Days Out

Sightseeing with London Duck Tours

Recently the Hubby and I had a child free overnight stay in London, which doesn’t happen very often. I love our amazing capital city. It’s full of history and heritage. During the last year I have been to London 5 or 6 times, which has been amazing, attending various different events but this time the Hubby joined me.

London Duck Tours

As we are not the most decisive people in the world, other than going for a lovely meal at the OXO Tower,Β we couldn’t decide what to do while we visited. Β We have never really just visited to be tourists. On this trip we fancied doing a London Bus tour, but then London Duck Tours got in contact asking if we would like to join them for a sightseeing tour. We had both heard great things about the Duck Tours as my Brother-In-Law had been on them a couple of times before, so we went for it.

London Duck Tour

The Ducks were originally used in the Second World War, to unload troops and cargo straight onto beaches, after so many docks had been destroyed. The Ducks have been rebuilt and modified to meet todays regulations.

The Tour

Arriving in London to the start of the Duck Tour on York Road, we released as it was the Queens Birthday. So the Classic Tour of Westminster was not possible. I was a bit disappointed as I loved the thought of going past Buckingham Palace, St James Palace and Westminster Abbey. Instead we went on ‘The City Tour’ which is used when they are unable to go via the Classic Route.

London Duck Tour

We went past the Royal Courts of Justice, Fleet Street, the magnificent St Pauls Cathedral, being informed of different snippets of history along the way by Ben the rather cute English man with an New Zealand accent.

London Duck Tour

On to the Bank of England, learning about its vaults and how a tube line has to go around the underground vaults. The Monument to the Fire of London, the Tower of London and seeing HMS Belfast sitting on the water.

London Duck Tour

Across to The Shard, Southwark Cathedral and the Imperial War Museum. My Hubby was very impressed by all of the information we had been given. He’s a bit of a history geek so knows a fair amount anyway, but even he learnt a few bits.

London Duck Tour

We headed onto the water next to MI6 which was a bumpy ride down the river bank into the water, getting onto the water it was surprisingly cold. We sailed the up the Thames to the Houses of Parliament. Seeing the Elizabeth Tower, mistakenly called – Big Ben, from the water was lovely.

London Duck Tour

We headed up a the Thames before turning around and heading back to the starting point at York Road.

London Duck Tour

We had a fabulous trip with London Duck Tours, I would highly recommended anyone booking a trip. They are such a novel way of seeing the sights of London in an humorous yet informative manner. Next time we are in London, I shall make sure that there isn’t a big event going on so I am able to do the Classic tour.

*We were given tickets for the Duck Tour in exchange for review, as always thoughts and opinions are my own*

 

My Top 5 UK City Breaks

top 5 uk city breaks

The Hubby and I love a UK city break. More often than not, its a family trip. However on the odd occasion, when we have a couple of child free nights, its great to get away. When we look for a couple of nights away we like to choose different cities. The UK has many stunning places to visit. The UK has some of the most culture rich cities in the world, each steeped in history.

We have chosen our top 5 UK cities to visit, York, Edinburgh, Bath, Cardiff and of course, our capital city, London.

York

top 5 uk city breaks

York is my most favourite place to visit. Having stayed on many occasion both with and without children. Each visit we find a new corner of this amazing city we haven’t yet explored or a new favourite thing to do. This city is packed with history, visiting the Jorvik centre is a great way to learn about Yorks Viking history. It’s not just somewhere for children but great for adults as well. We have visited alone and with the children.

Walking though the shambles, seeing all the old shop fronts, popping in and out of the little shops. Just watch out for the cobbles. There are also lots of lovely antiques shops to wonder around. York Minister is a beautiful thing just to look at, even if you don’t go inside. However if you do, make sure you ‘climb the central tower’ it takes you up on to the roof walk, so gives you the best views of the city.

York is packed full of places to visit, restaurants, bars, unique shops. Not forgetting the famous afternoon teas at Bettys.

York is well worth a visit.

