London Duck Tours – Ducking Good!
So, just recently I took the 9yr old to London for a Daddy/Son bonding day out. I try and do this once a year with all my children; I think it’s an important thing to do. Finding out what makes them tick, watching their interests and finding common ground that we can take forward into the future. This can only help keep the lines of communication open as they hurtle headlong toward their awkward teenage years (besides, it’s fun, I get some ace days out and I enjoy their company, so it’s a win win situation!).
The 9yr old loves all things history; especially if the history in question has something to do with the military. Past battles, historical sites where bloody events took place, vehicles used, weapons… well you get the point. So my thoughts for our trip turned toward London and of course the Imperial War Museum. Perfect, yes? Indeed it was, but whilst there (it’s a long way from Dorset when you’re 9) I thought we should take in a few more of the sights and sounds of the Capital, show my son some of the main monuments and give him an insight into the history.
A visit to the London Eye seemd a good start for an overall view of London, helping him understand the vast scale we were talking about (I do wish I had thought of the ‘heights’ issue I have before doing this one… still it was worth it!).
But that still left an awful lot of London to cover. How best to see as much as possible of the ‘obvious’ bits, and how much could I do realistically in one day with a small chap in tow, without over doing small legs?
Then the lovely people at London Duck Tours came to the rescue (and an ex-army amphibious vehicle was extra Daddy points methinks, oh yes!).
And those lovely Duck Tours people didn’t let us down! We had a fabulous trip around London, seeing all all the top sights; Buckingham Palace, The Houses of Parliament, Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square…
And of course our fabulous guide! He not only knew the history of everything we were looking at but he also made us laugh with some properly funny stories (for grown ups as well as the small people) and interesting anecdotes. He also just seemed to know those silly little facts that are those hidden gems you just don’t get from anywhere else (who else knew that a mild electric current stops pigeons perching on the statue of Churchill’s bald head?)! I thought I knew a lot about the places we were looking at, but I have to admit I learnt quite a lot of new things too!
And then of course there was the culmination to this nearly two hour trip around London…the plunge into the Thames itself, right past Parliament and Big Ben. We had almost forgotten we were sitting in an amphibious vehicle, but really, what’s the point of that if you don’t make full use of all its features?
Into the Thames we slid – quite a surreal feeling at first, but we soon had our sea (river!) legs and yet more wonders of our famous capital were eloquently pointed out to us. At last it was time to exit old Father Thames and we were asked to bounce in our seats (to which we naturally eagerly obliged!) to aid grip on the sandy bottom as we climbed out. I know it sounds odd, but you really felt you had been part of something special.
On finally arriving at our demarcation point, the 9yr old was asked if he would like to take the helm for a few minutes (well whilst we were parked anyway!), and we were offered as many photo opportunities as he would like (am guessing this wouldn’t happen in the height of the season!). I have to say that the guys at London Duck Tours are genuinely some the nicest folk you could want to meet, and they know their stuff too.
Certainly this trip made the 9yr old’s day; and I have to say mine too. Thank you Duck Tours, we’ll be coming again.
The London Duck Tours are a few minutes walk from Waterloo Station, and the classic sightseeing tour which runs daily is £21 per adult, £14 per child (family tickets from £62).