We have just returned from a family break to London and, unlike our trip to Bristol, this time it lived up to my (high!) expectations! Having said that it was not without the odd hiccup regarding service, or lack of! Over all though it went very well, the children were well behaved (Andy too most of the time!), and a good time was had by all.
On arrival, oyster cards in our hot little hands, we jumped on a bus to take us to Waterloo where we then took the ten minute walk to our ‘hotel’ (Southwark Travelodge, I don’t recommend it!) After hassle getting the keys to our room we finally got in, un-packed, relaxed for about an hour and then set off for the South bank for our trip on the London Eye. Although I had wanted to pre-book our tickets to avoid queueing I found an offer whereby if you go to London by train you get a 2 for 1 offer, reducing the overall price from £100 to £46 (worth queueing, even for me!). However, at 2.00pm we queued for all of 5 minutes for our tickets and then got straight into our pod. (I soo love it when things go like this!)
I have to say I found getting on and off the London Eye a little scary, as it doesn’t actually stop and you have to take a running jump., Having said this, I have to admit I am a bit of a wuss at the best of times! Anyway, it was very enjoyable, as was the 4D experience that went along with it. We then went along to the south bank centre and had a drink before heading over the bridge to see the Houses of Parliament. I can’t say this was pleasurable, especially seeing the armed Police standing guard outside. The children didn’t like to see that either, but we explained that they probably needed to be there as so many people in society felt a LOT of anger towards the people contained within!! It was getting late by now, so we headed back to our room for an early night, in preparation for the following, very busy, day.
Early the next morning we headed off to Buckingham Palace, at Elena’s request, to watch the changing of the guards. We all soon agreed that it was ‘boring’, although we did have a good conversation with some friendly Argentinian tourists! Again, it felt weird being at the Palace and trying to explain to the children how wealthy the Queen is and how she doesn’t have to pay the bedroom tax on her spare 100+ rooms!! The children had a much better destination in mind – Hamleys toy shop!
Two, yes two, hours later we left Hamley’s, had a quick look at Piccadilly Circus, and then once again boarded a bus back to Southwark for a rest ahead of the main attraction that evening…WICKED – The Musical!
Boots has wanted to see Wicked for months and Elena also said she would really like to see it. It certainly wasn’t cheap though, £270 for 4 second row seats! It was so worth it though, just seeing the look on the children’s faces, especially when they sang ‘Defying Gravity’. It was a truly magical evening, rounded off by a good look at London at night on our way back. It was our first proper West End show and I truly hope it isn’t our last, but I did find the whole thing very elitist. On top of the ticket price, we also had to buy a programme and drinks, which were very expensive. Still, as a ‘once in a lifetime’ event it really was fantastic and an evening I don’t think any of us will forget in a hurry…(We now have the soundtrack and are made to listen to it on every car journey!)
The following day and time to leave. Both Elena and Boots were sad to leave and before we had even boarded the train back to Coventry (At a saving of £140 compared to if we had gone from Exeter!), they said ‘When can we come again?’
I certainly hope that it won’t be too long…