We live 12 miles outside of London, which is close enough for us to be able to pop in at a moments notice – but far enough out to feel like we don’t live in the city.
A couple of weeks ago I organised for us to enjoy a family day in London, pretending to be ‘tourists’ in the city that’s literally on our doorstep. We did two things we’d never done before, and these two things (I’m guessing) would be high up on a normal tourist’s hit list. First of all we went on the London Duck Tours. The Duck Tours are a fun and informative way to learn about the city of London. Once on board the “bus that turns into a boat” (as the girls called it), we got to see some of London’s most famous sights, learn some interesting facts about the city from the commentator and finished off with a thrilling splashdown onto the river!
This is actually something I’ve been wanting to do for years. I’ve seen the yellow ‘ducks’ driving around the city and thought “we should do that one day”. Do you do that? Put things off, for no reason? Well, I can now tick this off my bucket list. And do you know what? It was fantastic! I learnt so much about our capital city, silly but interesting little facts that I didn’t know before. The commentator was great and kept things fun and light hearted for the kids, while making sure we didn’t miss a thing as we went round the tour.
Of course the best part for the kids was the end, when the bus did actually turn into a boat and took us up and down a stretch of the river Thames. Apparently these duck themed buses were originally used in the Second World War, but have now been completely rebuilt and modified to meet the safety regulations of today.
After having lunch on the Southbank we headed to the Sea Life Aquarium for our second activity of the day. The Sea Life London Aquarium is situated on the South Bank, near the London Eye and is spread over three floors of aquatic wonder.
The aquarium has over 500 species of global aquatic sea animals, there’s literally something to grab your attention around every corner. A major new feature at the Sea Life London is the Shark Reef, which allows you to view the sharks from a glass tunnel walkway. Lili and Poppy were both so excited by this thrilling feature, it literally felt like you were fully immersed in the huge shark filled tank.
They also loved the new Gentoo Penguin Colony at the aquarium’s Ice Adventure, which is a frozen antarctic landscape where you can view penguins as they play together. If I’m honest, the aquarium is visually stunning and full of interesting information about the amazing underwater world but a word of warning – it does get very busy at weekends. We went on a Sunday afternoon and the place was packed, which made it difficult to get a good view of some of the tanks. It also meant we missed out on the full experience, which is a shame.
If you’re planning a visit to London sometime soon, I’d definitely put these two attractions on to your list. Although, I’d advise you to visit the Sea Life Aquarium during the week or first thing in the morning at weekends.
Disclaimer: We were invited to try these attractions but all opinions are my own and true.