Horrible Histories – Terrible Thames Tour

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HORRIBLE HISTORIES – TERRIBLE THAMES TOUR (London) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Terrible Thames

Horrible Histories: Terrible Thames River Cruise Dates and Times

Horrible histories: terrible thames river cruise.

There are no dates currently available.

More Information about Horrible Histories: Terrible Thames River Cruise

For further information on the tour please see www.terriblethames.com . Please contact our customer service team for any enquires regarding your advance booking

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Horrible Histories: Terrible Thames

  • Theatre, Children's

Horrible Histories: Terrible Thames

Time Out says

It’s a Horrible Histories river cruise!

The stage versions of Terry’s Deary’s enormously successful ‘Horrible Histories’ franchise – that’s history for kids with a heavy emphasis on the naughty bits – are now so successful in and of themselves that they’re starting to wrack up a ‘Fast & Furious’-volume of sequels – summer 2021 will see the West End debut of the lengthily-titled ‘Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain: Part Five’.

Not content with that, they’re now taking to the high seas (well, river) with ‘Terrible Thames’. It’s an enjoyable hour-long clipper tour that forgoes humdrum observations on London’s great waterway and instead focussed on the darker stuff.

To do so, there’s a dramatic device. Billie, a schoolchild, has earned a special trip on the Thames with her teacher, and the two of them spend the trip engaged in a duelling dialogue of facts, putting the awkwardly blokey teacher’s more conventional wisdom against Billie’s knowledge of the darker stories or the Thames, as handed down to her by her family.

It’s not exactly ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’, and if I were being particularly annoying I might point out that they become fairly interchangeable after a while, with each of them being well-informed or pig-ignorant on whatever we happen to be sailing past on a strictly alternating basis.

Nonetheless: it’s fun! Written by Deary and the show’s director, Neal Foster, the facts are understandably quick-fire, given you can’t, for instance, explain the background to the 1014 Viking incursion into London that (possibly) resulted in London Bridge being torn down in the time it takes to sail under London Bridge (about ten seconds). Instead a zippy, agreeable barrage of statistics and facts tumble out entertainingly, giving a sense of the vast weight of history of London in a way that’s intriguing rather than crushing. 

London-dwelling adults with a reasonable grasp of the history of the county and capital will probably find it more diverting than revelatory. But I think it would be great for grown-up tourists with a good grasp of English but only a few basic facts about our history. 

Of course, the real target is kids. Mine are maybe both a little younger (six and three) than the quintessential Horrible Histories fan: the little one didn’t really know what was going on, and the big one was somewhat aghast at the sheer volume of executions the tour describes. But they both enjoyed themselves, and loved the fart jokes and the singing, especially the rousing ‘What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor?’ that wraps up proceedings.

‘Horrible Histories’ may be increasingly ubiquitous. But its inaugural boat trip still feels like a spirited alternative to more po-faced London tourism - may it sail on and on.

Sailing times vary slightly, but usually six per day between 11.45am and 16.45pm.

Andrzej Lukowski

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Terrible Thames

I have a question and need to speak to customer service

In the first instance please visit our support centre where we have answered some of the most popular questions –

https://supportcentre.seetickets.com/?Website=terrible_thames 

If that doesn’t answer your query please contact your ticketing provider.

What measures are in place for COVID 19 protection?

We have enhanced cleaning measures in place particularly where high touch point areas are concerned.

We have hand sanitiser available on both decks aboard the vessel.

Should you have symptoms of Covid-19 as per government guidance, please do not travel.

Rest assured, we will be closely following current government guidance at all times.

Will I be dropped off where I boarded?

The tour is a round-trip and you will disembark at Tower Bridge Quay where you joined the trip.

How long is the boat trip?

The boat trip will last 45 minutes.

Are the boats heated/air conditioned?

Our boat has heating within the interior lower deck. It does not have air conditioning as the vessel is not a new build but we have plenty of windows for fresh air.

What if it is raining on the day of our trip?

Our top deck will always be open to customers to enjoy the amazing sights of London. However in the event of rain the performers will carry out the performance on the lower interior deck, which is fully enclosed with windows so you can also enjoy the sights of London on the Terrible Thames Tour.

Are your services wheelchair accessible?

As the Terrible Thames boat is not a new build we cannot offer step free access at present. A wheelchair lift and accessible bathroom facilities are in discussion to be installed. Please view our detailed accessibility information document HERE

Does the boat have an open deck area?

