Tourist for the Day

I have a sort-of restaurant review for you today. I say sort-of because we were on a boat, on a Thames river cruise!

I was invited by Experience Days to try out one of their experiences and decided it would be fun to be a tourist for the day and see the sights of London in a new way. David and I were lucky to both go on their Classic Thames Lunch Cruise.

I have to say that considering the British weather we were both glad to be inside in the warm with a cup of tea when we saw one of the ‘Speed Rib’ experiences go past. I may have waved as I supped my tea. Let’s hope they didn’t hate me too much.

I’ve been on boat cruises before where they rely on the views/novelty and everything else is a let down. This was different, the food and service on board The Symphony were lovely, I’ve captured the experience in a photo story for you…

I am the most motion sick person I know and was pretty apprehensive waiting to board The Symphony, but her size suggested a smooth ride and the staff helped by making sure I faced the direction of travel. I actually felt well for the whole journey – a first for me on a boat!

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We were seated by our lovely server Angela, who welcomed us and asked if we had any allergies/dietary requirements that the menu didn’t suit. Not relevant for us, but great for people who do.

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We were sat at the back of the boat in a quieter, small dining room, right next to the window which was perfect for sight spotting. We needn’t have worried about missing anything though as we were given a leaflet detailing the route. There was also a funny, knowledgeable and intermittent (in a good way, with breaks for chatting) voiceover guiding us through.  We learnt lots of fun facts about London including the slightly worrying fact that it is sinking!

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We set off from the pier dead on time for our adventure, enjoying a very civilised gin and tonic as we did. Just after the pier is Cleopatra’s Needle which was dragged all the way from Egypt but got lost on the way, only to be found by some Spanish Fisherman. What a life that obelisk has led!

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The service was smooth and speedy, but not overly so and we were soon digging into a lovely salmon roulade for starter. I may have taken more photos of food than the sights, but then I am a food blogger after all.

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Next up was chicken en croute, it was flavoursome, moist and with tasty accompaniments.

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Oh look, I took a picture of some scenery… well Canary Wharf. It’s really great to see some of the places you are familiar with from an entirely different angle and unobstructed!

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But more importantly than the view is dessert, which really stood out as the best course. A vanilla panna cotta with chocolate macaroony thing, raspberry coulis and chocolate garnish. Yum!

I also snuck off to the toilets, which for a boat really surprised me. They were clean, not chemical and had lots of room in the cubicles and around the mirrors. Hand cream too – always a winner. Sorry if that’s too much information, but if you’ve used a toilet on a boat, you probably know why I’m letting you know.

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As we headed back down past South Bank and Festival Hall we enjoyed a cup of tea to warm us up before heading out of the cosy Symphony.

Spending a Saturday lunch time on board gave me real London fever, and reminded me it’s important to be a tourist in your own town once in a while.

I actually didn’t know the price of the cruise and we guessed based on the quality of the food that it would be at least £30 each, I’ve just checked and it comes in at £64 for two. Exactly right value wise. It would be a perfect treat for those of you like us who work and live in this amazing city but never get a chance to see much of it, or if you have visitors from elsewhere in the UK/world.

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

I was given this experience to review by Experience Days but we paid for our own drinks and all opinions are my own. 

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