Just before our summer holidays drew to a close, we squeezed in a trip to central London. We had a renewed sense of adventure when the heatwave subsided in late August and decided that it was a good opportunity to jump on the train and explore some of the amazing landmarks that we often take for granted. Having been to the cinema the day before to see Hotel Transylvania 3, my daughters were very excited to see that Thames Clippers were offering their own version of the Monster Vacation Cruise featured in the movie.
We arrived at Waterloo station and strolled down to the Pier in the shadow of the London Eye. For everything you need to know about the London Eye check out this post.
The Southbank was as bustling as usual, and we bypassed a big crowd buying sight-seeing and cruise boat tickets, and headed straight down the pier clutching our Thames Clipper River Roamer ticket. We only had to wait a few moments when the boat arrived. The girls were given their Thames Clipper Hotel Transylvania quiz cards, and quickly started scribbling away on board the boat.
The boat sped east along the Thames as we took in all the amazing landmarks and passed under London’s most famous bridges. Next time we travel, I will remember to bring some headphones along to try out Thames Clipper’s In Flow App, which gives you key facts about sights along your journey. As we took in the magnificent view of Tower Bridge and I hurriedly pointed out ‘mummy’s old office’ (City Hall), we arrived at our destination, Tower Pier.
We trotted up the Pier and paused to meet Blobby, one of several Hotel Transylvania characters adorning Thames Clippers’ Piers this summer. Blobby’s fact sheet helped the children answer one of their quiz questions, before we carried on our way to the Tower of London. The entrance is just a short stroll from the Pier, which made it very easy. We live close to Hampton Court Palace, with it’s wonderful Magic Garden, so we have invested in Historic Royal Palaces’ membership, which also gives us entry to Tower of London and Kensington Palace amongst others. Knowing that we can visit anytime for no extra cost, takes the pressure off having to see everything on offer in one visit. The children drew the line at queuing to see the crown jewels, but they loved wondering around the Tower walls and turrets. The ravens caused great excitement and we had a fantastic time in the White Tower, admiring all the royal armoury and discovering the amazing interactive games for children on the top floor. It was well worth the climb up the steps to see the girls enjoying learning how to dress a knight in armour, shoot an arrow or design a castle.
The return journey to Waterloo seemed a little longer as the Boat travelled along the north bank before crossing over to the London Eye Pier where we disembarked. However, after our action packed visit to the Tower we all were all quite ready to settle into our comfy seats on the Thames Clipper and we weren’t in a hurry to arrive at our destination. With a cafe and toilets onboard it is a very easy journey with children.
The MBNA Thames Clippers Family River Roamer ticket costs from £32.60 when booked online (the equivalent of two adult tickets) and allows all day hop-on, hop-off travel on the boats for two adults and up to three children (5-15 years; under 5s travel for free as standard). If you are quick, children can travel for free at weekends in September. www.thamesclippers.com/offers/detail/kids-go-free/
For another Child Friendly Boat Ride in London you could spend a Day out on the Canal in London with self drive GoBoats
Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.