So I think we are probably at the midway point of the summer holidays. My God, it feels like it’s been months already. Don’t get me wrong, I love the bones of Dexter (obviously), but being a single parent who works from home AND has to entertain a child for six weeks can be quite tough.
Luckily, we were invited by MBNA Thames Clippers to spend the day with them in London and I jumped at the chance. Amazingly, after working in London for 18 years and only living an hour away, I’ve never been on a boat on the Thames before so I thought it would be a fun day for the both of us.
We met at Embankment Pier and it was only myself and the lovely Helen from Actually Mummy attending, along with our children. Sometimes it’s really nice to have such a small blogger event because you really get to experience the personal touch. The plan was we were going to catch one of the boats and go down to the O2, do some activities down there, have lunch, go on the cable car and catch the boat back.
The weather, however, had other plans.
A quick word about the boat itself … firstly, it’s a lot bigger than I ever realised. It feels really spacious on board and there is a nice area at the back of the boat where you can sit outside, but still be under cover. Which came in handy when the downpour of rain arrived! The boats arrive every 20 minutes or so and go as far west as Putney and as far east as Woolwich. The timetable, however, is a little more flexible at the weekend.
Getting on and off the boat is a very quick and slick operation so even though there were a fair few stops between Embankment and the O2, it was all done really quickly. Oh, and there is a bar on board, which also helped!
Once we arrived at the O2, slightly sodden, Dexter’s first port of call was the Soccer AM set-up outside Sky Studios and he tried his hand, or rather his foot, at the goal scoring activity. We then did the Sky Studios tour, which we have already done and you can read about that here, but this time it was geared towards Sky Sports which is even more up Dexter’s street. He even took part in a sports quiz so that he could win a packet of sweets! It’s amazing what he’ll do for a pack of Haribo. I might try using it to get him to tidy his room. Anyway, I digress …
I didn’t actually realise the next part of the day was going to happen, but we were lucky enough to be given a backstage tour of the O2 itself – very exciting! The best bit about the backstage tour was seeing the secret to green rooms that the top stars use when they are performing. One room in particular caught my eye and that was the Fab Room, full of secret PlayStations, DJ decks, tabletop arcade games and red-lit bars (fully stocked with several types of champagne of course!) It was nice fantasising that I was a famous popstar, even if it was only for five minutes.
Lunch was at Five Guys and Dexter thought he had died and gone to heaven because I didn’t make him share his chips with me for once AND he got an Oreo milkshake! WINNING! I’ve mentioned Five Guys before, but seriously, if you haven’t been you really must try it out – the best burger I’ve ever had.
We were meant to try out the cable car ride that goes from one side of the river to the other but unfortunately the weather was so bad that they had to shut the ride down. However, we do have tickets to try it out again so I will report back at a later date on that. Dexter was equally pleased and sad we couldn’t ride the cable car as he is slightly afraid of heights, but also said he wanted to “conquer his fear” … so we will definitely be back.
It was now time to make our way back to Embankment so we caught about and before we knew it we were back in the centre of town again. MBNA Thames Clippers offer a great ‘roamer’ ticket which allows you to hop on and off most destinations along the Thames (pricing below) Maybe you could have a whole day doing that, getting off at the Tower of London and Greenwich for example and not only is it really good value for money, it’s SO much nicer than the tube! You can also get another ticket that also includes a cable car ride.
We had done a lot of walking and were glad to be back on board, enjoying the sights of London again. It really is an eye-opener seeing the sights of London from a different perspective, for example sailing under Tower Bridge and going past HMS Belfast … amazing views. Couple that with a cold G&T and you’re set.
A big thank you to MBNA Thames Clippers and the O2 for such a wonderful day out. Dexter and I were exhausted, but very very happy.
* Further information:
The eastern-most pier is at Woolwich and to the west it’s Putney. The River Roamer ticket is valid on all services except RB6 Putney to Blackfriars and River Bus Express.
If you book online, an adult River Roamer costs £14.70 for an adult, £7.35 for a child or £32.50 for a family ticket. A family ticket is valid for 2 adults and up to 3 children. A child is between the age of 5 and 15 and under 5s travel free.
There is the option to book a River Roamer ticket combined with the Emirates Air Line cable car ticket. Online prices are £50 for a family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children), or £23.10 for an adult and £12.35 for a child.