There were several things we did on this trip to London that NONE of us have done before. This is a post about all of that stuff. A lot of it was planned with the kids in mind, and we tucked away our pride and went Full Tourist.
Tower Bridge Tour
This was part of the London Pass and seemed logical to do since we went to the Tower of London as well. I love the Tower Bridge but have never done more than admire it from the riverbank. This tour allowed us to go to the top of the bridge, walk on glass floors, and tour the steam engine room. It was very pleasant. I probably would never have gone if it hadn’t been part of the pass. This is one of those times that the pass really worked how we had hoped. No thought went into price or value or anything like that. We just went.
We rented a flat that was almost equidistant from the London Bridge and Borough Underground stations. This was very convenient for checking out the Borough market nearly every single day. Some days we got dense brownies, cheeses, coffees, and ciders. Other days we got full English breakfasts or bacon baps. One day we went and found that it was not the regular Borough Market but a Bastille Day Festival. Rosalind passed a pleasant hour or more getting balloon animals, learning french, and coloring. Samantha got a really long show from a mildly crude, but very funny, street performer.
I’ve never been to a Legoland anywhere. It was a lot of fun, however, between the erratic weather and the long lines, I think we missed at least as much as we saw. Legoland is totally great for Rolo’s age because no matter whether the lines are long there are plenty of other things to entertain. A couple of playgrounds, games, tons of massive Lego builds, and rooms full of Lego materials to build with yourself. On the other hand, there are not really big rides to keep adventure seekers entertained, so make sure you know what you are getting into if are planning a Legoland visit.
One thing I learned on this day trip is that I would like to go back and spend time in Windsor. Adorable town. Amazing palace. The palace was part of our London Pass and part of our plan for the day. It turns out that by the time you travel out to Windsor by train and try to get around Legoland, you won’t really have time to do the palace. So these pictures are just what you can see as you walk out of the train station and down the high street.
I’m just putting out there that I need everyone I know to donate a lot of money to me so that I can uproot my entire life and go live in this crooked building in Windsor. It’s what I’m supposed to do in life. Live in a crooked, tiny, probably infuriating, totally impractical home. Thank you for your contribution!
High Tea at the Park Room
Rosalind loves tea parties. We planned this with her in mind but specifically chose the Park Room so that we could all enjoy ourselves. At the Park Room you can get children the Grover’s Tea. They get their own three tiered tea tray full of slightly more child friendly fare and a stuffed Grover dog at the end. I would be lying by omission if I didn’t tell you that I think I enjoyed high tea the most of anyone. So fun! We all chose our own pot of tea and then they brought out our food. Six tiers worth between the three adults. I was surprised to learn that everything was unlimited. You just don’t expect an all you can eat experience at high tea in a fancy British hotel, but yes, they kept bringing around more sandwiches and snacks. We really didn’t make much of a dent beyond the first round. In fact, at the end of tea it turned out that we were supposed to have cake – after 7 types (unlimited rounds) of small sandwiches, two types of scones and clotted cream, a selection of 8 jams, and something like 10 tiny, gorgeous desserts! I opted out of cake and the poor waitress seemed very concerned. She kept trying to have me take my cake for the road. Highly recommend this splurge with or without kids. There was a long married British couple behind us having what appeared to be a wonderfully romantic date so obviously no kids necessary.
We did dress up slightly for high tea but it poured rain on us on the way to the hotel. In the end I spent almost the entire time visibly drying out my shoulders and hair. Rosalind turned into a frizz ball. We did try though.
The Natural History Museum
After tea we grabbed just any bus because of the rain and ended up getting a nice little tour around Chelsea. After the rain died out we made our way to the Natural History Museum. This building is magnificent! I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before. I totally expected to find that the building had been something else before becoming a museum, but when I looked it up I found that the museums were built to be exactly what they were during the Victorian era. We ended up having to wait a while in the rain to get inside. We were there at the end of school terms and all the schools were out doing field trips. Seriously, all of them. The exhibits were very interesting, but I’m not going to lie, the architecture overshadows everything else.
The National Gallery
I have maaayyyybe done this before, but I can’t remember. I figure if it felt new then I’ll just call it new. Our London Pass gave us free audio guides and we opted to follow the children’s tour. There are these kids options at every major tourist attraction. I will point more out when I do the post about things that weren’t new to all of us. They are really great little things to do. They are shorter, funnier, and sometimes offer a reward. It also gives your kid some sense of control over the event which is always nice.
I can’t remember the name of the restaurant! Sergio will tell me and I will make sure and put it out there. Sergio specifically wanted to have cockles and whelks this trip and so we did. If you aren’t familiar with what I’m saying then cockles are little clams and whelks are sea snails. We also had crab, raw oysters, shrimp, scallop ceviche, and mussels. It was a great day. If you haven’t already guessed, this was definitely a Sergio and Dawn treat. The girls found food to eat but would probably have preferred we took them to Burger King instead. Or just a dinner full of Kinder Eggs.
Sergio says the restaurant is called Randall and Aubin. I guess the fact that it takes me so long to write these heavy picture posts paid off this time. He made it home before I published!