It’s well documented that I’m not the biggest fan of water, but I do like boats. Strange, but true. I can see the beauty in them, all shapes and sizes, the history of their development over the years. Daddy P used to own jet skis and a hovercraft, and loves anything involving boats so was excited to be invited to the London Boat Show 2014 along with Monkey, now aged 4. Daddy P has visited the London Boat Show many times at Earls Court and more recently at Excel London, and we visited the show together in 2008. I was interested to return with a child in tow – would Monkey be welcome, would he enjoy it? The show opened on Saturday and we visited on Sunday 5th, it runs until this coming Sunday, 12th January.
It’s really easy to get to Excel London, based by the Victoria Docks in the Docklands area of London. We decided to drive down and park at the Victoria Docks multi story car park. Be warned, parking around the exhibition centre has a flat 24 hour charge of £15.00. I guess for London, that is quite cheap, but it did come as a bit of a shock. We don’t remembering it being that expensive on our last visit when we parked in the outside car park on the other side of the centre. But we weren’t going to let that put us off, and Monkey was eager to explore. He couldn’t grasp that he was going to see boats inside a building!
Tickets cost £20 each for adults, if you buy online you get a reduction to £16, children under 13 are free. There are also cheaper deals for Mon-Weds visits and for a family pass.
It took us about an hour and half to get to the London Boat Show, so we had a quick coffee at the in-house Costa Coffee outlet, and then started to explore.
Daddy P owns a Landrover, it is his prized possession, he is a Landrover man through and through, so the first exhibit caught his eye straight away. A Landrover and a Landrover sponsored catamaran!
The main exhibits are all housed within one vast hall, easily managed with a buggy or pram, although as with all exhibitions I can imagine it might be a bit tight at busy times. I was surprised to see a lot of children around the London Boat Show, Monkey was made to feel welcome, relief!
We walked around the various stands, looking at ropes, trying to explain rigging to Monkey, we related it back to his pirate ship – he got the idea. We saw stands selling all sorts of accessories for marine craft, bells, anchors, even outdoor bean bags and portable BBQ grills (both of which I need to investigate further). There was a lot to see, a lot to talk about, a lot to keep Monkey amused.
Then to the boats – whether you want to look at canoes, jetskis, submersibles or yachts, you’ll find it at the London Boat Show 2014! There is so much to see, if you take your shoes off you are welcome to climb aboard the bigger boats. They are superb. Monkey was a little overawed by them, was happy to look from the outside, not happy to go aboard.
Daddy P was happy showing Monkey the various jetskis and hovercraft and I got to look at the powerboats which I love, memories of Dubai! I think Monkey’s favourite were the submersibles on the Spymaster stand. There was a model of a two-man submersible and a solo version of display. Monkey was in Octonaut heaven, he was mesmerised. The stand also had some Robsteps (like Segweys) we quite fancy winning one of those!
Next up was a visit to the Water Sports pool to watch the activities being run by the Rockley Academy. Sessions for kids are free, but popular, so sign up quickly if your kids want to join in (full details are on the Boat Show website). Monkey’s a bit too young, but we loved watching the zorbing and canoes.
Time for a lunch break, the Quayside Cafe can be reached by steps and a lift. The only downside for a younger family is the lack of kids lunchbox type options. The sandwiches were lovely, but if you have a fussy eater you might struggle.
Monkey settled down to eat his sandwich and enjoy the view of Victoria Docks. Once lunch was finished we ventured outside to see the outside exhibits. Again, you are welcome to go aboard but we couldn’t persuade Monkey. Never mind, he was happy to look from the walkway.
We were keen to see the Massey Shaw Fireboat demonstrate its water cannon, Monkey is Fireman Sam mad, and he loved the idea of a boat that could put fires out! The reach of the water cannon was quite impressive, and took a few people by surprise.
Back inside, time for Monkey and Daddy to try the interactive games on the Royal Navy stand – it was a case of the blind leading the blind, but they had fun!
We’d had a lovely time, seen lots of interesting things and it was time to leave. Great day Mummy! Guess we’ll be back again next year then 🙂
disclaimer: we were offered free entry to the London Boat Show 2014 in exchange for an honest review.