London Duck Tours

Back in February we visited Windsor Castle and S spotted a yellow “Duck”. The same ducks that were used during WWII have been restored and much like the amphibious creatures, they drive on land and sail in water.


Ever since, he’s been saying he wants to go on one and I promised we would when the weather got warmer. And that’s exactly what we did yesterday with my friend R and her gorgeous girl N (who S loves). It was a beautiful summers day and we met at our favourite spot in London….Southbank. We also ended up lunching at one of our favourite child friendly spots, Giraffe.

I’d booked our tour for 2:15pm and they’d asked us to get there about 15-20 minutes early to check in. We promptly arrived there at 2 but our duck didn’t arrive until 2:30. I understand there may be delays on the road, etc but these things should be factored in. Waiting half an hour in the heat with a restless 4 year old will give anyone’s patience levels a battering.

We finally set off on “Beatrice” at 2:35 and thankfully it was much cooler on the duck than it was standing on the street. Our tour guide who was Australian was absolutely brilliant and did a great job of keeping us entertained. 


We quacked at other ducks, took in all the sights and learnt a few new things about London. For example, did you know there are 42 capsules on the London Eye, to represent the 42 Boroughs of London? I didn’t! And because they thought people wouldn’t want to go on capsule 13, they are numbered 1-12 an 14-43. Fun fact! Here’s another one…all the Ducks are named after Shakespearen  characters. Except Elizabeth! They wanted to name her Ophelia except that character died by drowning. Not a good omen. She was restored during the Queen’s Jubilee year and so they named her after Her Majesty.

S absolutely loved it (apart from taking a 15 minute power nap because he was so tired!) Bless!


I enjoyed the tour because unlike the London bus tour, it’s short and sweet (the whole thing took about 75-80 minutes). However, you do pay for the novelty. Adult tickets were £26 and   child tickets are £18. I’m pretty sure the bus company are similarly priced except you get a lot more thrown in and your tickets are valid for 24 hours so you can see the sights over 2 days. The Duck Tour company are in the process of restoring some of their ducks so unfortunately we had to move from Beatrice to Elizabeth for the river part of our tour.

Of course 4 is on the young side to really learn anything on a tour like this but seeing the joy on S’s face made it worth it and I learned a few things about this glorious city myself. Win win!

You can book your tickets here. Another fabulous London day out!

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The Original London Bus Tour: A review

For those who know me, I love London and I love doing all the touristy stuff that London has to offer. So when I had some friends in town a few weeks ago and they were keen on doing the Original London Bus tour, I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve done it before (about 5 years ago) but it’s an opportunity to see one of my favourite cities again, I couldn’t say no.

We started the tour at Marble Arch but you can pretty much get on at most stops. There are three routes: The yellow route, the red route and the blue route. They each take around 2 hours and 15 minutes (if you don’t get off). The ticket also includes a FREE river cruise. Given that I have a love for the South Bank, this is my favourite part of the tour. Tickets cost £28 (or £26 if you book online in advance) and the ticket is valid for 24hours. So you could easily do one route one afternoon and the other two rotues the following morning (if you really want to see it ALL!). Under 5’s go free.

My friend Melanie was visiting from Germany with her daughter Mia (who had just turned 3). And my friends Sonya and Anushka were here from Hong Kong and Dubai. Naturally I took S with me but decided to leave his pram at home. I was slightly worried, given we were spending an entire afternoon out, but he was amazing. Both the kids were.

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We set out at about 2:15 once S and Mia woke from their naps and got on the tour bus at around 3pm. We went down Park Lane, through St. James Park, down Buckingham Gate, up through to Westminster, across a bridge to Waterloo, across a bridge again, down Fleet Street and up to St. Pauls. Back over the river to the South Bank, past London Bride and then over Tower Bridge (my favourite view of London) and to the Tower of London.

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We decided to get off there and get on the river cruise. It was a beautiful day, sunny with a slight breeze so thankfully the queue for the cruise didn’t put us off. The cruise is 2 parts funny and 1 part informative. The tour guides know how to keep the crowd interested, pointing out all the landmarks and making subtle jokes alongside.

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We got off at the pier by Westminster Station and decided to call it a day. The kids were getting tired and I wanted to make it home before over-tiredness kicked in.

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All in all it was a lovely afternoon out and I’d recommend it to anyone visiting London. It’s a great way to see the entire city and all the major landmarks in 24hrs. Children 4 years and upwards would enjoy it a lot more but our little two loved the sights, sounds, the experience of sitting on an open top bus and the idea of going on a boat. We took the tube home, literally covering almost every mode of transport in London! 🙂

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