Our boat has two decks. The upper deck is fully open-air with wonderful views. The lower interior deck is fully enclosed with windows to enjoy the sights on the Terrible Thames Tour.

What if I miss my tour due to transport issues?

Travelling in London can often be impacted by engineering works, strikes and other incidents on public transport that are out of our control.

Please allow as much time as possible to get to your booked tour time so you are not disappointed.

Are there toilets on board?

Gender neutral toilet facilities are available on the lower deck of the vessel.

Is there a cloakroom on board?

We do not have cloakroom facilities for the Terrible Thames cruise. There is an allocated space to store items such as prams/pushchairs and scooters on the lower deck only. These items are not permitted on the upper deck.

Which pier does the Terrible Thames Tour sail from?

Our scheduled Terrible Thames cruise operates from Tower Bridge Quay (formerly St Katharine Pier) on the north bank of the Thames, east of Tower Bridge (in front of the Tower Hotel. Postcode – E1W 1LD. The pier is approximately 10 minutes walk from Tower Hill Underground Station.

Is there shelter on the pier?

There is no covered shelter on Tower Bridge Quay so please ensure you have appropriate attire to deal with the sometimes unpredictable English weather!

Will I get to see Horrible Histories characters onboard?

The tour is conducted by two actors, but unlike the Horrible Histories stage shows, they do not change into historical characters when telling the stories.

Will the characters be in costume?

You will be meeting two characters on board the boat but unlike the Horrible Histories stage shows, the fast speed of the journey through constantly changing historical periods means the characters do not change into historical costumes

How long in advance should I arrive at the pier?

We have a limited embark and disembark period for each Terrible Thames cruise. You should arrive in good time in order to board the vessel promptly at the time on your ticket. If you are buying tickets on the day, please allow some extra time to purchase.

Is food and drink available to purchase?

We are working on exciting plans to introduce food and drink, so watch this space, but until then you are able to bring your own snacks and drinks onboard.

Where can I park nearby?

The closest car parks near Tower Bridge Quay are City Quay Car Park, E1W 1AE or London Thomas More Square, E1W 1YU. Online booking in advance is recommended. Just Park also has available spaces online in the immediate area of the pier which can be pre-booked online for your desired date.

Is there an age restriction?

All ages are welcome, but children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult on board. Children aged 0-3 go free, if seated on the lap of a parent or guardian. However, please note the tour is best suited for children aged 5 and above.

How long are the queues to board on the day?

We cannot predict passenger numbers for each cruise and length of queues will vary according to how busy each cruise is. However, boarding is swift and our host will be on site to assist whilst you are waiting to board the boat.

Do you check bags?

For security purposes we may from time to time undertake random bag searches or checks. This is done for the security of our passengers, crew and performers.

Are bikes allowed on-board?

We don’t allow bikes on board, although kids’ scooters are permitted and can be stored on the lower deck.

How long is the cruise?

45 enthralling minutes!

I want to bring my dog on board with me - is this possible?

Assistance Dogs are allowed on all Terrible Thames cruises at the Captain’s discretion. We ask you to contact the reservations team to book your ticket in advance. Please see our accessibility statement for more information and inform [email protected]

I lost something on board? Who shall I contact?

If you think you have lost an item of property aboard the vessel, you should notify us via our social media channels. Please provide full descriptive details of your item, details of when and where it was lost, and full contact information so that we can get back in touch. Terrible Thames cannot accept responsibility for any items that may have been lost on board.

Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions are subject to the provider you have booked your ticket with. If your ticket was purchased via our official website, terms and conditions can be found at the bottom of your ticket PDF or full terms can be found on the See Tickets website at seetickets.com/Content/Terms-and-conditions.

Postergramme Giveaway – T&Cs

Terrible Thames – Postergramme Giveaway

The ‘Promoter’ is: Birmingham Stage Company (London) Ltd (company no. 7889272) whose place of business and Registered Office is 228 The Linen Hall, 162-168 Regent Street, London W1B 5TB.

To enter, entrants must post a photo of Terrible Thames – tagging @TerribleThames on Instagram or Twitter.

The Promoter reserves the right to share photos submitted. Please do not enter if you do not wish the Promotor to share your photo.

One winner will be chosen at random by the Promoter each calendar month from April – October 2023.

Prize is for 4 tickets to see any Horrible Histories show by Birmingham Stage Company in the United Kingdom until end of 2024.

