Recently, very good friends of ours asked if we would like to borrow their flat in London for the weekend. How could we refuse? As a family we have never been to London, apart from one visit to see “The Tiger Who Came To Tea”, which was great. So we hopped on the train on Friday morning and settled down to a picnic lunch. Both children were incredibly excited, even thought we’d said very little about what we were going to do.
The journey went smoothly and Husband jumped off at Clapham Junction to get the key to the flat. Kids and I carried onto Waterloo and then onto Arsenal to visit cousins. We had a great time and found a playground for the children and took a couple of photos of Daughter outside Arsenal football ground to be sent to her Godfather who is an avid fan. From there we headed to Piccadilly with the intention of eating at The Rainforest Cafe. The children’s eyes were on stalks as we walked in, but as we waited for our table Son thought it was too noisy and Daughter didn’t want to wait. The reviews we had heard were mixed, so we headed off to find an alternative.
The following day starred with breakfast in a cafe, a must for Daughter who thought it was a great way to start the day. Son needed food and we had to manage a bit of a tantrum until he got outside a couple of croissants. We then headed off to The Science Museum. The most exciting part of London it seems were the “moving stairs” in the Underground. At the Science Museum we barely touched the surface, but did watch a 3D IMAX, which was all about landing on the moon. The film was an animation and included three boy flies who wanted to land on the moon, their parents, who watched in horror on television and the real astronauts. The 3D was certainly impressive with rockets and flies whizzing past our shoulders (or so it seemed), the only bad part was when a spider climbed down it’s web about 2 feet to our right. Son screamed and visibly shook, Daughter removed her 3D glasses and Husband did a brilliant job of calming Son down. Afterwards we headed for lunch and then spent a bit of time at The Natural History Museum – again barely scraping the surface.
Back to the flat for a break, and then out to supper. We jumped on a bus (disappointment that there were no moving stairs) and to Covent Garden. We were a little concerned to see so many Police outside Parliament and even more around Trafalgar Square, until we spotted the Miner’s Union Flag and realised it was a protest again Margaret Thatcher, whose funeral was the following Wednesday. I lived in London for a few years, including during the Poll Tax Riots (that ages me), I was a little on edge, however it seemed to be a mostly peaceful protest and did not spoil our evening.
The weather so far had not been brilliant, but we woke on Sunday to glorious sunshine and were very excited to be meeting up with Daughter’s godmother, who was joining us on the Duck Tour. I would recommend this tour, particularly if you manage a sunny day. It’s different, it’s fun and (yes) it’s touristy!! Be prepared to quacking, cheering and laughing. You spend most of the time going by road, seeing lots of sights and then go onto the River Thames, by the M16 building, down to the Houses and Parliament and back. The children absolutely loved it, as did the adults.
We then headed to Tower Bridge to Strada, with quite a view for lunch!
Afterwards it was back to the flat, on the river taxi, cleared up the flat and to the train station. Unfortunately SouthWest trains were not at their best and the six carriage train was only three. There was literally nowhere else to stand and we were extremely grateful to the mother who squashed up with her four year old, so that our two could squeeze next to her and sit down.
When I ask the children what was the “best bit” – it was easy – “the moving stairs in the Underground, Mummy”!