This weekend, I achieved an ultimate life goal.
I went on a duck bus.
The idea of London Duck Tours is that you get to combine a traditional sight-seeing bus tour with a boat ride in the Thames. The fun part is that this happens all on the same vehicle. The duck bus is an amphibious vehicle that can drive on land and on water. IT’S A BUS, AND IT’S ALSO A BOAT.
When I used to live near Vauxhall, duck buses were a common sight. But watching their transformation from land to water never got dull. I always wanted to go on one, and it’s been on our ‘Things to do over Summer’ list for the past few years.
The high speed drive into the water from the slipway was by far one of the highlights. But there are lots more enjoyable things about a duck bus experience too.
We appreciated the dry humour of our tour guide, Nick. And Sam got all of his jokes, which made him feel old. The duck buses are smaller than your standard open top tour bus (duck buses take 30 people max), and so the experience feels much more personal. The buses’ striking yellow colour and unusual shape grab the attention of passers by – there were lots of cheerful waves and photo-taking – making the trip feel all the more fun and special.
London Duck Tours combines two of Arlo’s favourite things, transport and London landmarks. I wasn’t the only one seriously looking forward to our aquatic adventure.
I did think that Arlo’s enthusiasm would wane during our tour, especially with most of the tour guide’s comments going right over his head, but I was proved wrong as he sat contentedly looking out the window for the whole duration. A duck bus tour is 75 minutes long.
Two weeks ago, we began night weaning Rory cold turkey, which has resulted in long periods of being awake at night, which has meant a lot of impromptu nap times.
I was secretly glad that he fell asleep for the middle portion of our duck tour. Had he been his usual rambunctious self, he would have lost patience after the first ten minutes and begun wanting to climb around the bus. The window ledges are extremely low (the ducks are repurposed army vehicles) and it would have been difficult to contain him to the inside seat.
What age are London Duck Tours suitable for? Non-crawling babies would be fine on a duck bus (it would be just like taking them on a normal bus), it’s perfect for over threes, and for toddlers…well, use your own discretion depending on your toddler’s general behaviour and work out how many snacks it will take to discourage them from climbing out the windows.
If you have a pushchair, you can leave it under the supervision of the staff at the Duck Tours kiosk and pick it up again when you disembark.
During summer and other peak times, you will need to book in advance. All duck buses were fully booked on the day of our trip. We booked our tickets through 365 Tickets, an online retailer for many of the UK’s most popular attractions. We just had to print the tickets that were emailed to us and present them on the day – extremely hassle-free.
London Duck Tours set off from a bus stop five minutes walk from London Waterloo, and just around the corner from Southbank.
Thank you to 365 Tickets for sending us on our Duck Bus adventure