We really only have a full day layover in London so we will incorporate food and fun into one blog.
What to eat: England was once the kingdom where the sun would never set, it was so vast. India, Africa, Asia, America to start have all been colonies. As the British returned home, they often brought with diverse foods so London is truly an amazing place to eat. I’ve never been to India but I can say I’ve never had such good Indian food as in London. So, we made sure to eat Indian!
You can’t go to London without stopping in a pub for a meal. Luckily, many of the upscale pubs offer extensive and solid kids food menus. We chose the Hereford Arms, which was near our hotel and had been in existence since Victorian times, having been a haunt of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Alfred Hitchock. The children’s menu was great; little enjoyed traditional fish, chips, peas and a sticky toffee pudding after. Be aware: when eating at pubs, you may have to order at the bar and pay upfront for food, unlike in the states where you wait for service and a bill. Pubs also become more adult centered after 8 and often close around 10 – a pub is very different than a “bar” in the states.
What to do: With only one whole day to stay in London, we hit two of my favorite places. Keep in mind, there are TONS of great museums and things to do in London and most of the museums are free. FREE! But we had to prioritize for this trip.
The Tower of London: This isn’t a free museum but without a doubt, one of my favorite places in the world. I was sure little would love it, with it’s ghost stories, ravens, towers, yeomen, armories full of armor and weapons and gorgeous giant diamonds and gem collection! And indeed he did love it. We were there for almost 4 hours and there was certainly more to see. The armory collection within the White Tower was the biggest hit; plan to stay there for some time. Tips: Be sure to take the Yoemen tour, it’s free with admission and a very good way to spend 45 minutes. Also, buy your ticket ahead of time, save a lot of money and you won’t have to wait in line.
The Victoria and Albert Museum: This giant decorative arts and design museum was built in 1852 and houses over 4.5 million artifacts. Let that sink in… 4.5 million artifacts. There is simply no possible way for one to be bored here – there is something for everyone! We checked out art, furniture, paintings, crafts and the post-renaissance statuary collection. The V&A has some great little nooks for kids to explore and we spend some time in one that included a building area and costumes from the Victorian times to try on.
I’ve been to London a dozen times, and had we another day, we would have included the British Museum to get our Egyptian history on and the Museum of Natural History. In fact, the first night we were in London the Museum of Natural History was holding a kids sleep over camp – what a wonderful opportunity to check out the museum! We’ll for sure try to do that next time. A quick check on their websites will let you know what special exhibitions and kids activities are planned. Little LOVES hanging out with kids in different countries, it’s a great way to get your child to interact.
And like clockwork, it started to snow as we left London, blanketing the row homes in a perfect white dusting, straight out of a Dicken’s novel, inviting us back.