The prize is as stated, and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. Travel and accommodation are not included.

The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and the Promoter reserves the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice. The decision of the Promoter in respect of all matters to do with the giveaway will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Can I buy my tickets online?

Yes, you can purchase all our ticket types on the Terrible Thames Website www.terriblethames.com

Do you accept all methods of payment?

You can pay online using VISA or MASTERCARD.

Unfortunately, we don’t accept AMERICAN EXPRESS.

What is your refund and exchange policy?

Unfortunately we cannot offer refunds or exchanges, if you’d like to cover yourself for any eventualities you can purchase ticket insurance from SEE Tickets.

Can I buy tickets on the day? Do I need to book tickets in advance?

We recommend tickets are bought in advance as ticket availability on the day is not guaranteed. However, it is not compulsory to book Terrible Thames Tour in advance. These can be purchased at our dedicated pier Tower Bridge Quay (Next to Tower Bridge) on the day of travel. We request all groups 10+ are booked in advance with the reservations department prior to travel.

Are there any fees on top of the ticket prices?

We do not charge booking fees but there is a £1.50 transaction fee that SEE Tickets apply per booking

Do you have a discount for NHS staff?

We are delighted to offer NHS staff 10% discount on tickets for all tour excluding 23 rd July – 1 st September 2022.

Please use promocode NHS10 when booking.

Can I pay cash on the day?

We are currently not accepting cash bookings on the day, but you can purchase tickets at Tower Bridge Quay on the day using a debit/credit card.

Are you able to accommodate large groups?

We are able to accommodate public groups up to 120 on our boat. We ask that you book groups over 10+ directly with the customers services team at [email protected]

Can I change the date and time of my booking?

Please ensure that all information is correct at the point of purchase as tickets may not always be able to be changed. For assistance, please email [email protected]

Do I have to print out my ticket?

Passengers have to bring their printed ticket to board the cruise or show their ticket on a mobile device.

How do I get the tickets I booked online?

You will receive a confirmation email with a printable e-ticket attached as a PDF. Additionally, please write down your booking reference number. If you don’t receive the email or have a query about your booking, please contact your point of purchase.

Is it possible to claim a refund?

Tickets are non-refundable after purchase. If you have an extreme circumstance beyond your control, please email our customer service team at [email protected] Please check your refund policy of the company you purchased from.

horrible histories boat trip london

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A barrage of surprising facts and figures … Horrible Histories: Terrible Thames river boat tour.

Horrible Histories: Terrible Thames review – behold the poop deck!

Tower Bridge Quay, London A teacher and his unruly student host a family tour of the capital’s river with scatological gags and gory stories aplenty

T hey’ve conquered cinema, telly and stages up and down the land. Now the Horrible Histories crew have commandeered a vessel for a lively show that’s part theatre, part sightseeing tour and fired by the same formula of shock and gore as the books.

Three years ago, we saw the bloodthirsty Terrible Tudors staged in the grassy moat at the Tower of London. This 45-minute river trip departs close by. Our hosts? Not a talking rat but a teacher and his unruly student (today played respectively by Roger Parkins and Harriet Munday, from a rotating cast). The pair are on a school trip, with the audience – including me and eight-year-old Hilda – becoming fellow students.

At least, we think that’s the idea. It’s all a bit of a blur at the start. In blazing sunshine, we take our seats on the deck and are soon cruising past London landmarks. In lieu of a plot, there’s a barrage of surprising facts and figures inspired by the buildings we pass. “It’s not just old history,” points out Hilda. We hear about the capital’s brand new 15-mile sewer, while a partygate gag by Westminster lets us reflect on the current stench in parliament.

But mostly it’s the kind of lineup you’d expect: Guy Fawkes, Mary Tudor, Boudicca and Julius Caesar are all given thumbnail sketches, their stories told at such a clip that you’re left missing or wanting more details. How come the Kray twins were at the Tower? Why can’t we hear more about the women who built Waterloo Bridge ? Who exactly was “my fair lady” in London Bridge’s nursery rhyme?

Horrible Histories’ Terrible Thames river boat tour

But no detail is spared, in Terry Deary and Neal Foster’s script, of exactly what it meant to be hanged, drawn and quartered. If you weren’t feeling seasick you might well turn green after the cascade of grisly stories, vomit gags and toilet-humour tunes. “They’re obsessed with poo,” whispers Hilda. In one scatological rhyming ditty we’re told exactly why the Thames smells so … er, stinky.

