Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Let's Play Catch Up. 2015 Travels: London in July

Luckily I've already blogged about our April week in Cornwall and our May week in Spain, so we can skip straight on to London in July. This was just an overnight stop, so not too many photos to dull your senses.

We decided to drive to the Big Smoke, since travelling by train would have cost rather a lot of money; we toddled off early on a Sunday morning which was handy because it meant we were able to take advantage of free on-street parking when we got to our hotel (the Hilton London Hyde Park). Here's a terrible photo of the room, which was perfectly fine for the night that we were there although I guess it would have felt a bit squished if we'd been there longer.

The hotel was in a great location, bang opposite the Diana, Princess of Wales' Memorial Playground (more on that later) and just around the corner from Bayswater tube station.

After a quick unpack we headed straight out to make the most of our time. We asked DC whether he would like to go to the London Aquarium, to the Tower of London or to HMS Belfast. He chose the aquarium so we hopped on the tube and headed that-a-way.

It was DC's first time in London and, obviously therefore, his first ever time on the Tube. He seemed to take it all in his stride, although he does look a bit worried in the photo below!
A quick pit stop on Westminster Bridge to admire the Thames and the London Eye
and, of course, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (beneath cloudy skies, even though it was really rather warm that day.)
And then it was all about the underwater world. The glass floor that greets you as you enter is a winner, especially if there happens to be a shark gliding underneath!
We didn't find Nemo, but we did see Dory. We spent a good couple of hours in the aquarium and thoroughly enjoyed it. We even managed to get through the gift shop with just one small purchase, which was a result.
After a spot of lunch we decided a black cab back to the hotel was in order.

Then we headed over to the Memorial Playground in Hyde Park, which is absolutely fantastic (if you've got children!) There are lot of different zones, all centred round a huge wooden pirate ship. DC had a whale of a time climbing, sliding, swinging, etc. There's a small stream for paddling, lots of sand for digging and building, there are teepees for hiding in, treasure chests for discovering, all in all it's a wonderful place for children (and there are plenty of seats for the grown ups too.) It's extremely safe as there is a fence all the way round with only one entrance/exit (as far as I could tell), which is manned by a security guard and children are only allowed in/out with an adult. (And adults are only allowed in if accompanying children.) There's also a cafe right by the gate, although we didn't try it out. So, if you are in the area and have children that need entertaining I would absolutely recommend a visit here - and it's free, which is a bonus!

On Monday we had planned a re-visit to the playground but, surprise, we awoke to rain so had a change of plan. We decided to head to Westfield shopping centre for a spot of retail therapy, plus a tea/coffee/Lego stop.
And then we headed for the Natural History Museum. We got a couple of hours of on-street parking and headed to the entrance. Where there was an ENORMOUS queue. We asked a member of staff how long the wait might be and she said it could be 20+ minutes, Yuck. So, using our non-tourist brains, we simply headed round the corner to the other entrance and, voila, no queue at all. Honestly, not a single person, we just walked straight in. So there's a tip for you if you're heading here, carry on walking past the front of the museum towards the Victoria and Albert. Take a left on Exhibition Road and you'll find the entrance not far along. Admittedly you won't be greeted by the dinosaur skeleton (as seen below), but you can admire that on the way round and as you head out.
We had a lovely time at the museum, DC was especially taken with the earthquake simulator and the insect displays, as well as the fossils which came from Lyme Regis. And we had a great time in the shop...

And then we decided to head home. Back to the quiet of the countryside. First adventure of the summer holidays done, and more still to come!

1 comment:

  1. Love London, but it always wears me to a frazzle.


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