I'm back today and sharing the second part of our trip to London. You can see Part 1 HERE
. I'm actually having so much fun going through my photos and memories because we had the best time on this trip. The kids were at perfect ages to enjoy it. Each day we would leave the hotel in the morning and return after a very full day of walking, sightseeing and exploring the city. Any younger and we would have had lots of complaints, but the kids were such troopers.
Day 3: Window Shopping at Harrods, Afternoon Tea
As I mentioned yesterday, I really tried to pick things that all of the kids would enjoy, but I knew shopping at Harrods would probably not be at the top of my son's list. However, he was a good sport about it and my girls were in heaven...especially my oldest!
Seeing all of the of the designer brands up close and personal had her wishing for a million dollars! We didn't find much in there that she could afford, but it was still so much fun to look.
We went to the bottom floor to their food hall and loved checking out all of the goodies! You could get everything from meat to cook for dinner, fresh pasta, pre-made sandwiches or made-to-order smoothies. Then there is an entire room dedicated to sweets! Everyone got a small snack and some sweets to hold us over until the next thing on our schedule which was afternoon tea!
Afternoon tea was at the very top of my list for things to do in London. I probably researched this the most because there are just SO many different options. What I learned after talking to friends who had gone and from my own research is that it can be VERY expensive..especially for a family of five. Many places I looked into offered afternoon tea for $65-$85 per person. Also, for most of these nicer places it was going to be a coat and tie sort of event. Because we were limiting our luggage to a carry on for each of us AND because I knew my crew wouldn't want to be that dressed up for tea we opted for a more reasonable afternoon tea experience.
I made reservations at The Wolseley
and it was wonderful! It was the perfect mix of not too fussy, while still feeling like a special occasion.
We all picked a different type of tea, taste tested all of the sandwiches and sweets, and put our pinkies up to try to fit in!
We spent the rest of that day just strolling the streets of London, shopping at some more reasonably priced stores, exploring the different neighborhoods and soaking it all in!
Day 4: Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Lion King
On our fourth day we started off with a visit to the Tower of London
. There is SO much history here and the guides who take you around to share everything were really entertaining, but my kids lost interest pretty quickly because it was such a large group so we explored on our own.
There were so many different buildings and interactive exhibits to see.
The thing I was most excited about at the Tower of London was seeing the Crown Jewels
There was a line, but it moved pretty quickly and it was entertaining for the kids to wait because they watched the guards marching out front! They were intimidating!
Sadly, photographs aren't allowed inside where the Crown Jewels are housed, but it was amazing to see them up close and personal.
On the grounds of the Tower of London we had a perfect view of Tower Bridge (which we learned is often mistaken as London Bridge).
Since we were so close we decided to walk across Tower Bridge and get some more photos! It's so beautiful and the intricate details are impressive.
Next we made our way to the West End theater district. We did some souvenir shopping, grabbed a quick dinner and got ready to see The Lion King.
Before I started researching about our trip I had no idea that London had a theater district
, similar to Broadway in New York. Every big show was there and the hardest part was just picking which one we were going to see. I ultimately decided that The Lion King would be a crowd pleaser since the kids all knew the music. It was a great production!
Day 5: Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Shopping & Exploring
For our last day in London we visited a few of the museums. The entry was free, but I just had to reserve tickets ahead of time. We stayed at the Double Tree in Hyde Park, so we were able to walk from our hotel to all the museums. The Natural History Museum was up first and there we got to see Dippy the Dinosaur.
We sort of breezed through the museum and it was too early for lunch so we popped into the Science Museum right next door and wouldn't you know we breezed through that, too. I learned on this trip that my kids are not interested in museums. If I had to do it again we probably would have planned a short day trip to see one of the other surrounding castles or landmarks.
You know what my kids did love though? The promise of bubble tea if we could get through the museums! Ha!
We ate our last traditional London meal of fish 'n chips in a local pub.
Did a little more shopping and then called it an early night because the next day we were going to have to be up super early for the train to PARIS!!!
I'll share about our whirlwind 24 hours in Paris later this week so be sure to check back for that!
A few things to note about our time in London and observations that we made:
Because we stayed in Hyde Park a lot of what we did the beginning of the trip was more "downtown" London so we had to ride the train or take taxis. Uber was also easily available, but taxis were everywhere so we tended to do that over Uber. When we could we walked and walked and walked. Comfortable shoes are a must!
The kids really picked up on how different the culture is in a big European city like London especially when it came to the walking. It was no big deal for us (and everyone else there) to walk long distances to get somewhere when at home we hop in the car to go anywhere. My girls were commenting on how everyone is so healthy and in shape in London and made the connection to how much they move their bodies compared to Americans.
Two things I found lacking in the city were pubic restrooms and public trash cans. It was hard to find bathrooms in parks or even in stores to use. Trashcans on the streets were far and few between which was sort of odd to me, but just an observation.
I feel like my kids were at the perfect ages to do a trip like this for a variety of reasons. In my head I had pictured that we would do a morning activity, come back to the hotel after lunch and then have some time to regroup before the evening or dinner, but once we left after breakfast we were gone for the day. It just didn't make sense to be zig-zagging across the city. It made for VERY long days, but the kids were absolute troopers.
It was also nice that we could decide to stop in a pub, grab a drink and just take a load off for a little while. The kids were happy to sit, scroll on their phones and just veg out for a little bit while we sat and talked. They were just easy!
The Queen had died just a few weeks before we were set to travel to London and we weren't sure how that would affect our plans. Thankfully by the time we got there most everything was back up and running. The only thing we had to cancel for our trip was the tour of Buckingham Palace which remained closed to the public for the rest of the year.
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