It’s all vigorously done, with Munday rampaging up and down the deck, occasionally joined in insurrection by the teacher. Hilda already knows one of their jokes but is ready to remember what’s brown and sounds like a bell (“dung!”).

There’s a smattering of audience involvement – “it’s a bit like a panto” – but at times it’s a bit much for her, especially London’s past as a whaling port (“poor whales!”) and the lose-lose scenarios for suspected witches put to the swimming test. Amid so much jollity it’s particularly queasy to hear light-hearted quips about more recent history such as the 1982 hanging of Roberto Calvi, dubbed “God’s banker”, as we pass beneath Blackfriars bridge. But the register dramatically changes for some powerful dialogue about London’s role in the slave trade and an account of the remarkable life of Ignatius Sancho.

In Birmingham Stage Company and Woods Silver Fleet ’s production, with the background noise of party boats and even the river police’s siren, rare moments of joy and stillness stand out. And on this baking summer day, the description of football games once played on the frozen Thames is somehow terribly affecting.

Horrible Histories: Terrible Thames is booking until 1 January.

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Horrible Histories – Terrible Thames Tour

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Horrible Histories – Terrible Thames Tour (Reviews) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Horrible histories – terrible thames tour information.

Horrible Histories_header

Horrible Histories competition

Win tickets for Horrible Histories' Terrible Thames - a river tour like no other!

Win tickets to Horrible Histories' brilliant brand-new tour: Horrible Histories Live Onboard - Terrible Thames ! 

7043 02 TT See 640X640

Climb aboard and prepare to hear the horrible history of the most famous river in the world. Horrible Histories' Terrible Thames River Tour will have you trembling in terror at the Tower, sizzling at the Savoy, giving Cleopatra the needle, and being washed away at Westminster. Lose yourself in Lambeth, get gobsmacked by the Globe, hold onto your head at London Bridge and escape from Wapping's Execution Dock!

Take a dive with Horrible Histories into the stories of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Julius Caesar, the Duke of Wellington as you sail through London's history. Covering Queen Boudicca, Jack the Ripper and Captain Kidd, Horrible Histories' brand new River Tour uncovers the history of the Thames with the nasty bits left in.

You’ve seen them on stage, now join them on board, for a sensational sightseeing tour of the River Thames like no other.

Enter our competition and you and your family could win tickets to a weekday Horrible Histories Live Onboard: Terrible Thames show, plus River Roamer tickets, so you can make unlimited journeys aboard our services for the day!

For your chance to win, simply answer the question below correctly:

Pin

Tours depart from Tower Bridge Quay

Previously 'St Katherine's Pier', Tower Bridge Quay is five minutes' walk from Tower Pier .

Clock Fill 24X24

Tours take place every day

The winner can choose to board any weekday tour after 30 August. Tours take place at 11:45, 12:45, 13:45, 14:45, 15:45 and 16:45.

  • Competition closes at 23:59 on Sunday 15 August 2021.
  • One winner will be selected on Monday 16 August to receive a family ticket (either for 1 adult and 3 children or 2 adults and 2 children) and a Family River Roamer ticket.
  • The winner must reply by Wednesday 18 August 2021 to redeem their prize; otherwise Uber Boat by Thames Clippers reserves the right to offer the prize to an alternative winner. 
  • The winner's details will be shared with 'Horrible Histories Live Onboard - Terrible Thames' in order to award the prize.
  • The winner will be able to choose any weekday tour (excluding weekends and bank holidays) after 30 August.
  • The date and time of the tour attended is the winners' choice but is dependent on availability.
  • River Roamer voucher is valid for one year from issuing date.
  •  Voucher must be redeemed for a River Roamer ticket either at booking.thamesclippers.com or at a staffed Uber Boat by Thames Clippers Ticket Office.
  • River Roamer tickets are not valid on River Bus Express services for events at The O2.
  • Prize is not transferable to another individual and not exchangeable for cash.

View our Competitions Terms and Conditions .

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Things to do at Terrible Thames Horrible Histories review

New for 2021 is the Horrible Histories-themed Terrible Thames tour. This is a riverboat cruise on the Thames in London. The boat sails from Tower Bridge Quay, next to Tower Bridge.

Onboard the boat be prepared to hear the horrible history of the most famous river in the world. “Tremble in terror at the Tower. Sizzle at the Savoy. Give Cleopatra the needle. Be washed away at Westminster. Lose yourself at Lambeth. Get gobsmacked by the globe. Hold onto your head and London Bridge and escape from Execution Dock”.

