Take a look at our review of the City Wonders Interactive Tower of London Tour & River Thames Cruise for Families
London with children can be tiring! Finding the balance between seeing as much as possible in the time you are down there, keeping everyone happy and entertained whilst walking for what feels like miles and miles, using the crowded underground to get around and see the sights. It can be a logistical and planning nightmare.
After just two days of walking around and seeing the sights our children were starting to flag, we had covered 20,000 steps per day , seen Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guard, walked around the Science and History museum, Covent Gardens, Trafalgar Square, Regent Street and visited Hamleys. We were all walked out.
On our last full day, we weren’t ready to give up on sightseeing but needed a more relaxed option. We needed an option where we weren’t constantly on google trying to find out the history of a building or find out where we were, we needed someone to do the hard work for us!
The answer was very easy. A tour with City Wonders .
After reading this introduction on their website https://citywonders.com we very quickly said yes please when they asked us to join us on their Interactive Tower of London Tour & River Thames Cruise for Families
“London’s size and immense history may seem larger than life for children. That’s why we have designed a special family tour to ensure they experience it as they should, sparking their imagination! The foggy history of the Tower of London, the River Thames and the surrounding historic centre will be brought vividly to life with a handpicked itinerary chock full of the best of this history-laden realm.”
The tour started at The Embankment Pier, where we met our tourist guide, Gina and were given headphones and one way walkie talkies . The walkie talkie had the kids hooked from the start! The children were also given pencils and booklets with maps of the Thames and quizzes and games about Tower Bridge and its history.
We boarded the clipper at Embankment and stayed on-board for about 15 mins as it ferried us to our destination, Tower Bridge. Whilst waiting for the clipper our guide entertained us all by pointing out all the well known landmarks we could see on the cityscape and explaining the reasonings and history behind some of their funny names.
On board the clipper the stories continued as we sailed along the Thames. This is such a great way to see the sights of London. There really is no better vantage point for seeing some of the world’s most famous buildings, whilst sitting down, relaxing and watching these sights sail by . There were also toilets on board and a little café . We heard stories about pirates, and traitors, modern day bare bums in the Shard, counted the bridges and imagined the heads hanging from London Bridge.
After departing the Clipper, Gina fast tracked us into Tower Bridge, avoiding the long entry queue.
Once inside she captivated the children with her stories of the Princes in the Tower and their mean uncle, we met the ravens of London Tower, learnt about Traitors Gate and even went into the torture chamber (at the children’s insistence!)
At every step of the way Gina had a wonderful story.. we know why some of the guards were tiptoeing in part, we met every one of Henry V111’s wives with photos and props and also what befell each wife! Gina explained the history of this castle and prison in an easy fun way, asking the children questions and answering every question that they came up with.
On our return home I asked our 7 year old what she remembered about the tour and I was genuinely surprised at all that she came out with… even if she did mistake the word “tourists” with “traitors”. Rest assured we saw no tourists or traitors heads at Traitors Gate !
The whole tour was well positioned for children (ours were aged between 7-11 years) and very interactive. Gina asked the Beefeaters to have photos taken with us, took our guidance as to whether we wanted to go into the Torture chamber, and was so friendly and patient she made the whole experience a pleasure. I can genuinely say the children didn’t realise they were out and about walking again!
It was the highlight of the holiday for our friends who were visiting from Germany, and as parents, to have someone else entertain the children, whilst hearing and learning all about London’s great history was priceless! A bit like the Crown Jewels.
Next time we visit we will definitely be looking up some more of their London tours !
Just as an added note the queue to see the Crown Jewels was 90mins when we arrived. The tour lasted 2 and half hours and therefore we didn’t wait in line to see the jewels. Gina gave us information on the jewels, and hints and tips for best vantage points. At the end of the tour she left it up to us as to whether waited in line.)
The tour ended at The Tower of London and we made our own way back to The Embankment on the clipper .
We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this tour for families with children between 7 and 11.