On the crest of a wave
Cai Linton (Molecular Bioengineering, Second Year) and his love of the Thames via boat
Interview: Diane Shipley / Photography: Joe McGorty
The Uber Boat by Thames Clippers is the best way to ge around the city without getting too caught up in the hustle and bustle. You go past the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, and even though you only catch a glimpse of St Paul’s Cathedral, it’s fun to try to peek inside. There’s often such an interesting mix of stalls and pop-up shops at the South Bank, but my favourite part is going under Tower Bridge, and seeing a perspective you could never get on land! My first experience of the boat was a couple of years before I started at Imperial, when I came to London for the day. I’m from a rural part of North Wales, so it was quite a contrast for me, but I loved being able to see so many major landmarks without going on the Tube or walking around, catching one bus after another.
Now when my family and friends come to visit we always travel by boat, so they can relax as they take in the sights. Imperial can be intense, with lectures, project work and preparing for exams; I also have a sustainable food startup through the Enterprise Lab, which is very demanding. I de-stress by cycling from Imperial through Hyde Park and St James’s Park to Westminster and take the boat east.
My favourite part is going under Tower Bridge, and seeing a perspective you could never get on land!"
If you time it right, you catch some stunning views over Greenwich as the sun sets, and then going back past Canary Wharf you see all the lights twinkling on the water. Some of my favourite memories of being onboard are from lockdown, when we could only socialise outside. It was strange seeing London so quiet, but it was also the perfect way to spend time with friends, have a good conversation and get away from everything.
When it gets colder, you can enjoy the experience from the boat’s cabin, but as long as the weather’s good, you’ll find me out on the deck. Travelling in from west London, it’s usually quiet and calm in Putney, then gets busier as you head into central London. That’s when I usually find myself surrounded by tourists, but I don’t think of that as a downside. It’s exciting to see London from their perspective, especially when everyone is in awe of all the different views. It makes me feel proud to live in such a special place.