They also cover the stories of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Julius Caesar, the Duke of Wellington, Queen Boudicca, Jack the Ripper and Captain Kidd. That’s a lot of history to get through in 45 minutes and don’t worry they leave the nasty bits in!

The tour is brought to you by award-winning theatre producers the Birmingham Stage Company and Wood’s Silver Fleet. Together they bring you their extensive experience of performance and river sightseeing tours to create an experience like no other. The tour is conducted by two actors, they do not change into historical characters when telling the stories. The tour is more suited to children aged 5 and over, however, children of all ages are welcome.

FAQ and Further Information Terrible Thames Horrible Histories

What are the main things to do.

Riverboat cruise of the Thames with historical (and gruesome) stories of London’s past history brought to you by two actors.

What are the ticket prices?

*Expensive *Prices are subject to change and/or discounts online. *Expensive. Tickets are cheaper if purchased in advance. An adult ticket costs £25, children 4-15 £15 and under 4s are free. Family tickets are available.

Is there parking?

There is limited parking nearby and charges apply. There are tube stations nearby which is a much better option.

When are they open?

They run from around springtime until late October with extra sailings during school holidays. Please visit their website for up-to-date information.

Are they accessible?

Information on accessibility .

Dog friendly?

Only assistance dogs are permitted.

Terrible Thames Horrible Histories

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Horrible Histories Live Onboard! Terrible Thames Tickets

Horrible Histories Live Onboard! Terrible Thames  Tickets

About Horrible Histories Live Onboard! Terrible Thames

Horrible Histories proudly presents its wicked river tour of the Terrible Thames!

After two terrific years, we’re sailing into 2023! So climb aboard and prepare to hear the horrible history of the most famous river in the world!

Tremble in terror at the Tower! Sizzle at the Savoy! Give Cleopatra the needle! Be washed away at Westminster! Lose yourself in Lambeth! Get gobsmacked by the Globe! Hold onto your head at London Bridge and escape from Execution Dock!

Take a dive with Horrible Histories into the stories of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Julius Caesar, Queen Boudicca, Jack the Ripper and Captain Kidd, in this history of the Thames with the nasty bits left in!

October 29th, 2023

Tower Bridge Quay

5+. Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

Important information

The tour is a round-trip and you will disembark at Tower Bridge Quay where you joined the trip.

There are two gender neutral toilet cubicles on the lower deck of the boat.

Depending on the weather the live tour with actors will take place on the upper or lower deck with the tour also broadcast via the PA system on both decks.

Disabled Access Tower Bridge Quay does provide step free access from St Katharine’s Way vehicle drop off and is just outside the London Congestion Charging Zone. Local pay and display parking can be found close by in St Katherine’s Way to the east of St Katharine Docks and City Quay car park at Thomas More Street E1W 1AE. Although step free, the gradient of Tower Bridge Quay can be dictated by twice daily tides. The ramp to the pier will be steepest at low tide which can be read in advance at tidepredictions.pla.co.uk.

As the Terrible Thames boat is not a new build it cannot offer step free access at present.

To board the Terrible Thames Tour boat, there will be an element of queuing, however for those who are unable to stand for longer periods of time an assisted boarding service is available.

If you require any access advice before making your booking, please contact [email protected]

Tower Bridge Quay, previoulsy known as 'St. Katherine's Pier' is located on the north bank of the River Thames, east of Tower Bridge, and immediately in front of the Tower Hotel. The pier is approx. 10 minutes walk from Tower Hill Underground station.

Unfortunately, tickets for this event are no longer available.

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Horrible histories terrible thames river tour review.

Cardiff Mummy Says

Thank you to Horrible Histories Terrible Thames river tour for providing us with review tickets for the experience

As huge fans of the Horrible Histories books, TV series, film and theatre shows, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to step on board the Horrible Histories Terrible Thames river tour during a recent trip to London during the Easter holidays.

Setting sail from Tower Bridge Quay – just a stone’s throw from the Tower of London – this 45-minute experience is fast-paced, interactive, incredibly fun, and full of memorable facts about some of the more gruesome elements of the river’s eventful history.

What to expect on the Horrible Histories Terrible Thames river tour

As we take to our seats on the open top deck of the boat, we’re greeted by Billy and his teacher (or Billie, as there are several actors rotating the parts). Billy has won a special trip on the river with his teacher… but it seems Billy knows more than the teacher about the darker stories of the Thames, thanks to the grisly and gruesome stories handed down by his family.

