• Tracy Tristram

Terrible Thames Tour review: A terribly good London adventure for families



All aboard for London's newest adventure for families: from the brains behind Horrible Histories comes its new branch of horribleness, its Horrible Histories Live on Board: Terrible Thames Tour! We recently walked the plank to catch all the fun, so here's the full lowdown on all the deets you need for your next adventure with kids in London...


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
'Billie' knew her horrible stuff, that's for sure! Photography: London for Kidz

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
Captain Rafferty ready to set sail. Photography: London for Kidz

Rafferty, age 9, 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 13:


"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
All aboard for high seas adventures! Photography: London for Kidz

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

Cost: Adults £22.50 (15+). Child £14.00 (4-14). Infants Free (0-3). Family & Group tickets also available.

Website: www.terriblethames.com

Note: Terrible Thames has been awarded Visit Britain’s ‘Good to Go’ certification which reassures visitors that appropriate Covid-19 secure processes are in place.


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


* 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


Don't forget to also follow us for more adventures over on Instagram and Facebook and to sign up for free on the website to keep up to date on our new reads.

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