One Mom’s Pre-Olympic Adventure in London and Paris: Part Two
From The London Eye to the crown jewels, four amazing days with my twin boys in London.
-Deborah Perry Piscione
Last time, Deborah told us about what went into planning a kid-friendly adventure abroad with her seven-year-old twin boys. Read on to hear the exciting details about their trip!
Day 1: Friday
The London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden and Leicester Square.
As soon as we arrived at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel (162.33 GBP or $251.54 per night)., we were amazed by the view of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye from our hotel suite, and the size and comfort of the room, not typical for London. I had not spent much time on the South Bank before, but this location is within walking distance of about every site on our must-see list, except for the Tower of London. The Westminster and Waterloo tube stops are a few short blocks away, so we were never in need of pricey taxi rides.
Once we checked in, I made all of us drink a lot of water and sleep for a few hours before our 3:00 pm ticket to ride the London Eye, the enormous Ferris wheel that allows you to see most of London with a bird’s eye view. This 30 minute ride is a treat and gives you the opportunity to get quickly acclimated to the surrounding neighborhoods.
From there, I just had to take the boys over to Piccadilly Circus and do the walk to Covent Garden, areas that I spent so much time in during my time in London. In many ways London has changed, but it many ways it’s exactly the same. I missed seeing many of the pubs I used to frequent, and cringed to see the Starbucks on every corner that once housed London’s famous and traditional pubs.
Next I wanted to plot how to get some theater tickets. My boys are fans of the “Horrible Histories,” a popular London-based book and magazine series, tickets to its newly created play was a must. We also ran over to the half-price ticket office in Leicester Square, but they laughed at me when I asked if they had any half price tickets to The Lion King. The play is nearly sold out, and “Disney does not discount,” I was told. I vacillated over whether I wanted to spend the money since we could see The Lion King back in the states for a fraction of the cost. (The Dollar to the British Pound is not favorable. During our trip the exchange rate was $1.66 for every pound.)
Day 2: Saturday:
Parliament, the Natural History Museum, a pub for traditional fish and chips, The Lion King.
Saturdays are the days that Parliament allows foreign visitors to tour its historic buildings. I wasn’t sure it would be of interest to the boys, but there is so much ancient war history that they were entranced just touching the stone wall entrance to the House of Commons that had been damaged by bombs back in 1941.
The Natural History Museum is not to be missed. A friend of mine went there a few years ago, and said I’d be amazed by how many dinosaur artifacts they have. Still, I was not prepared to walk in and encounter dinosaurs galore — and even one that was left partially excavated!
I broke down and took the boys to The Lion King, and it was worth every penny. It’s a beautiful story that is great for impressionable children and the production is really fantastic. I had chills when the actors performed solos.
Afterwards we grabbed a bite to eat at the White Horse pub outside of Covent Garden. Even though we were in the heart of the theater district, this spot is a favorite among locals and it was nice to escape from all the tourists and soak up the authentic vibe. However, the fish and chips were not the fish and chips I was accustomed to, and my boys were a bit turned off by the attached heads and tails of this fish!
Read on for the Tower of London, Hamleys Toy Shop, and more on days 3 and 4!