Co-written by Terry Deary, author of the Horrible Histories books, and Neal Foster, who wrote the theatre shows and also directs the boat tour, the facts come thick and fast as we sail past famous London monuments including the Tower of London, London Bridge, Pudding Lane, Millennium Bridge, Cleopatra’s Needle, the London Eye, The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, and back.

Horrible Histories Terrible Thames Boat Tour London review

There are grisly tales of beheadings and hangings, stories of the plague and pirates, witches and world war two, Jack the Ripper and the river’s part in the slave trade. It’s all peppered with plenty of humour, with jokes about poos and farts aplenty and brilliant sound effects. The adults laugh as much as the children.

Terrible Thames is brilliantly entertaining but also highly informative too. For us as tourists we learned so much about famous landmarks and London history, and got to see a lot of places in a short space of time and from a different angle too, but I can imagine that even locals will discover a side of the city they never knew existed.

The fast-paced nature of the boat tour means there are none of the historical costumes familiar from the TV and theatre shows – but we are treated to lots of madcap musical numbers including one about poo plus a rousing rendition of What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor? which has the entire boat singing along.

Horrible Histories Terrible Thames Boat Tour London review

We were lucky with the warm weather meaning we could sit on the open top deck, but if it’s raining the performance takes place on the lower enclosed deck, with plenty of windows meaning you can still see the landmarks along the river.

Age-wise, my children are 12, 10 and 8 and the tour was perfectly pitched for them. They are familiar with the Horrible Histories format so knew to expect some gruesome facts, but are old enough not to be unsettled by talk of beheadings and hangings. The boat tour experience is open to all ages but generally recommended for those age five and above, although younger more sensitive children may find certain elements upsetting. (Try the books and TV shows first if you’re unsure.)

Horrible Histories Terrible Thames Boat Tour London review

This is nothing like your usual boat tour; we loved finding out more about the famous London landmarks along the Thames and discovering more about its history. Educational, entertaining, engaging and energetic, this is a great whistlestop tour of some of London’s most famous landmarks filled with unusual facts and stories you won’t get anywhere else.

My 10 year old son’s verdict: “I really liked it. You learn all about historical London and more. The actors were really good, they had a great sense of humour. I liked the songs because they were funny and upbeat. It was cool to learn more about the bridges. We learned lots of interesting facts such as you’re not allowed to advertise on the River Thames but the OXO building says their building is not an advert, it’s just the shape of the windows. I liked that there was a lot of facts about murders and other gruesome things. I would recommend it to anyone who likes history and who likes to laugh.”

How to book the Horrible Histories Terrible Thames boat tour

Horrible Histories Terrible Thames boat tour takes place daily, with several sailings per day. The boat departs from Tower Bridge Quay (formerly St Katharine Pier) on the north bank of the Thames, east of Tower Bridge (in front of the Tower Hotel. Postcode – E1W 1LD. The pier is approximately 10 minutes walk from Tower Hill Underground Station.

Advance tickets booked online cost £22 for adults off peak and £25 peak, £20/£23 for seniors and £14/£15 for children. Under 3s are free. Family tickets (two adults and two children) cost £65 off peak and £72 peak. On the day tickets cost £27 for adults, £16 for children and £25 for seniors, with family tickets £78.

For more information visit the Terrible Thames website

For a video snapshot of the tour check out my Reel on the Cardiff Mummy Says Instagram channel.  

Other nearby nearest attractions include the Tower of London and HMS Belfast, plus there are plenty of cafes and restaurants alongside the river and grass verges to stop for a picnic.

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Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Terrible Thames review London things to do in London with kids

All aboard for a third season of London's terribly good adventure for families! Yep, from the brains behind Horrible Histories comes this fun-packed branch of horribleness, its Horrible Histories Live on Board: Terrible Thames Tour ! We recently walked the plank to catch all the adventure, so here's our review and all the deets you need to make a splash on your next trip into London with kids .

Set sail on the Terrible Thames Tour

If you have a kid between the age of around 4-12 years then there's no getting away from their love of all things a bit gross, including Terry Deary's wildly successful Horrible Histories . So, now we've read the books, and watched the TV shows, it's time to set sail on a new kind of horrible adventure: The Terrible Thames Tour!

