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The Original Guide to The River Thames

Tuesday May 14, 2013

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As the summer creeps up on us like some naughty school boy that didn't come home for dinner when called, it's time to embrace the best of London in the sun.

The Thames is the main artery of London and it would be criminal not to take advantage of it when the weather teases us out of our winter depression.

So here are Original Dating's best date ideas while enjoying the Thames in the sun.

Richmond

As you cross the bridge from Twickenham, Richmond appears to be standing proudly over the river as if claiming ownership. You can spend all day walking along the riverside popping into all manner of pubs and bars and there's even a German open air beer hall selling steins of lager and serving inappropriately sized sausages.

Head South along the river and stumble upon a number of hidden gardens and the historic artist's enclave of Eel Pie Island. And if you're bored of walking, why not hire a row boat and embrace your inner Steve Redgrave.

The perfect place for a lazy afternoon date.

The Southbank

Walk Start from Westminster Bridge and head East past the London Eye, along Southbank taking in the National Theatre replete with skateboarders and book stalls, then all the way along down past the OXO tower,  Tate Modern, and Globe theatre through to Tower Bridge and refresh yourself at Borough Market in the shadow of Southwark Cathedral.

You get to see some of the best riverside views of central London and experience the Southbank at its most vibrant. And while it can get a little crowded with tourists, some say this is half the fun.

Why not bone up on your history and impress your date as you walk.

River Boat Cruise

River Cruise from Westminster Pier to Greenwich Hop on a boat from Westminster Pier and enjoy a leisurely hour taking in the sights of both North and South London. You'll also get a third off with an oyster card.

Most cruises come with a free talk from a Freeman of the River, almost all of whom are carrying on a working tradition handed down through many generations. Always informative and often hilarious it's a fantastic way to gain some surprising insights into the river. Please do tip as you leave though.

And to top it all off, you'll finish at historic Greenwich and the Cutty Sark. Wander around the market, admire the naval college and climb Greenwich Hill to the observatory that marks the Greenwich mean time line.

Windsor & Eton

It may seem a bit of a trek but it's really only about 30 mins from Paddington if you get your timings right.

A walk along the river in Windsor is a little like stepping back in time. The buildings are simply stunning and you always have a view of the magnificent castle to glance back at. The tow path is teeming with quaint and not so quaint pubs and bars and even if some seem a little crowded, ducking down a little side street, or crossing a bridge will invariably lead you to somewhere more sedate.

And you can of course hire row boats should you wish to engage more nautically.

Hampton Court

The stretch of river from Sunbury Lock to Hampton Court is one of my favourite parts of the Thames. I grew up kayaking here and whenever I go back it's like greeting an old friend.

The river widens significantly at Sunbury and by the time it reaches Hampton Court the amount of river born traffic has increased significantly lending a certain buzz to the air and instilling a sense of the Thames as it used to be. As is usual, there are plenty or bars and pubs to pop into and row boats to hire but what makes this stretch so special is the imposing architecture of Hampton Court itself. Test your navigational skills in the maze, always popular with couples, or, if you fancy a change of scenery, stroll through the green expanse of Bushy Park and try your hand at deer dodging. That's dodging, not dogging. *Ahem*

So, don't be shy. Jump in at the deep end and next time your at one of our events, suggest one of these little jaunts. You never know what may happen.

And if you're looking for a date to share these pleasures with you should come to one of our amazing events. Check them out here.

WORDS BY JOHN DAVIS