The London Duck Tour
is one of a handful of way to tour London. The premise is that you will board a duck themed vehicle that morphs into a boat allowing you to get a duck’s eye view from London’s city streets and also the river Thames. It is an amphibious vehicle adventure. The company bought a fleet of World War Two vehicles that have the ability to work as a car and boat. They were designed by the United States military and used to storm the beach on D-Day. Pretty handy, right? These days they storm the banks of the calm river Thames.
I went in early June when school let out for break. I think in the United Kingdom they call it summer mid-term. With all of London’s children out of school the tour was packed with children. I may have been the only person on board older than twelve and young than thirty five years old. As a solo tourist it felt awkward and I was definitely out of place. But outside of mid-term the tour has a better representation of tourists of all ages.
The tour starts at Waterloo behind the London Eye. This is a great location for touring other sites like the London aquarium or even a Thames river boat cruise
. The tour then sets off toward Westminster. The tour guide is excellent and a bit of a joker. It is for the best as he manages to get the entire boat quacking. This would not be a hard feat if it were only children. But the entire boat quacked. Even the adults.
The route follows the usual path except the guide explains dozens of more unusual sites. I can now show others where the prince buys his official royal cigars. On the other hand we all passed by the more well known sites like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and the parliament.
The bus driver and tour guide man the front of the duck spouting off factual nuggets about London’s history. Remember their are a bunch of kids on the tour most times so this history is made interesting. I’m like a kid when it comes to history. It doesn’t interest me unless its told well. I was entertained hearing about some of the outrageous, fun and hard-to-believe historical happenings in London.
The duck continues to make its way over the Westminster Bridge and then maneuvers by Parliament Square. The itinerary takes us north up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square. Next we see St James and quickly pass Saville row up to Piccadillly to Hyde Park Corner Of course we go around Buckingham Palace and return through Westminster, riding on the Vauxhall Bridge where we can see the MIs 5 and 6 buildings. Think British CIA.
The highlight of the tour is entering the Thames river. Its a well set up system where the bus driver quickly leaves to be replaced by a certified boat captain. As we pick up speed rolling down a grainy river bank it feels like we really are about to plunge into the water only to never resurface.
The car morphs into a boat and we confidently but causally navigate the river which offers unheard of views for most. This is because the boat is so low is feels like the water just might enter if only waves existed in rivers. For some reason a BBC show was filming at the time. I believe the actor was panning for Thames treasures.
If you’re a fan of views it only gets better. Check it out.
The tour ain’t cheap. It goes for 14-21 pounds per person.
But for the length and entertainment its worth going.