London Day Trip
The weekend before Christmas the boys and I travelled to the South East of England to visit family in Essex. Now that the boys are a little older I decided to leave some time between trains to see the sites in London. I’ve always enjoyed spending time walking through London and I had hoped the boys would too.
Our train out of the midlands travels into Euston underground and we took the connection to Green Park station. George adores the underground and loves the enormous escalators full of people, and strangely dressed buskers. His personal confidence can be a problem as he runs ahead without looking to see where George and I are, and he tries to edge as close to the speeding underground trains as he can.
Coming out into the sunshine at Green Park we walked through the park to Buckingham Palace to watch the guards and take photos. I have really vivid memories of my first trip to Buckingham Palace. To me it was a really big event. For George and James they couldn’t have looked any less interested. Even the sight of two burly royal guards, and a procession of Horse Guards didn’t spark the slightest interest. I guess they didn’t have Minecraft in my day, so we were easily impressed by real buildings!
From there we can walk along the Mall to Hyde Park which has a Winter Wonderland theme park at the moment. There are stalls, rides and a German Christmas market as well as an ice rink and big wheel. I had tried to book ice skating beforehand but it was booked up weeks in advance. In any event the boys were more interested in the giant wooden statues and stalls selling cakes and sweets. Definitely a bigger hit than Buckingham Palace.
With two hours left before our train, I let the boys decide how they would like to spend their time. Without a moments hesitation they both asked for a trip to Hamleys. Another underground trip and we arrived at Oxford Street, and a short walk brought us to the magical giant toy store. I think this is our third visit to the store , and If you’ve not already been, then I can’t recommend it enough. There are endless interactive displays on each of the floors; radio controlled helicopters flying overhead; a Nerf shooting range; magicians. The boys think it’s magical. The prices are usually a little higher than high street, so I usually set a strict limit on what they can have, or offer to order online as soon as we’re home.
Also if you’ve not visited before I couldn’t recommend highly enough that that you DON’T visit the weekend before Christmas. Absolute chaos! Hundreds and hundreds of families running round looking for last minutes gifts. To the credit of Hamleys there were staff on each set of stairs and throughout the store ushering visitors into orderly queues, and preventing little ones from getting trampled. Better still the gigantic animated Christmas display at the front of the store was breathtaking.
After that it was back to Liverpool Street and out to the wilds of Essex. Little legs were exhausted and tablets went on (Minecraft obvs!)
Let me know about your adventures around the capital with your little ones, and top tips for family friendly places to visit.
For opening info for Hamleys Toy Shop:-
188-196 Regent Street, London W1B 5BT