Terrible Thames

This hour (ish) long clipper boat tour kicks off near the Tower of London and heads down to Westminster and back while skipping the pleasantries of the usual Thames kinda tours, and instead focuses on the rather grotty, darker side of the waterway, as told via 'Billie' and her teacher, an acting duo who had us chuckling for the entire trip. The action-packed script is Written by Deary and the show’s director, Neal Foster, and it's quick, it's witty and, most importantly, filled with stench jokes, fart references and gruesome deaths which, of course, utterly appeals to the kiddos on every level. Tourists and locals alike will love the humour, the tales, the songs and, most of all, the fact that your kids will be entertained for an hour without them even realising that they're actually learning quite a lot of history along the merry way. Win, win.

What did our kids think?

Terrible Thames review London things to do in London with kids

Rafferty, age 11, had this to say:

"I would give the Terrible Thames Tour 10/10 because it wasn't boring like some tours and also I really liked the drink they gave me. Also it is pretty disgusting that people used to dump their pee and poo in the river! I don't think I would have liked to have gone on a boat on the Thames in those days. I also felt very sorry for the people hiding on boats from the plague and then they got the plague anyway because they forgot about the rats and the fleas on their boats. I think I am very lucky I am alive now and not then."

And Angelica, age 14:

"It was interesting and the acting was good and the actors made me laugh. I didn't know that women were tried as witches on the Thames and that was pretty awful that they died whether they were found guilty or not guilty. I was also surprised at how many people have died in the Thames: it must be very haunted!"

All the deets

Terrible Thames review London things to do in London with kids

When and where: Daily sailings from Tower Bridge Quay, London. Please book in advance.

Cost: Adults £25.00 (15+). Child £15.00 (4-14). Infants Free (0-3). Family & Group tickets also available.

Website: www.terriblethames.com

Anchors away and you're all set to sail: have a horribly good time, shipmates!

* Top image courtesy of Terrible Thames.

* London for Kidz were gifted tickets for this experience for the purposes of this review.

Other fun stuff to do in London

London for Kidz guide to London museums

London for Kidz guide to London theatre for kids

London for Kidz guide to the Tower of London

London for Kidz guide to farms in London

London for Kidz guide to country parks in London

London for Kidz guide to The Clink Prison Museum

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Terrible Thames – Horrible Histories boat tour Review.

What do you get when you merge the amazing creators of your favourite children’s history books, with immersive theatre and London’s river Thames? That’s right the one and only Terrible Thames boat tour!!!

horrible histories boat trip london

My children are massive fans of Horrible Histories, we have a large collection of the books and they regularly enjoy the tv series too – The Romans film is a firm favourite! When we were invited to London to review the terrible Thames boat tour we simple couldn’t get there soon enough. If like our family you are already familiar with Horrible Histories this London trip down the river Thames will not disappoint.

What is the Terrible Thames Tour? Presented by the team behind Horrible Histories, Terrible Thames sets sail on the high (& low) tides of the city’s historic river. Leaving from Tower Bridge Quay, you discover the terrible truth about London’s most iconic landmarks including The Houses of Parliament, The Tower of London, The shard, HMS Belfast, the London eye, the Globe theatre, and Tower bridge.

horrible histories boat trip london

Combining immersive theatre with a traditional sightseeing tour, the trip surprises and shocks in equal measure as it delivers its unique take on London to thrill both children and adults alike. The 45 minute round trip tour sets sail from Tower Bridge quay: previously known as St Katherine’s pier which is a stones throw from Tower bridge, and heads down to Westminster as you listen to gruesome stories told by Billy or Billie depending on which set of actors you get and his/her teacher.

horrible histories boat trip london

Unlike many other London tours the Terrible Thames leaves in all the gore of London’s most famous river. As we have come to expect and love from the Horrible Histories group, it focuses on the darker side of London including gruesome deaths, and of course loads of toilet humour which had all the children in fits of giggles – because what child doesn’t laugh at the sheer mention of poo! And if you think the tour will just be enjoyed by the kids you are very much mistaken. The tour is perfectly pitched to both children and adults alike, and apart from the fact it is absolutely filled with History and fascinating revelations about Westminster and the city of London, the writers have been sure to drop in the odd political joke to give the adults a laugh too.

