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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Tourist in your own town

Riverboat Better than London Underground?

Every so often it's good to be a tourist in your own town. I had lived in Kew for about seven years and yet had never taken a boat trip from Kew Pier into Westminster or even the other direction out of London and into Hampton Court. But today,
Neil and I decided to do it. We intended to go to Hampton Court cos it was prettier but due to lots of miscommunication between me and the guy at Westminster Passenger Service Association we ended up going to Westminster instead - a 90 minute leisurely journey.

The Riverboat Route

Neil will blog a lot more of the pictures on route, but I'm sticking to the tube related-ish and London Transport stuff for the blog and it's more to do with what we saw when we left our boat (below) at Westminster.

Our River Boat at Westminster

Westminster Pier Flag - picture taken by Neil

When you come up from the boats and get to the top of Westminster Bridge, it is heaving with tourists and whenever somewhere is heaving with tourists you'll find people trying to sell them a lot of tourist tat.

I particularly liked the London Underground Map Boxer Shorts with "Wapping" station prominently at the front (an indication of the size of the wearer's men's bits?)

London Underground Boxer Shorts

I had to buy some batteries for my camera, so went to the stall holder and used my best London accent and said "Sigh, so how much will the batteries be here?" She looked embarrassed and said "Eight pounds for a pack of four". I feigned shock. "You are joking?" She looked embarrassed again, "You could go to Tesco's, it's not too far". Obviously I couldn't be bothered, "Well would you just sell me two?", and fortunately she did for four pounds - still a rip off, but hey I needed them.

So I thought it was quite funny to see her sign saying that she accepted Euros above the little London Underground roundel badges. I felt like adding "and blood"

Euros and Blood Accepted

Going across Westminster Bridge and the inside of it was covered with a promotion from Transport for London highlighting their 5 year investment plan of providing a fast way for people to travel round London

Transport For London Posters at Westminster Bridge

So there were lots of images showing how quickly you could get to Westminster from various parts of London, using a variety of public transport. It was pretty appropriate to see the Kew Gardens to Westminster by boat one

Kew Gardens in 40 minutes

Admittedly it took us 90 minutes but we weren't on the commuter route which I think uses faster river boats. I also liked the two below:

Greenwich in 56 minutes

Lords in 15 minutes

We walked down along the river towards the London Eye going past City Hall and the Dali Universe gallery

Dali and the London Eye

Finally, as were coming into Westminster on the boat we sailed past the brilliant "Ducktours" boat/bus. This river boat turns into a tourist bus and leaves quite near to the London Eye. We heard the driver asking if anyone from France was on board as they would be driving past Trafalgar Square (London is currently celebrating the bi-centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar)!

Ducktours Bus and Boat

All in all, a good day being a tourist!

; Posted by Annie Mole Sunday, October 23, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon