Family Trip to London Day 2


We set our alarm for 8AM for our second day in London. This gave us more than twelve hours of sleep, but we were so tired from all the travel day before that we were very slow going. We also woke up hungry, so I popped across the street to Paul (a darling French cafe chain). I picked up milk, coffee and croissants and brought them back to my boys so we could eat while getting ready for the day.


Everyone at Paul had a french accent and called me Madam; I could have stayed there forever. The guy behind the counter said I needed to try the Mince Pie Croissant since Mince Pie is a Christmas special in England (but the almond croissant was of course my favorite). 


We hopped on the tube to head to our first stop of the day, Hyde Park. We were headed to their outdoor holiday fair, Winter Wonderland, so Parker could visit with Father Christmas. December in London just gave us so many special things to see and do. Parker held on tight to his Christmas list on the way there. 


We were hoping to arrive at 10AM for the opening, but this was close enough (remember, it was four in the morning to us!).


This guy was beyond excited to be in London!


We weren't sure what to expect at the Winter Wonderland, but going on a weekday at opening meant we basically walked right in (the line was minimal). By the time we left the line had already built up, and I imagine weekends and nights are just crazy.


Inside was nothing short of darling, and it went on and on for ages with rides, shops, bars and food stands. 


But of course, we were there to see the Big Guy. Again, I had images of an hour-long wait to see Santa (the wait I read could be upwards of two hours on weekends, and I know how long the wait can be just in Huntsville, Alabama). But a weekday morning proved to the perfect time, and we pretty much just walked right up to Santa's Chateau, only stopping for a family photo in front of a green screen.


We were excited to hear Santa's English accent - and how fun is his hood? But Parker was all business. He seriously walked right up, sat down on the bench, and read his list to Father Christmas. And then he tried to leave. Santa had to literally ask him to come back so he could give him the small toy he was presenting to all visitors.


At least Parker stopped long enough for the photographer to snap this shot!


Then it was back to the tube for us, as we headed way out east to the Tower Bridge area, about half an hour on The Underground. This was the furthest out we'd venture all trip, but it was still London proper (London is just huge). Max was originally slated to head to a pre-conference event this afternoon, but it was cancelled last-minute so we got the whole day with him! We were all sorts of excited.


This above-ground tube stop gave me all the heart eyes.


It was lunchtime when we hopped off the underground at the Tower Hill stop, so we searched for an indoor restaurant as the temperature was (literally) freezing. 


The swanky Coppa Club was just the ticket! We shared small plates of crab cakes, roasted cauliflower salad, and chicken liver pâté on toast (all delicious). 


From there it was just a short walk to the Tower of London! It was so nice already having tickets for everything (each morning I'd just take the tickets for that day out of my folder and pop them into my cross-body bag). I'll stop here and tell you that four is the magic age for London. Write this down now. At age four, you ride free on The Underground (with a paying adult of course), and get free admission to almost any of the palaces and attractions (like The Tower of London) or a child's discount (The London Eye). It was also the perfect age because it was close enough to five (the minimum to attend the ballet at The Coliseum) so Parker got to do that as well. Magic age.


The best part of the Tower of London? The Crown Jewels that are kept there! Sadly, no photography is allowed inside the vault, but I'll tell you they are super impressive and oh-so sparkly.


Family photo time! We're just having a blast, so happy to be together, and so excited to be in the U.K.


We had read about the guardsmen before we came, and so we knew the plume on the bearskin indicated the guard's regiment. Red on the right meant this was a Coldstream Guard.


After taking in a bit of a tour from one of the Yeomen (also called "Beefeaters" since their position of favor historically let them eat all the beef they wanted from the King's table), we exited The Tower of London and found ourselves right by Tower Bridge. Parker wanted us all to walk across the bridge (I mean, what four-year-old boy would turn this down?).





At this point, we needed to warm up, so we hopped back on the tube for our almost forty-minute trek back to the hotel (Kensington is on the very west side of the city, while we were all the way out East and thus had quite a bit of distance to travel). We put Parker down for a nap and Max and I worked on our computers (I ordered our Christmas cards!) while Little Man slept. 


Dinner that night was Lebanese cuisine! Pictured is my Lamb Kofta. Parker had been very interested in trying Lebanese food when we brought up the idea, and the restaurant was right across the street from Crowne Plaza Kensington (our hotel was seriously in the best location). Our waitress fell in love with our little guy, and we even did a repeat dinner there later in the week because we all enjoyed the entire place so much. 

Although Day Two was chilly, it was nice and sunny so we lucked out there (Day 3 would prove to be a rainy one!).
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3 comments

  1. It looks like you had a magical day in London! I love how serious Parker was with Santa!

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    Replies
    1. It was so much fun to see how they do "Santa" across the pond!

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  2. I loved the Tower of London tour. The jewels are impressive. I think you had a great day in London. i can't wait to take my girls there (at 4 years old if I can)!

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