulgent.

If you want to start your weekend in a setting somewhat more memorable than your mate’s kitchen, Riverlights is for you. Board at 6.30pm for a 2 hour round cruise at Westminster Pier and, if you’re up for it, return before 9pm ready to continue your evening in one of the many bars and clubs in Central London.

Whatever the weather, we really recommend you grab a cocktail or pint and brave the open deck (even if only for a short while) for the best experience. You’ll feel like you’re a million miles away from the familiar city streets and crowded pubs.

Riverlights costs £22 per person and includes a 2 hour cruise, complimentary glass of bubbles, canapés, and live performer. Departs 6.30pm from Westminster.

Book on select days in February and March and save 30% (click here for discounted dates).

Enter our competition

Win two tickets on a Thames Jazz cruise. Enter by correctly answering the following question using the form provided.

How many members of Thames Jazz's live band ChiJazz are there?
 6 5 4

Your Name (required):

Your Email (required):

The winner will be selected at random from the correct entries. Good luck!


  • Anne Alexis

    City Cruises this prize s fab!!!

  • Karen from Essex

    I’ve already been on your showboat cruise and it was fantastic. I hope I win the jazz cruise as I know my fab hubby would love this. Thanks again and carry on cruising!