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It is a uniquely entertaining and exhilarating attraction that is high energy, fun and educational from the moment it sets sail. Phoebe (7) was horrified to learn that women were tried as witches on the Thames and of course died regardless of the outcome of their trial, and really felt for those who tried to escape the plague by hiding on boats on the river Thames not knowing that it was in-fact being spread by rats on the river. Noah (10) was fascinated to learn that the Thames has frozen over 23 times, and hopes that in his lifetime it happens again so he can play football on it like they did between 1600-1814. Even my husband who is a major history buff learnt a thing or two – did you know there was a time capsule in the base of Cleopatras needle which includes 12 images of beautiful women? Whilst Oliver (4) and Heidi (2) loved all the sea shanties and have been singing “what shall we do with the drunken sailor” for days!

The tour is in its second season and I imagine will fast become one of London’s “must do’s” with children. With over 60,000 passengers last summer, the tour was shortlisted for a London Tourism Award for New Tourism Business of the Year.

horrible histories boat trip london

The tour is aimed at those 5 and up and can definitely be enjoyed by the whole family. We had an absolutely brilliant time and the best bit? The kids learnt absolutely loads whilst having fun.

horrible histories boat trip london

The need to know bits …….

horrible histories boat trip london

ADVANCE TICKETS: Adult – £22.00 (off-peak) £25.00 (peak). Senior – £20.00 (off-peak) £23.00 (peak). Child – £14.00 (off-peak) £15.00 (peak) .

Under 3’s – FREE

FAMILY TICKET – £65.00 (off-peak) £72.00 (peak) – 2 Adults and 2 Children

There is an additional charge for booking on the day, and as the tour is proving to be extremely successful is often fully booked so I would not recommend just turning up.

School / Education groups: Group 8+ – £12.50 per child and 1 teacher goes free for every 10 children

GROUPS 10+ Adult £20.00 (off-peak) £23.00 (peak). Child £12.00 (off-peak) and £13.00 (peak)

Available by emailing [email protected]

horrible histories boat trip london

Accessibility: As the Terrible Thames boat is not a new build there is no step free access at present. A wheelchair lift and accessible bathroom facilities are in discussion to be installed, however as it stands as of June 2022 it is not wheelchair friendly.

You are welcome to bring your pushchair on board (we did) however if you have a young baby please note you will have to take them out during the show and leave your buggy in the storage area.

British Weather: London is not only famous for the river Thames but its unpredictable weather. Whilst the deck will always be open to customers to enjoy the amazing sights of London, in the event of rain the tour will not be cancelled and the performers will carry out the show on the lower interior deck, which is fully enclosed with windows so you can also enjoy the sights of London on the Terrible Thames Tour.

horrible histories boat trip london

Snacks : (because kids can’t go longer than 3 minutes without asking for one).

At present you are unable to purchase food or drinks onboard, however rumour has it the Terrible Thames are working on exciting plans to introduce this so watch this space. For now however you are more than welcome to bring your own snacks and drinks onboard.

When to arrive? The tour sets off at quarter to the hour and it is recommended that you arrive 15 minutes early. However we arrived just under 30 minutes before our time slot and there was already a queue starting to form. The tour arrives back to the quay at half past the hour and the turn around to get passengers off and the next group on is quite quick. If you are hoping to get photos on board after the tour I would recommend not leaving it to the last minute and get those snaps as soon as you board.

horrible histories boat trip london

Head over to http://www.terriblethames.com/ to book your tour.

To view more of our trip head over to our Instagram and view our stories which I have saved as a highlight. https://www.instagram.com/s/aGlnaGxpZ2h0OjE4MDQ3NjYyMDgxMzI2NTkz?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

If you have any questions about the tour please feel free to leave a comment and I will try and assist you the best I can.

Thank you Terrible Thames for having us on board.

horrible histories boat trip london

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This looks so much fun. So important to go on educational trips when homeschooling. We will definitely be booking this when in London over the summer. Thanks for sharing

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Thank you Julie. I agree. We love an educational trip, we all learnt so much from the tour and had a really fun afternoon too. Let me know how you find it. Hayley xx

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Horrible Histories: Terrible Thames River Cruise

Tower bridge quay. sunday 15 august 2021 at 13:45.

This event is now in the past - Horrible Histories: Terrible Thames River Cruise at Tower Bridge Quay on Sunday 15 August 2021 at 13:45.

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    Billy has won a history prize to go on the boat tour, and the reluctant teacher has to accompany him. While Billy is probably not a top-of-the-class student, he does love his Horrible Histories books, and his family have generations of London connections. (Billy's aunts and uncles seem to have single-handedly built London.)

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