Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Great British Road Trip: London

We visited London for the first time about 7 years ago, when Toby still fit in a crib and did SO MUCH on that short 3 day weekend, that this time around we just wanted to spend our day strolling and not doing a lot of what you might think of as "must do" sightseeing.

Our first stop was the Harry Potter store in King's Cross Station.  We had planned to do the photo op at platform 9 3/4, but even first thing in the morning the line was an hour deep.  Charlotte said she didn't really care, and would rather see the city, so we didn't hang around.

The kids liked riding the tube and the big red double-decker buses around.  Transportation + entertainment = win.  The British Library was our next stop but it was closed for Good Friday! Dang it.  We had visited there before, but both Rob and I were looking forward to seeing their treasures again. 

After that disappointment, we trudged on to the British Museum.  Charlotte and Toby have become quite the experts on Greek mythology lately as they've been reading the Percy Jackson series together.  Toby says he most wants to visit Athens, so we'll have to try to make that happen, but I told him that some of the most famous Greek sculptures are actually in the British Museum.  
The "Elgin Marbles" were originally part of the pediment, or top of the Parthenon in Athens.  They have been displayed in the British Museum since the early 1800s.  Charlotte and Toby read the description beneath each sculpture to see which God or Goddess was being represented.  They know way more about this than I do.

Jakey mainly wanted to see a mummy.  He was also asking me a lot of questions about the mummification process and wanted to make sure that the mummies could NOT come back to life and chase him.  It was really crowded in the Egypt area, but we saw some mummies and managed the experience without having any nightmares that night.

London was so incredibly crowded!  We decided to try and escape the crowds for a while in St. James Park.  The flowers were beautiful, and while there were a lot of people here too, we got an ice cream and headed to the playground.

Our kids love going to playgrounds and meeting other kids that speak English.  But we heard so many different languages in London... more so than anywhere else we have visited recently.

And you can see Buckingham Palace from the playground.  No big deal for these mini-globetrotters.

Next we headed toward Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and Parliament. The kids insisted on getting into one of the phonebooths.  It actually still had a pay phone in it!  Very novel to our little ones growing up in the smartphone era.

Big Rob and Big Ben.
From Westminster, we next headed toward the London Eye which we had tickets for that evening. The most direct route was across Westminster Bridge- site of a recent terror attack.  We stopped to listen to this bagpiper and watch the boats in the river.  Before going to the Eye, we found a nice Italian restaurant called Locale and sat down to relax and enjoy pizza and pasta after all of our walking.

Then it was on to the grand finale.  The London Eye!  Tickets are timed to a 30 minute window, and you have to get in line 30 minutes before your assigned time.  The line moved quickly once we finally got in it, but Amelie did manage to take a nap with Rob and I taking turns holding her.

The Eye does not stop very often.  You get into your pod while it is slowly moving with the river just below you.  At this point, I was questioning my judgement. I don't like heights much, and I especially don't like ferris wheels.

It moves slowly and you make one trip around the wheel.  It hardly felt like it was moving and it was completely enclosed which made me feel safer- no one could fall out.

Nearly to the top, I took a photo of the pod next to us.

And Rob took this shot of Parliament from the top.

Final group selfie of the Great British Road Trip! 
The London Eye was a neat experience, but not one I feel like we need to repeat.

Nearby we found a carousel and playground so of course we had to visit those before heading back to our hotel for the night.  I find it hilarious when Rob forgets to smile in these selfies because he is concentrating!  But he did get Toby, Jake, and Charlotte all into the picture.  (London was the only place where I found two triple hotel rooms cheaper than an airbnb accommodation.)

The next morning we were on the road by 7:30 am and headed home!  We took the ferry from Dover back to Calais and I got one last photo of England- the white cliffs of Dover. By the time we got home that night we had driven 2,960 miles!  Everyone was exhausted and Rob and I were both starting to get sick.  But we made a TON of memories on this trip, and it was really a once in a lifetime experience. I love it when a plan comes together.

1 comment:

OUR HOUSE said...

Yay! I loved reading through all your blog posts from this trip, and I had a huge smile on my face the whole time. Totally made me want to go back to England, AGAIN! :) There's just so much to see there. I'm glad it was such a good trip for you.