Tag Archives: London

City Cruises: London on a boat

Today I’m going to tell you about a fantastic day out I had last week, spent exploring London by boat (City Cruises) with my lady love.

RangingFar- London Boat Trip 01

It started off in February, with a present for Natasha. A combo London package with a shard experience and sightseeing River Thames cruise. The shard trip was excellent, but we got diverted by a free walking tour, lunch and more. Time ran away from us so we postponed the boat trip for another day. Flash forward to November 24th.

Cold, grey but blessedly dry, Saturday dawned on us. We had the usual rush to escape the house at a decent hour, but finally we were London-bound on a C2C train. I browsed the Internet for sightseeing ideas that would match up with stops on the cruise – Tower, Greenwich, London Eye, Westminster. In the end it was a combination of last-minute research and luck that pulled it all together into a top day out.

river_map_without_no_bankside
City Cruises sightseeing stops: Westminster, London Eye, Tower, Greenwich.

A short walk from Fenchurch Street (French Urchin Street according to some autocorrect functions) brought us to the “Tower” pier, aptly named as it sits beside the Tower of London. City Cruises boats depart every 40 minutes, and the hop-on, hop-off 24, hour river pass lets you cruise up and down the Thames all day. We collected our tickets and boarded the next boat (the “Millenium of Peace”) heading down-river, destination Greenwich.  We watched the banks and buildings flow by from the open-topped upper deck. What made this boat ride particularly memorable was the live comic commentary from a crewmember – although not a professional tour guide, he was an excellent and amusing accompaniment to our cruise along the Thames. Topics ranged from pirates to Cher to drinking spots along the river.

Docking by the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, we briefly browsed the Old Royal Naval College museum but found ourselves famished. We headed out in search of victuals and found our food at the Buffalo restaurant. On to the nearby Greenwich Market, “London’s only historic market set within a World Heritage site” (greenwichmarket.london) and a quaint and quirky collection of stalls. The market was feeling festive, decked out with lights and a number of Christmas-themed wares for purchase.

We bought a few small, unique, hand-made Christmas presents and finished off with an Amaretto-flavoured coffee to keep warm. We had a bit more time before the next boat heading to Westminster, so we checked out the Greenwich Foot Tunnel – 100 steps down and then back up to satisfy my curiosity about this tunnel beneath the Thames, thanks Natasha! We explored the Old Royal Naval College a bit further too, cue photo of the Lion statue. Then we boarded a boat heading upriver.

RangingFar- London Boat Trip 03
Impressive lion statue in the Old Royal Naval College

This time we sat pretty for the cruise. This boat had a spacious indoor area on the lower deck with many large glass windows, allowing us to shelter from the cold with great views of the capital: darkening with dusk and gradually glimmering with lights. We travelled beneath the Tower Bridge, cruised past the London Eye and alighted at Westminster pier. ‎A stroll along the night-time river brought us to the Tattershall Castle, a pub boat on the river, where we mulled over our day with a warming mulled wine each. Finally, we caught one of the last boats returning East to Tower pier, braving the chilly November evening to enjoy our final ride up top on the open deck. The lights of London night slid by and we talked about our grand day in the big city as tourists. All that remained was to catch our train from French Urchin street eastward, back to Essex!

Top tip: if you plan to make full use of the 24-hour river pass ticket, you could plan to visit in the warmer months. The boats operate for longer in high summer (July-Sept) with the last cruise running as late as 19:30 giving you much more sight-seeing boat time on the Thames! Make sure to check the timetables as times vary depending on time of year and which pier you are travelling from/to.

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Wildlife Sites in Urban Areas – Greenwich Ecology Park

Re: Upcoming Study Day (12th Dec) – Wildlife Sites in Urban Areas

This article appeared in the Countryside Management Association’s East of England regional newsletter that was sent out to members in March 2017. You can find out more about membership of the CMA on their website.

Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park in London hosted a CMA study day on 12th December 2016 looking at urban wildlife sites. The Ecology Park is managed by TCV – The Conservation Volunteers (formerly known as BTCV) in partnership with The Land Trust.

Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park has played a crucial role in the regeneration of the Greenwich Peninsula and is part of a huge government regeneration scheme put into place in 1998. The Park opened to the public in 2002 and has become an established and remarkably diverse urban wetland. The area is still developing rapidly however, which makes things challenging.

Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park

We had a great mix of CMA members and non-members at the event, including a number of TCV volunteers from other sites who took the opportunity to learn more about Greenwich Ecology Park from the staff who have managed it for 15 years.

Continue reading Wildlife Sites in Urban Areas – Greenwich Ecology Park

Upcoming Study Day (12th Dec) – Wildlife Sites in Urban Areas

The Countryside Management Association (CMA) are holding a study day on Monday 12th December at Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park, near the O2 in London! The study day is titled “Wildlife sites in urban areas – challenges and benefits for people and wildlife” and it looks to be an interesting one.

Not only is this a great site, but the day will coversome big topics like: the impact of nature sites on health & wellbeing, community involvement (and successful volunteering schemes), and the effects and pressures of development. Phew!

Continue reading Upcoming Study Day (12th Dec) – Wildlife Sites in Urban Areas

Countryside Management Association: Olympic Park social

Some of the CMA members from the East of England region met on Saturday 27th June at the Lee Valley Velopark, near Stratford station. We were treated to a fascinating tour of the Velopark (including the Velodrome, mountain bike and BMX tracks), followed by a walk around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. We saw the wildlife areas, and learnt about their creation and maintenance from Lee Valley staff. We then retired to a local pub for dinner.

CMA-EoE Olympic Park Social
At the Olympic VeloPark! Thanks to Roger Cole for the photo.

It was interesting to walk around the site of the 2012 Olympics  and see the London Olympic legacy. As well as being informative, the social was a great chance to touch base with some of the other members in the region and discuss the CMA. Many thanks to Derek and Ges, for organising the social and showing us around!

CMA logo

The Countryside Management Association represents professionals in the greenspace and countryside sector, and supports development of staff, students and volunteers. Benefits include training and study days, CMA “Ranger” magazine, networking opportunities, international links, and professional accreditation. Membership is heavily discounted for unwaged members – including students.
For more information visit countrysidemanagement.org.uk.