From Chelsea to Greenwich:new homes in six key riverside neighbourhoods make relaxing river boat commutes a tempting alternative to the Tube

The Thames Clipper and River Bus services are often underused in the capital but they make a great alternative option to commute to work. Take a tour of riverside homes beside London's piers and marinas...

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Are you fed up with a punishing daily Tube journey? Buy a home near one of London’s piers or new marinas and you could take a relaxed river boat ride to work. 

Constantly improving Thames Clipper and River Bus services give commuters a feel-good alternative and yet are often underused. “Other global cities use their rivers for local transport, while London has generally used the Thames as a tourist attraction,” says Raul Cimesa of estate agent Knight Frank. “But our infrastructure is becoming more diverse and far-reaching.”


Plantation Wharf Pier in SW11 opened last year creating an extra stop for the River Bus which runs between Putney and Blackfriars.

From Plantation Wharf, Battersea residents can also hop aboard MBNA Thames Clippers’ high-speed boats Galaxy and Neptune. Forget packed trains, these sleek catamarans take 37 minutes into London Bridge City Pier offering guaranteed seating for 150 passengers.

Running between Putney and Canary Wharf, Neptune and Galaxy will each cover 74,052 miles a year, the equivalent of travelling round the world almost three times.

Close to the pier, housing scheme Ivory & Calico Riverside completes this month with 34 one-, two- and three- bedroom apartments starting from £525,000 plus service charges of £3.40 per square foot. Call Hamptons International 020 7354 7049. 

Also near Plantation Wharf, the twisting 28-storey Lombard Wharf tower in Lombard Road will be ready by the end of next year, offering 135 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses with wraparound balconies — so you can watch Thames Clippers approach.

Service charges start from £4,250 a year, with one-bedroom flats from £646,500. Twenty-seven apartments will be available through shared ownership but details have yet to be announced. Call Barratt London on 0844 811 4321.

Chelsea Harbour Pier: designed by Sir Terry Farrell, these new homes are just a short walk from Chelsea Harbour Pier, where workers can catch the River Bus to the City and Canary Wharf

Chelsea Harbour Pier

In Lots Road, SW10, stunning Chelsea Waterfront, an impressive scheme incorporating the historic power station and modern style, masterminded by London’s celebrated architect Sir Terry Farrell, is a short walk from Chelsea Harbour Pier, where workers can catch the River Bus to the City and Canary Wharf.

Developer Hutchison Whampoa says it’s the last remaining significant riverfront site on the north bank of the Thames between Chelsea and the City. The second phase of 706 two- to five-bedroom flats, ready this year, start from £1.55 million with service charges of £7 per square foot. Call 020 7352 8852.


Wandsworth Pier is a busy stop for the MBNA Thames Clippers. More than 20,000 journeys started or ended there last year with the 13-strong fleet carrying 3.8 million passengers. Numbers are expected to almost double this year, making off-peak and weekend services more likely.

Morning commuters can pre-order hot drinks from Costa or relax on the way home with a drink — a glass of chilled champagne, maybe? A stroll away from Wandsworth Pier, Frasers Property is selling new Thames-side scheme Riverside Quarter.

It’s a location that guarantees residents “a serene, picturesque journey into London” thanks to the Clippers, says Frasers’ Simon Lear. Two-bedroom flats are ready to move into this autumn starting from £720,000 with annual service charges of £3,099. Call Savills on 020 8877 2000.

Greenwich Peninsula

Chinese developer Knight Dragon is looking at a UK venture based on Hong Kong’s Star Ferry service, which carries 70,000 people a day. The aim would be to connect Greenwich Peninsula and Canary Wharf in one quick trip across the Thames.

All-day boats are proposed, with extra crossings during peak hours, serving 15,000 new homes planned for the area surrounding this distinctive loop of the river. 

Ready by early 2019, the latest phase, Upper Riverside, has one-bedroom flats from £460,000 with annual service charges of £2,292. Call Greenwich Peninsula (020 3713 6153).   

Quebec Quarter: these apartments are a 10-minute walk from Thames Clipper services at Surrey Quays

Surrey quays

New scheme Quebec Quarter is a 10-minute walk from Thames Clipper services at Surrey Quays in SE16, with 20-minute boats to London Bridge City Pier. Developer L&Q says river proximity is “a significant draw” for buyers, as are plans to upgrade Surrey Quays Shopping Centre over the next five years.

L&Q’s Cathy Lloyd says: “Within SE16 alone 2,000 new homes are in the pipeline, making it London’s second-largest area of redevelopment south of the river, after Nine Elms.”

Ready this autumn, three-bedroom homes start from £775,000 with monthly service charge from £274.16. More homes will be released soon. Call 0333 0033663.

Woolwich Royal Arsenal

Investment is generating more river services and making London’s peripheries more accessible.

Berkeley Homes invested £250,000 in Thames Clippers when they launched in 1999 so that its Royal Arsenal Riverside scheme in Woolwich would attract commuters.

“All commuters need to be able to get around the capital as quickly as possible for work and pleasure,” says Berkeley’s Lyndon Nunn, and the river is certainly a scenic alternative to Woolwich Arsenal Docklands Light Railway or the Tube.

Boats depart Woolwich Arsenal Pier, also called the Royal Arsenal Pier, every 20 minutes from 6am on weekdays, taking 29 minutes to Canary Wharf and an hour to Waterloo. One-, two- and three-bedroom apartments at latest phase Pavilion Square will be ready by spring 2018, when Crossrail will also improve transport. One-bedroom apartments start from £445,000, with service charges from £3.59 per square foot. Call 020 8331 7130.

Within 10 minutes even the slowest of walkers among Drummond House residents could make it to Woolwich Arsenal Pier. Notting Hill Housing’s new one- and two-bedroom apartments are available through shared ownership, with one-bedroom homes starting from £85,625 for a 25 per cent share of the full market value of £342,500. Ready now, monthly service charges start from £165. Call 020 3815 1234.

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