A day out in London can take many forms – there is something for everyone in what we as a family, feel is the most diverse and vibrant city in the world.
As locals, having lived in London for years and now residing a perfectly commutable distance to the door of Selfridges away, it can feel as though you have been there, done that with most of the touristy activities on offer.
One such tourist experience, the London Duck Tours, was one which we had looked at in awe countless times – a duck bus that ends up in the Thames? Surely that isn’t right? – but never actually got round to booking.
Recently we were invited to review and we were thrilled to give it a go but also I felt it would be important to see if it was in fact, worth the wonga so that I could report back to you lot and let you know if it was a ‘must-do’ or not.
Co-incidentally, we had a similar invite to sample the delights of the latest thrill, Thames Rocket Cruises. We decided to have a water based weekend and put them both through their paces as each is very different to the other so we knew they would both bring their own unique memories.
First up on the Saturday was the Duck Tour. Starting point Waterloo, a short walk from the mainline landmark train station which hugs the South Bank of the Thames.
We were bubbling over with excitement pre-boarding as we had so often looked on longingly as the passengers hurtled by and now we were going to be the quackers!
Our host was enthusiastic and bursting with knowledge and as we got on our way she was regaling us with tales of London past and present. Each of the fleet of ducks is names after a Shakespeare character.
Even after all these years we learned new nuggets of information and were amazed to hear facts such as one of the flags flying high from the Houses Of Parliament is as big as a full sized tennis court.
We were on dry land for the majority of the trip but soon enough it was time to get our water wings on and head into the Thames. The excitement on board was great to be a part of and as the bus rolled into the iconic River, we all squealed with delight.
A brief but thoroughly enjoyable paddle down towards Big Ben and back saw us competing with speedboats and river cruises but we held our own and had a quacking time!
We LOVED our adventure, the kids couldn’t stop referring back to our experience and it certainly made fabulous memories for us all.
See more of our adventure in my vlog of our weekend on the water and a taster of the Thames Rocket Boats too.
So if the need for speed is your thing, you really need to give the Thames Rockets a whirl.
Seeing London from the Thames at much more than a trundling pace is a thrill-seekers delight and one that both young and old can enjoy.
I sent my two sons, my hubby and my dad on this one as I don’t have my sea legs that much, but the tales they have told me since leave me wishing I had taken the plunge along with them. With a combined age of 130, could this really be suitable for all? In short, yes!
On a blustery Sunday, we headed down to the South Bank again and enjoyed the culinary delights that the resident street market had to offer. Framed by the exclusive Oxo Tower Restaurant and Bar, we enjoyed roof terrace drinks while we waited for our time slot to arrive. Is there anything more delicious than al fresco Champagne while watching the world go by from a great height?
As the hour approached, we headed the few steps to the Pier and joined the select group of others booked on to our ride. The crew were both knowledgeable and friendly and had a lovely welcome for everyone while they got kitted out. At most you may experience a light spray but waterproof clothing is provided.
As I waved them off, I wondered if it would be too much for Dominic, 5, bold though he is.I was concerned he would be a tad too young for it but needn’t have fretted as he seemed to enjoy it most of all! The words ‘epic’ and ‘awesome’ abounded as he later disembarked.
The trip lasted around 50 minutes and we watched as they weaved their way along the waterway, James Bond style.
Humorous commentary from our crew, Rory & Chris, provides an alternative view of London at an easy pace along to Tower Bridge then cruising past the watching River Police at Rotherhithe, the speed ramps up and as the music pumps loud and a superb soundtrack punctuates an exhilarating ride.
The boat surfs the waves and the passengers are treated to thrills galore before coming down a notch on its return leg.
My boys enjoyed themselves immensely and each had their own personal highlights. As they returned to shore, they were windswept and worn out but unanimously happy.
After disembarking, the options are plentiful as the prime location between Waterloo and Westminster provides a plethora of options for the remainder of the day.
As tourist must-do’s go, this one is a no-brainer. Our family absolutely LOVED it!
It is important to note, both of these experiences were very unique and both are highly entertaining in completely different ways, so they compliment each other whilst not affiliated at all. Go for either or both – you won’t be disappointed!
Have you done either of these tours? What was your highlight?