We felt a little crazy to be skipping off to England for 10 days with small children BUT being Australian and knowing the horror that is 25 hour long flights, a 6 hour direct flight felt like an opportunity too good to miss. And it was good...so good. How I love London. I came to London as a 20 year old and crammed my days full of the sites. This time was very different, the kids force you to slow down and with the slower pace we had some of our most memorable experiences.
We had an overnight flight that went okay, Finley was great, Primrose just hates confined spaces. Our original Air BnB had messed us around, so we were a bit nervous about our last minute find but it turned out to be great (I should add for the price), nothing fancy but above a bakery, 5 minutes walk from Westminster and there was a market set up right on the street everyday, perfect for grabbing fruit and snacks. It felt perfectly London and just right for us. We didn't waste any time. We had a brief nap when we arrived and then headed out for the rest of the day. We walked down to Westminster, saw the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, crossed the iconic Westminster Bridge and snapped a few pics. Levi was really keen to go on the London Eye and it's what Finley remembers most from the trip. What a view! I love that skyline with the Thames winding and history laid out right there in front of you. That night we ate a Jamie's Italian which did not disappoint (to die for pasta), except of course that the man himself wasn't there.
The next day we stocked up at the bakery and walked over to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guards. We sat in the park and ate and played with the kids until it was time and we made our way over with the masses to watch. It turns out that this isn't the best thing to do with prams or children. The crowd had that rude urgency we all know and in the end we had to abort the plan all together. Walking away it made me grateful for the experience really, look I can watch the changing of the guard on youtube. I really hate crowd mentality and it was great to just walk away and not be apart of it. We got our fill walking down the street with the horses and guards passing and as Finley likes to say 'The Queen is very busy and important and couldn't have seen us anyway!' We made our way through St James park and down to Trafalgar Square and then hopped on the site seeing bus. I didn't do this last time and was glad that we did. We really got to see so much of London and learn lots of tidbits along the way. We decided to spend the rest of the day at the Natural History Museum where Finley got to see a T-Rex and a giant whale and we really enjoyed the beauty of the building and the wonders within. The night we ate at Blanches Eatery just across the street from our flat and Levi opted to give his night out alone a miss to spend time with us, like the sweetheart that he is.
Our last full day in London was by far my favourite. We hopped on the site seeing bus and made our way to the Tower of London. We had fun navigating the tiny little walkways and stairs with the Pram and were awed by the history there. Levi's mum use to always make reference to the 'Crown Jewels' so it was really cool for Levi to be there and see them. The are gorgeous. Afterwards we ate ice cream while the kids chased the birds, with the guards still as can be watching on.
I had read that there was a very exclusive dock nearby for the boats of the rich and famous so we wandered over there. Everyone must have been sailing that day as it was fairly bare but we loved the walk and found a perfect market for lunch just under Tower Bridge. Hands down this was some of the best market food I have ever seen, it was so hard to decide but I settled on Moroccan and Levi got an out of this world burger. We sat there, under the Bridge eating our finds and loving life. It was a highlight really, just sitting there, being in this incredible city, surrounded by history and eating it's spoils. After lunch we went for a walk across the bridge and got a few keepsakes in the gift store. We decided to walk along the other shore, down to The Globe and the Tate and then end the night with the evensong at St Paul's Cathedral. We loved the walk, it wound through some tunnels and smaller streets and just as the rain hit we made it to the Tate and spent some time questioning Modern Art...my favourite quote of Levi's was ' I'm sure there is some modern art that is good, but this isn't it!'. Look the Tate is huge and I remember last time I was there loving it, but the installation we stumbled into was of giants stuffed bags resembling potatoes and paper clips laid out in the shape of a paper clip...not very inspiring. Prim did love running around on a rubber streets-cape and we had lots of fun driving Finley's London Bus down the sloped walkway of the main hall. We also got to view through binoculars the Peregrine birds that make their home in the walls of the Tate. We made it to St Paul's in the belting rain and caught about 15 minutes of the beautiful music until the kids decided it was time to press on : ) By divine intervention a bus arrived just as we needed it and we were spared getting too wet. That night I took my leave and went to see Wicked. I had a great stroll to the theater and really enjoyed seeing it again, though on second viewing the story became less plausible...the pieces don't quite fit.. though I love it all the same.
We had a fantastic breakfast the next day and then it was time to say goodbye to London and head off to the country side. We had a few last minute dramas, getting our hire car for one but most memorably in a hilarious lapse of judgement Finley threw his beloved toy cat Tabitha out of the second storey window and it landed on top of a van. I literally could not stop laughing, luckily daddy saved the cat and the day in both cases.
London we love you. What a city!