The shortlist; EIGHT BOAT TRIPS

Thames Barrier Cruise: The best way to see this architectural feat. Embark at Tower or Charing Cross Pier. Return trip 4 hours. Adults pounds 9, children pounds 5. Tel: 0171 839 3572.

Hampton Court Riverboat Ride: From Westminster to the palace via Kewand Syon House. One-way, 3-4 hours. Adults pounds 7, children pounds 4.Tel: 0171 930 2062

Torquay Illumination Cruise: Hop on the Torbay Princess until the end of September for anevening trip of; half an hour for the Fairy Cove lights and Teignmouth Bay, one hour for the Torbay lights, or an all-rounder with live jazz. Adults pounds 3.30, children pounds 1.30. Tel: 01803 295280.

Porlock Wier Trip: A 90-minute trip taking in a sanctuary with puffins and falcons and Fallen Point cliffs. Adults pounds 5, children pounds 3. Tel: 01598 753207.

Lundy Cruise: Leaves from Bideford, Ilfracombe and Clovelly until end of September. Departure depends on tides, returns around 6pm. Explore Lundy's puffin sanctuaries and a lighthouse. Trip takes 21/4 hours. Adults pounds 23, kids pounds 11.50, toddlers pounds 1. Tel: 01237 470422

Whale Watching Trip: The Alpha Beta sails from Dervaig on Scotland's Isle of Mull for dolphin and whale-spotting through Treshnish Islands, Coll, Eigg and Rhum. Choose from a 4-hour or a 6-hour trip . Adults pounds 30, children pounds 20.Tel: 01688 400223

PS Waverley Cruise: The PS Waverley is the world's last ocean-going paddle steamer. From September, on the river Solent, docks at Southampton, Portsmouth and Swanage. Up to pounds 22. Tel: 0141 221 8152

Kingswear Castle Cruise: UK's only other steamer leaves from Rochester Pier or Chatham Dockyard in Kent, down the river Medway. Day cruise, adults pounds 15.95, children pounds 7.95. Tel: 01634 827648.