Day 3: Sunday (It just happened to be Mother’s Day!)
Tower of London, China Town, and “Horrible Histories”
The Tower of London is actually a castle that was built in 1070. It is most famously known for holding the crown jewels, so I knew I had to take a look to see what all the fuss was about. I have to admit, they were beautiful. There was also a new “prisoner” exhibit where we got to see where the ancient convicts were once held and learn the stories about what landed them in there in the first place. A little creepy, but interesting and the boys seemed to love it. (Adults: 20.90 GBP or $32.37; Children under 16: 10.45 GBP or $16.20; Family group rate: 55.00 GBP or $85.20)
Wong Kei is a beautiful four-story Chinese restaurant located in the heart of China Town in London. The prices were cheap and the food was delicious! Just be sure you come prepared to pay with cash because they do not accept credit or debit cards.
Unlike its name, the “Horrible Histories” production is anything but horrible. The performances take the audience back in time and give the “real story” about what went on in Britain, Egypt and many other countries in the distant past. The play is based on a television show of the same name, which is derived from the book series. The show is about one hour and ticket prices are 16 GBP (about $25). The show is great for families and children of all ages to enjoy and even (don’t tell your kids) learn a little!
Day 4: Monday
The Churchill War Room, Hamleys Toy Shop, and the London Transport Museum
The Churchill War Room is a museum that takes the viewer back in time to the secret hideout of Prime Minister Winston Churchill during the Blitz in London during WWII. The rooms are laid out as if nothing has been touched since Churchill and his War Cabinet left it in the 1940s. The museum is very kid-friendly with “hands-on” artifacts for children. Admission was a bit pricey at around $25 for adults (16 GBP). However, children under 16 years were free, which was a nice surprise upon entry.
Walking into Hamleys Toy Shop in London, I immediately knew what a dream-come-true it was for my boys. Giant stuffed teddy bears, model airplanes, plastic swords … I was worried I would lose them in the store! For being around for over 250 years, it has established itself as one of the best toy stores in the world, so it was obvious we had to come check it out.
The London Transport (LT) Museum is located at Covent Garden in a beautiful Victorian-inspired building. Inside the museum you will find different types of “transport” used throughout history in London. Included are examples of trains, railroad cars, buses, trolleys, and trams. A current and very interesting exhibit that is being shown until October 2012 is the “Mind the Map” exhibit which displays the amazing map collection of the museum and describes how maps influenced London and the public. Never-before-seen maps and artwork will be on display, some by very influential London artists. (Adults: 13.50 GBP or about $21; children under 16 free)
In part three — the boys and I head to Paris!