I class myself as an adopted Londoner (first and foremost a Mancunian of course). Having lived in this incredible city for nearly 17 years, there are still sights I haven’t seen or experienced. Everyone I think can be guilty of taking their own city for granted. So this week I joined the 18 million plus visitors who pour into this cosmopolitan capital and experienced London as a tourist by taking a London boat tour!
Thames boat trips
When an invitation arrived to go on an amphibious adventure commonly known as the London Duck Tours, it couldn’t have arrived at a better time. With the start of the summer holidays the forecast was for typical British weather – Rain of course. Armed with raincoats and suitable shoes we arrived at Southbank where the bus slash boat departs.
I’m not so keen on chlorinated chicken but these Ducks are one of our better american imports. The concept originally came from our pals from across the pond back in 2000. Currently they have a nine-strong fleet and have carried over 1.8 million passengers around London. Also a favourite with celebrities the likes of Victoria Beckham, Matt Damon, Justin Bieber and Daniel Radcliffe have whizzed around the sights in these bright yellow ducks. Often as a private hire but you never know who you could be sat next to – some have been known to join the main tours.
We were meeting Maria and her lovely girls Cali and Talia on this tour. Once everyone had arrived and were checked in we clambered on board. I’d advise arriving at least 15 minutes before your booked slot as passengers are boarded in order of checking in.
Hop on hop off bus London
Booked on the Classic Sightseeing tour open top bus tour London it begins from The London Eye, which is close to the Duck Tours bus stop. Driving down Westminster Bridge past the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, the dashing Horse Guards, Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, the side of Buckingham Palace unfortunately (no buses are allowed to drive in front of the palace) and Westminster Abbey just to name a few.
Once we arrived at the MI6 building our road adventure ended and it was time for the highlight of the tour – The Splashdown. The girls were all overcome with excitement at the thought of the big yellow skip with wheels turning into a boat.
To be honest so were all the grown ups. After a quick driver to captain change and a brief safety demo we headed to the banks of the Thames. There was no denying everyone was giddy the moment the duck took to the water.
It was lovely to see the iconic landmarks from the water. There was something very calming about bobbing along the Thames especially after the busy streets of London.
The tour is 75 minutes long and 45 of those minutes is on land. Perfect timing if you’re on a family outing without the dreaded words ‘I’m bored’ chiming in your ear.
Our knowledgeable and witty tour guide regaled fascinating facts throughout the live commentary and really engaged the kids. The majority of the guides are professional actors and offer their own individual twist on the tour spiel.
There are a whole host of tours to choose from too – James Bond, City of London, D-Day Duck Tour, Pirate Treasure Hunt, a Quackmas Carol and a Codebreaker Challenge. Prices differ depending on your choice of tour, but for the Classic Sightseeing an adult ticket is £27, a child (age 1 – 17 years) is £19, under 1’s are free or you could purchase a family ticket for four (2 adults and 2 kids) for £79.
It’s certainly one way to see the fabulous sights of London from land and water! You can book tickets here.
Disclaimer: We were invited as guests of London Duck Tours and received complimentary tickets. However, all views, opinions and photos, unless otherwise stated are my own and remain a trademark of the Curious Pixie.
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