Tuesday, 12 March 2013

A trip to London

Last weekend we left Mia with my wonderful, accommodating parents and treated Harry to a couple of days in London. We have taken him before, but this time managing without a pushchair made a huge difference to our visit. Harry is also that bit older now, with a longer attention span and more stamina. We came back actually feeling that we had been on a holiday for once, instead of an endurance test with small children!

We stayed for one night in the brand new Premier Inn Waterloo, having managed to find a special Sunday rate. It was very nice, absolutely spotless and in a fantastic location for the London Eye and nearby attractions. We were on the 6th floor and we could see the top of the London Eye, the rooms on the 14th floor must have an amazing view! Best of all, Ram and Harry shared the double bed and I had the single sofa bed all to myself - my best night's sleep in years without a toddler waking me up throughout the night!

London Eye
The view from the window
We began our visit at the Natural History Museum, starting with the dinosaurs. Harry was absolutely fascinated by the dinosaur skeletons, although not very sure of the moving, roaring Tyrannosaurus Rex at the end! We picked out a few other galleries to interest him. To be honest many of the exhibits were aimed at children a little older than Harry (he's 4) but he really enjoyed the Mammal hall and the Earth exhibits. My favourite area is Human Biology - most of the exhibits there are exactly the same as I remember them from visits throughout the years!

Natural History Museum London
In the Mammal hall

Then we took the tube to the hotel, checked in, and walked over to the London Sea Life Aquarium, chosen because it is included on our Merlin Passes. It's a really good aquarium, very large and with plenty to see. It was pretty busy even later on in the afternoon, but we were able to have a good look around. Something new since our last visit was the penguin experience which was set in a really well themed Antartic area.

We had our dinner at Pizza Hut. We've eaten at Pizza Hut a few times before, but we've always managed to hide the Ice Cream Factory from Harry, so he was thrilled to discover an ice cream machine that he could use to serve himself as much ice cream as he wanted. I even treated myself to a dessert - well it was Mother's Day!

Pizza Hut ice cream factory
First ice-cream factory

In the early evening we went on the London Eye, another Merlin pass attraction. We've been on it a few times but never at night, and luckily there were clear skies so we had some lovely views. It was also pretty quiet too so we had plenty of room to move around in the capsule. Harry loved it, he enjoyed explaining to me how it all worked.

London Eye at night
The London Eye by night
The next morning Ram popped out and brought us some breakfast back to eat in the hotel, then we checked out to be at the Science Museum as it opened. We ended up staying much longer than we expected - over 4 hours! In my opinion it is the best London museum for very young children. It has several areas to interest and entertain them - the Launch Pad, the Garden in the basement and the Pattern Pod, as well as lots of rockets, cars, planes and interesting models.

Harry spent most of the time in the Garden which is an area in the basement aimed at children ages 3-6. The star attraction is a large water table with boats to float around, along with jets of water and currents to push them into. I think he would have stayed there all day if he could, but it was time to return to Victoria Station for our train home.

Science Museum bridge
Hope Mum and Dad built it properly!

We both found it very relaxing to be away with just the one child, especially when it was the less demanding older one. Of course we all missed Mia, but I knew that she was having just as much fun with Grandma and Grandad - riding on buses, tiring them out at soft play, and enjoying plenty of individual time. It meant that we could be led by what Harry wanted to do, rather than having to cut things short because Mia needed attention.

So, enormous thanks to my parents for letting us indulge ourselves and Harry for a couple of days!

No disclosure necessary, this was a trip we paid for ourselves.

14 comments:

  1. This loos amazing Jennifer, would you mind giving me done info maybe by email? Just about the train route and the inn and about the NHM that looked amazing. Was it pricey?! Not to be rude sorry! X

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    1. I've sent some info by e-mail, but it wasn't too pricy at all. We paid £49 for a night in the hotel and the Natural History and Science Museums are free and brilliant.

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  2. Looks like you had a great weekend, will try and remember about the science museum as James wants to take Alex to London this year and leave Sam with someone for the day/weekend x

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    1. I'd definitely recommend the Science Museum, it's so good for children of all ages.

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  3. What a lovely thing to do! And how good of your parents to have Mia while you went away. We have never gone away and left any of ours behind! Husband will sometimes take one of the kids off for the day somewhere (usually a football match), but usually we do everything together or split the family in half for more functional activities!

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    1. My parents are wonderful, it was such a break just having the one to look after!

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  4. Looks like you had a lovely day! I can't wait to enjoy London with Bob when she is older! x

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    1. There is so much to see and do, I'm looking forward to being able to take both children there in a couple of years time.

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  5. It is wonderful to get a bit of one on one time doing older kids stuff - I wish I had the chance more often! X

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    1. It was so nice to be able to give him a bit of individual attention, we are very lucky!

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  6. Looks like a great trip Jennifer, thanks for sharing. I think Jake & Ellie would particularly enjoy the Science Museum

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    1. Thank you, I'm sure they would, it's great!

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  7. We are fortunate to live close enough to London to pop up for a few hours or a day trip, but having lived there until a year before our son was born, I still really love and miss London. The Science Museum is on our list of things to try and do this year.i'm hoping there is enough to keep a 17-18 month old occupied? His dad will love it anyway though!

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    1. I would say that there is plenty to do, the basement area is probably the best place to take him if you don't mind him getting soaked!

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