Well really a Surrey-er, but its close enough!!!!
We had a day in London while back home. This is the most recent in many trips to the big smoke with the kiddies. We usually try to avoid the Tube and buses, and like to focus on a short walking loop with lots to see/do. On this day we headed up and just focused on the south bank up to Blackfriars. Ok so I know we missed off a lot of ‘tourist’ spots, but I love this walk along the Thames.
Here is what we did…
We started out heading for Waterloo station. This is my optimal London station, or London Bridge – central enough and I find less touristy than Victoria which is busy busy busy.
While on the train (or any mode of transport where I would like quiet and well behaved children) we played the spotting game.
Can you see………battersea power station, a postbox, a baby, a church steeple, a block of flats? You get the idea.
It keeps the kids quiet and entertained for ages and ages. On the ferry we played it for a good hour, looking out for dolphins, whales, icebergs, pirates and so on. If at anytime there was a moan or a hint of a meltdown then we loudly proclaimed “ohhhh wow you did you see that gigantic octopus?? you just missed it??? should have been looking!”
Anyway – we headed out of Waterloo through Victory Arch and then over the road towards the Royal Festival Hall. The big mirror block proved a hit for posing for silly photos and running circles around. Check out beautiful ‘Big Ben’ through the London eye. I have to put this in because I studied the houses of Parliament for my A Level History of Art gothic revival coursework – Big Ben is the name of the bell, when it was built it was called St Stephens Tower or just Clock Tower. It was renamed in 2012 to Elizabeth Tower but like anyone will ever call it that anyway!!!)
Up at the Southbank Centre they had these huge slides installed. They always have stuff on up there, plus its all pedestrianized so is very child friendly and super safe. Which makes it a cracking London spot in my book, gone are the days of Trafalgar Square and Oxford Street (oh bond street, how I miss you and your shops/being able to fit into anything in said shops).
Big shout out to the festival hall coffee shop and pavilion. Whenever we go anywhere I always take snacks with me, a lesson learned from my Mummy who you see in the back of this photo. Anyways – Shortbreads for the kiddos and coffees for the grown ups, and they didn’t mind us taking over tables and bringing our own stuff either. Winning.
A quick stop inside to use their loos and to see whats inside (flower bombs???/make flowers not war??? I dont get it, I think they look like Willies)and we were back on our way.
We headed out towards Gabriels Wharf and the ITV studios, which I believe is where ‘This Morning’ is still filmed. I love the view of London from here but its a much changed skyline from the last time I visited, the new ‘cheesegrater’ and ‘walkie talkie’ buildings im not overly keen on in all honesty, St Paul’s more than makes up for them anyway!
|An Englishman and an Irishman……|
I love me Irelands green and big skies as much as anyone, but COME ON……London does it bestest.
Next up – The Founders Arms for lunch. This is my stepdads favourite pub in London. It is right on the river with fab views of the Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s. We played a few games of the spotting game here too….spot a barge, a gold cross, a church that looks like a wedding cake.
Cora might be Irish, but she has the belly of a Brit, case in point = loving the mushy peas. Fish and chips all round. I have to applaud how awesome this place was too, they accommodated us with high chairs, extra kids plates, jugs of water and the service was quick and super efficient. I still don’t think you can beat the pubs here for hospitality towards kids and big families, but I would 100% recommend the Founders Arms. They did awesome and the food was delish!!! Check out Nanny Barry multitasking…..
From the Founders we headed back towards Festival Hall and along the river. This time looking out for different things on the way back. We posed up a storm on the Queen’s silver jubilee marble podium. Vivi Tallulah Joan made her best Joan face and Luis is doing a Luis Suarez impression apparently…….
We walked back along and stopped for photos with lovely London in the background.
My mum was literally in her element carrying Cora in the sling, and then Amelie on her back. Such a poser!!! It was so cool to be in London with my mum. Every school holiday when she was little her parents would take her to London for a day, she did the same with me, and now I do it with my children.
I hope that when I am almost 60 I can rock the baby bjorn with my grandkids (although if my kids follow the young parent pattern then my grandkids will be like 20 by the time i’m 60 so maybe not!!)
|Mum I know you are seeing Red in Cora’s hair here, its just the lighting, she is another blondie!!!|
As a special treat for being so good at lunch we stopped at one of the many food trucks now parked along the river. This was an icecream truck in an old airstream, be warned though these 4 ice creams set me back a tenner, its not like the old days where a 99 was 99p. There was also the worlds most awesome FroYo in a pink double decker bus (sadly I did not get a photo but here is their website). Do you love Amelies socks? yeah, I dont entierly know what she was thinking either but she did not want to take them off for love nor money.
And this cheeky girl of mine loved climbing on the big rock circle statue/art thingy there too.
Before we hit the splash pad fountains we stopped to look at the BMX bikes and scooters under the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Sadly there was a bit of a question mark over the future of this space at one point but I ‘think’ (I could be wrong) that it has now been saved and will remain here, graffiti and all.
The highlight of the day, and our walk, was the fountains back at Festival Hall. They are awesome. Even I had a go, because, well, YOLO. There were quite a few yummy London mummies who stood Boden clad and looking down at me, but a really cool hipster Dad jumped in with me in an act of YOLO solidarity. Yah Man.
Happy boys loving the water and playing with loads and loads of kids.
True story. I only packed spare clothes for Amelie because I kind of thought the boys would just be happy to get on with it after coming out of the fountains, they are pretty easy going, whereas I could imagine Amelie pitching a fit over having to wear slightly damp clothes. However, the opposite happened, Amelie wanted to wear her dress/sock outfit again and Maxi had the mother of all tantrums about his wet clothes.
Maxi ended up going home in his sisters lovely lilac leggings and as much as I want to post a photo of that up here, I feel it best to save it for his 21st birthday, or his stag do.
We headed back to Waterloo after another coffee at festival hall, and a nose in their shop, then hopped on the train back to Epsom for a bath and bedtime. I loved our day in London, ok so we didnt go to any museums or galleries, but with 5 young children that was never the point anyway.
As great as Galway and Dublin are (well Galway, Im still getting to grips with Dublin so need some ideas for days out with lots of kids!!) London is, and will forever be my favourite city in the world (Paris is a very close second though).