It is easy to dismiss tours as a parent, I always wonder, will they work for my kids, will they get bored and cause havoc? Whereas pre kids I might have dismissed a city tour in favour of a bar, these days I’m really keen to know more about where I am, however, incessant talking and whinging from my lovely kids can sometimes impede my quest for knowledge.
Nowadays there are so many innovative ways to tour cities, which help kids and parents get the most out of it. After recently coming back from a solo press trip where I didn’t have to organise anything, I am reminded how much joy there is in letting someone else guide you on holiday. So today I thought I would share a few of my favourite ways of getting about, the ones that truly made the trip come alive and might just get you a bit of peace too.
One of my most unforgettable travel moments was cycling through Bologna, sporting a Santa hat, a convoy of bike bells ringing as we passed under Christmas lights and stopped at bars and restaurants for tasters of Bologna’s amazing cuisine.
Although I am yet to try bike hire as a family, as my kids get older and more confident, cycling could be an incredibly liberating way for us to see a city. Many cities have cycle paths and routes through parks or along rivers, and some hire companies offer kids seats and tag alongs.
There are online bike rental services in most cities, Donkey Bike cover some of the most bike friendly cities across the world, offering bike rental in Madrid, Copenhagen, Berlin, Amsterdam, plus over 25 more cities.
When Mr A and I moved to London we spent a lot of time on river cruises, I don’t think there is a better way to truly get a feel for a city. The twists and turns of the Thames are so entwined in its history, culture and politics.
In Paris we loved taking the hop and and off buses along the Seine, it gives little legs a chance to recover and grown ups a chance to really appreciate the architecture ( or catch up on work emails in Mr A’s case). City breaks can be fast paced, but boats encourage you to take it slow.
Amsterdam is incredible by canal, it’s a gorgeous way to start to comprehend how this city built on canals functions.
By Open Top Bus
Don’t overlook bus tours, the kids are strapped in safely and distracted by the bird’s eye views, meaning parents can often sneak in a bit of commentary in a way they wouldn’t be able to moving round a museum.
I always associate Edinburgh with double deckers since I was small and used to visit my Gran, Aunt, Uncle and cousins there. Edinburgh is full of dramatic rooftops, statues and hills, which are magic to see from high up, especially when you are small. We took a hop on, hop off open top bus when we went last year. The Horrible Histories soundtrack kept the kids quiet while we enjoyed having time to pick up some
Duck tours are such an exciting way to see a city by land and by water. I would love to do the London one, but have done Boston. The tour takes you all over Boston on land and water in a W.W.II style amphibious landing vehicle. You hear all about the history and landmarks, take to the water and finish on the Charles river with stunning views of the Boston and Cambridge Skylines. Lots of fun and guaranteed to wow the kids!
What’s been your favourite city tour
Post in Collaboration with Donkey Tours, all opinions my own.