The Thames River has flowed through the heart of London since its inception. It is a tidal River and throughout the day you can see it rise and fall, changing character and direction with the tide. Along either side of the river are some of the most famous of London's sights.

Map - Thames 1

We will start our walking tour from western end of the Thames at Westminster Bridge. Our walk starts from the Westminster tube station which is on the northern side of the Thames. Westminster tube station lies on the Circle ( Yellow ) and District ( Green ) tube lines, between Embankment and St James's Park stations. When you exit the station you should by on or near Bridge street that runs across the Westminster Bridge one way and into the heart  on Westminster in the other. Directly in front of you as exit the station should be Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, turn left and walk across Westminster Bridge.

Looking back across Westminster Bridge

After you have crossed the bridge move to the southern side of the bridge, directly across from the House of Parliament ( Map Location 1 ).

View across the Thames

Continue west across Bridge Road and down the stairs on to the concourse beside the Thames. As you continue west you pass County Hall of your right and the Ministry of Defense across the river on your left.

Looking back at Big Ben

After passing Jubilee Gardens on your right you should pass under Hungerford Foot Bridge that runs across the Thames to Charling Cross Station. Once you have passed under the bridge you should find the Royal Festival Hall on your left.

Map - Thames 2 

Cleopatra's Needle ( Map Location 2 )

Almost directly across from The Royal Festival Hall, on the northern bank of the Thames is Cleopatra's Needle. It was presented to Britain by viceroy of Egypt, Mohammed Ali in 1819 in recognition of Lord Nelson's victory over the French Fleet, in the battle of the Nile in 1798. It was erected here in 1878.

Cleopatra's Needle looking West

This 20 metre ( 68 foot ) tall structure sits on the banks of the Thames River guarded by two bronze sphinxes. The pedestal of the structure contains various historical artifacts including standard foot and pound, a full set of Empire coins, a variety of Bibles ( in many different languages ), a railway guide and other articles of the day. Take the time to look closely at the Needle and the Sphinxes and you should be able to see bomb damage that occurred during World War II raids.

Up Close

The Needle was brought from Heliopolis and dates back to 1500 BC. The obelisk was too large to be transported by ship and was encased in it's own structure and towed from Egypt. During a storm it had to be abandoned, however it was recovered shortly afterwards and erected on this spot. 

Sphinx that guards the Needle

Museum of the Moving Image ( Map Location 3 )

As you continue east you will come across Waterloo Bridge. At the southern end of this bridge and located under the span on the embankment is the Museum of the Moving Image. This attraction should be considered and absolute must for movie enthusiasts. It chronicles the development of the moving images, from the first shadow performances right up to today's television and movies. At this stage the museum is closed for refurbishment and relocation. It is planned to re-open in 2003. For further information please consult the museum's web site.

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