London: the child friendly version
Never, ever visit the London Eye on a public holiday in great weather without having booked tickets online first. We bit the bullet after finding the London Eye Web Site a bit unresponsive and decided to just turn up. Bad decision The whole of the South Bank was a heaving mass of people. A certain fast food outlet, fail safe option in an emergency, had a massive queue and no seats. Westminster Bridge was a stampede with Eastern European gamblers tossed in to hold up human traffic. We promptly lost one of the twins who very sensibly went straight on to Big Ben because that’s what our general consensus was, and where we picked her up again. The Beloved had already given each child his business card with all his contact details and the address of our London apartment. After this, we handed then a 20-pound note each and promised cheap mobile phones with UK SIM cards for the next trip.
After this little shocker, we sat on the bit of grass outside the Houses of Parliament. Then walked along Whitehall, closely together, viewed Trafalgar Square, then up the Mall. The surrounding Green and St. James Parks were good, as was the fct that The Mall turns into a big Pedestrian Zone on Sundays and holidays. And, surprise, surprise, the South Bank seems to have surpassed St. James and Buckingham palace as major tourist attractions – it was pretty quiet, and there were plenty of free deck chairs in Green Park.
We dawdled round Buckingham Palace a bit, then walked up to Green park Tube. Again, refreshingly little traffic, car or otherwise. No queues at snack kiosks (plenty kioss but really pricey). A little pit stop at M&S Food in Green Station and stocking up on fresh bread. I even could have thrown in a teeny little trip to Waterstones/Uniqlo/aison du Chocolat had I wanted to, but we headed back, this time by tube. Changing at Holborn and hundreds of metres of tricky tube station corridors didnt faye the children at all. My boyfriend was more tense than all of us together. For the last significant leg of the journey, the driverless DLR with its great view front seats made our slog home hust the right bit of exciting.
A successful first day. Must remember to avoid the South Bank on holidays.
(all photos by Jochen T.)