London – so close yet so far from little old Essex…
Only 35 minutes from Chelmsford Station to London Liverpool Street, but even off-peak you pay the best part of £25 for a 1 day travelcard. That’s a large dent in the budget before you’ve even left your home town.
Once there though, London never disappoints. The sights, the noise, even the smells tingle my senses and fill me with a childlike wonder of what surprises may come my way. Luckily my girls have both taken after me, displaying an adventurous spirit and inquisitive nature that fills me with pride. It melts my heart how wide-eyed they are on the ‘big train’, Scarlett unable to contain her excitement as we approach the Olympic Park (an Essex-dweller’s new signpost that they have reached the big smoke) and Orlaith excited to have some many new people to watch.
Our latest day out, the first to not feature a buggy since becoming a mother of two thanks to the amazing Ergo Baby Carrier, was a whirlwind of adventures.
After our planned trip on the Emerites Skyline (or the flying cars as they are loving referred to in our house) we headed in to the O2 for a quick brunch. After our food we were wandering around trying to decided if we wanted to take the train or boat for the next part of our journey, when my favorite bit about days in London happened. We stumbled upon something amazing to do that we didn’t even know existed. Spontaneous parenting at its best.
The O2 currently has an exhibition hosted by Sky where you can read the news and have your photos taken (thanks to the magic of the green screen) with many of you Sky TV favorites (I will share more about this another day). Lightening McQueen and Rusty were also there for all to see, a movie loving 4 years olds idea of heaven.
We needed to be in Victoria for 2pm and with it being 1.15 already I decided (maybe not wisely) that we would take the clipper and make our way down to Embankment to pick up the tube there. It may not have been the quickest route but I personally believe that to truly experience London in all its glory it needs to be seen through the eyes of the Thames. If that river could talk, I for one would be listening. It has seen London through thick and thin, been at the heart of a thriving inport/export trade, a dumping ground for those who dared to cross gangsters and more recently the backdrop for one of the most regal pageants the modern world will ever see.
I defy anyone to not get goosebumps as they sail under Tower Bridge, I get them just thinking about it.
On leaving Victoria we set off on foot to see if the Queen was home (another must so when in London) and to have a stroll around St James’s Park, but on the way we got distracted. After two souvenir shop stops, for essentials such as postcards and magnets, I found myself at the gates of the Royal Mews (the stables of Buckingham Palace) and on a whim decided to buy a ticket take the girls in (full post on this to follow).
When we left at 4pm, ready to meet The Essex Husband in Soho for dinner, we had tired legs and aching feet. In 6 hours we have cover goodness knows how many miles, been on a cable car 300ft above the Thames, had brunch, read the Sky Sports news, met Lightening McQueen, sailed under Tower Bridge, meet friends for drinks and seen the Queens horses, no wonder we were flagging. There was only one thing for it….Ice cream! (oh and wine for me).
Dinner with my lovely family at La Porchetta, a lovely little Italian in Soho, followed by a spot of street performers in Covent Garden was the perfect end to a very lovely day. Although we still had once mode of transport we hadn’t covered, Bus. Luckily the best way to see London at night with small children is on the top deck of a Routemaster. So thanks to the number 25 bus our day of being tourists in our own back yard came to a fitting end, right back where we started.
Tired, aching, but happy.
Big thanks to www.bambinodirect.co.uk for my £50 voucher that I put towards my brand new Ergo Baby Carrier – you helped to make a great day an amazing one (plus kudos on the excellent customer service – very quick delivery).