Edinburgh

top 5 uk city breaks

Edinburgh is a beautiful old city, full of cobbled streets and little alleys full of stylish boutiques. One thing I just love about Edinburgh is it’s city centre. It’s quite small so you can easily walk everywhere. Not having to jump on a tube or bus to see something new. Edinburgh has recently been named the UK’s Greenest City. You’re never far from rolling hills and lush inner city parks.

If you want to make the most of your trip to Edinburgh why not book a personal city guide, they will help you explore the city and fill you in on its rich history. Just make sure you visit Edinburgh castle, it dominates the city sky line and gives you some of the best views of the city.

No trip to Scotland is complete without Whisky (not Whiskey!), luckily there are lots of Whisky bars to choose from while you are there. Plus there are lots of different hotels and accommodation options to pick.

Bath

top 5 uk city breaks

Bath is another of the UK’s most beautiful cities. In fact it is the only entire city to have been awarded the accolade of World Heritage Site. Bath is the only place in the UK you can bathe in naturally hot spa water and home to the Roman Baths. People have been visiting Bath for over a thousand years just to experience the naturally warm, mineral rich waters.

The City of Bath is famous for its Cresent’s, housing the most in the UK. The Royal Cresent is beautiful to visit, showing off the largest collection of Georgian architecture in the UK.

If you are wanting a relaxing trip to Bath, you should visit the Thermae Bath Spa in the city centre. Relax in the thermal waters and enjoy the roof top swimming pool, that gives you great views of the city. Something that I would love to do, but haven’t been able to just yet… one day.

There are many other fabulous places to visit, including Bath Abbey, or take a walk around the city on the National Trust Sky Walk Trail.

Of course, shopping is brilliant in Bath, with local boutiques and high street stores set within Georgian buildings. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and hotels so Bath has something for everyone. Having written this post I cant wait to start planning our next trip to Bath.

Cardiff

top 5 uk city breaks

 

Cardiff is the capital city of Wales. Home to many historic houses, Dr Who, the Millennium Stadium and the newly developed Bay area. The National Opera house is meant to be an amazing place to visit, so it is on the list for our next trip to Cardiff. Β Cardiff Bay is the largest water front development in Europe, which has transformed the dockland into an attraction all on its own.

Full of great restaurants and little bars, there is something for everyone in Cardiff. There are also plenty of hotels and B & B’s to cover all price ranges. The National Museum and Art Gallery is free to enter and has a stunning room of rocks and minerals, just amazing. There is also the Royal Mint experience, great for families too.

Cardiff is full of history. There are lots of Ghost walks all around the city, allowing you to have some fun but also learn about the history along the way. If you are planning a city break, Cardiff should be at the top of your list.

London

top 5 uk city breaks

London is our capital city, the hub of British history, fashion, business and tourism. Not forgetting our Royal Family. London is busy, but amazing. I have loved every trip we have made to London. Being a day trip on the train or a couple of nights staying in a cute boutique hotel in Covent Garden.

One thing we haven’t done is a open bus tour, which is the plan for our next visit. They take you around to all of the major sights: Buckingham Palace, The Mall, Big Ben, West Minster Abbey, The Houses of Parliament, London Bridge… the list is endless. It’s a great way of taking in the sights. But that isn’t all London has to offer, with the London Eye, Madame Tussauds and The London Dungeons there is so much to do in London with or without children.

Shopping is just brilliant in London. If you can’t find something in London, it’s unlikely you will find it on any other high street. Designer shops, boutiques, vintage shops and high street stores can all be found on the streets of London. Not forgetting the vibrant, multicultural markets.

Food is at the heart of life in London, with some of the most renowned restaurants in the country. So finding a great place to eat isn’t a problem, just make sure you book a table. There are clubs and bars are all over the city so night life in London is always exciting. Don’t forget to book in for afternoon tea in one of the many hotels in London, I love afternoon tea anyway but afternoon tea in London just seems more special.

London is a wonderful place to visit, it’s something that people either love to do or hate. I love it and would highly recommend that everyone goes at least once to see our capital city.

So there are my top picks for UK city breaks, York, Bath, Edinburgh, Cardiff and London.

What’s your favourite city in the UK to visit?