London Duck Tours

The term London Duck Tours conjures up images of being guided around the city of London by a feathered friend, or maybe even visiting notable parts of London where ducks are said to reside. This is a natural, and somewhat amusing, reaction; in actuality, a London Duck tour refers to a tour of London via an amphibious (meaning it can go on both land and water) vehicle, a DUKW, or duck in common usage.

A London duck tour is an entertaining way to see the city, particularly for children. The tours are usually conducted in a light-hearted manner, with the tour guide dressed in an outlandish costume and accompanied by amusing sound effects throughout the tour. This is combined with a unique perspective of London, both from land and from the river Thames, all while aboard the same vehicle.

London Duck ToursIn London, the official Duck tours take in all the sights of the City of Westminster. Sights to see include Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament; essentially, the Duck tours cover the best of what London has to offer. The vehicles used for the Duck tours are also uniquely British; they were once used to take troops ashore for the D-Day landings of the second World War.

The tours operate all year round, with the last tour depending on when dusk falls. The official Duck tours operator recommends pre-booking if you intend to take the tour during the peak holiday periods – June through to August of any year – or on national holidays and bank holidays. At other times, it is possible to book the tour on the day. The tour operators also recommend that any group over three people should book a month in advance to ensure being seated together and on the same tour.

The tour departs from Chicheley Street, Waterloo, which is located just behind the London Eye. The nearest underground stations are Embankment, a five minute walk away, Westminster, a seven minute walk away, and Waterloo, also a seven minute walk away. There is also main line stations Charing Cross, Waterloo East and Waterloo nearby; so finding the launching point of the Duck should not be an issue.

The tours begin on land. They take in the likes of Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament before launching into the water at the slipway at Vauxhall. The tour then takes to the water along the river Thames, then returning to disembark at the start point. The tour takes approximately 75 minutes.

The real fun of a London Duck tour is the novelty. Amphibious vehicles are an interesting way to see the city, and are definitely a fun variation on the standard open top bus tour that London is famous for. The Ducks are also covered, making them usable in all weather conditions; a useful asset in the often rain soaked city of London.

A Duck tour for an adult starts at L19. For children under the age of 12, a full tour costs L13, while ages 13 to 17 years tickets cost L15. Infant tickets need to be booked, but are free. Students and old age pensioner concessions are priced at L15. If travelling as a family, the cheapest way to see London aboard a duck is with the Family ticket – which covers two children under the age of 12 and two adults – and is priced at L57.50.