Family Trip to London Day 6

It's my very last London post! I've had so much fun recapping each day of our trip. If you missed any of the posts, you can find:
Day One HERE, Day Two HERE, Day Three HERE, Day Four HEREand Day Five HERE


Day Six was a Saturday - our last full day in London and our only real weekend day in the city (we arrived on a Monday and would be flying out Sunday). We started off the day bright and early with a 9AM time slot at Natural History Museum's ice skating rink. There are dozens of outdoor rinks around London during the winter, but The Natural History Museum had one of the prettiest surroundings (in my opinion), plus it was on the same street as our hotel so it was really a no-brainer when choosing where we'd skate. I secured the tickets in advance online (as I did with everything except the Transport Museum tickets), and I'm so glad I chose that first time slot of the day. When we were leaving we saw that the 10AM time slot was much more crowded, and I'm guessing it just gets worse from there.


As far as the actual ice skating goes, I'm so not a skater. I have zero balance and no coordination. I can't even roller skate. But ice skating was at the top of Max's list (he also really wanted to tour Parliament so I made sure to get tickets for that as well). Parker was also all about the ice skating, so I put on a brave face and set out to grip the railing. I had my own personal cheerleaders along the outside, saying the sweetest British phrases like "Good on you!" for being brave and trying. This gentleman in the cap was giving me pointers.


Max was Parker's personal coach. We started Parker with these traditional skates before we realized they had double blade over-the-shoe skates that would be much easier. Max helped Parker switch them out and his balance got much better. 


Another big help? These little penguin pushers. Yes, they're for the kids, but I totally took one for a whirl. #noshame


Max took this photo as evidence of Parker and me loving skating. We seriously had so much fun during our hour on the ice. If you ask Parker his very favorite part of our trip, he'll say ice skating!


Post skating coffee and hot chocolate. Yes, please.


Parker asked to go up to the second story balcony so we could watch the 10AM skaters - such a pretty scene!


Happy boys!


From there we walked back to the hotel to freshen up, then took the tube to the Knightsbridge stop. We were Harrods bound! We popped out by Harvey Nichols, one of the department stores with the most interesting window displays.


Being a Saturday in December, the streets were packed. The inside of Harrods was even crazier.


The Food Hall was just opening for lunch, so we grabbed a seat early and within minutes it was full. I hadn't had my requisite British Fish & Chips during the trip yet, so this was pretty much the last thing on my vacation wish list.


The atmosphere was just so lively and bustling.


If you're going to do Fish & Chips, why not do the fanciest you can find? And yes, that's more #vacationlunchwine 😉


Definitely my favorite lunch of the trip!




From there, we braved the rest of the department store in our quest to pick up Christmas ornaments (our family tradition is to get one on all our vacations regardless of the time of year). Just maneuvering through the crowds was a feat. We stopped by these fancy writing tools (but didn't even bother to check the price 🙈).


Making our way out of Harrods after we bought our ornaments took extra long, as did our tube ride into Westminster, so we were cutting it close making it to our 1:30PM Parliament Tour time. Here we are checked in through security inside the Palace of Westminster with our passes (Parker asked for one, too, and the guards were sweet to give him one).



By the time we got to the great hall, our "family tour" had already left (I booked us on the family tour to make sure it was kid-friendly, and I also thought that Max and I would be at about a kid level on our understanding of the British government, haha!). The staff was incredible kind and walked us through a palace shortcut to meet up with our group and tour guide!


No photos were permitted in most of the palace, but we did get to tour where all three branches of government meet (The House of Lords, The Commonwealth, and The Monarchy). It was really amazing to be there!


I especially loved hearing about the years-old traditions that are still in play today. The Palace of Westminster offers audio tours, but nothing compares to having a real guide!


From there, we walked out into Westminster and past The Horse Guards Parade.


It was a bit drizzly, but nothing we couldn't handle on our walk!

Once we hit Trafalgar Square, I had to get this selfie:


I knew I had one in almost the same exact spot from 2010!


Trafalgar Square is home to The National Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery. We toured both with the rest of our afternoon.


Both galleries are totally worth seeing. I loved getting to share the experience with our little guy!


We got to talk about art movements and techniques, and famous painters and paintings (like the one from Van Gogh's Sunflowers series). This Matisse was a recent acquisition, and the bright colors (and pinks!) were my favorite.


We finished at the museums around dinnertime, and instead of staying in the crowded Westminster area, we opted to head back to the lower-key South Kensington for our last U.K. dinner.


We relaxed a bit at our hotel room then headed across the street to Comptoir Libanais. Parker had been asking to go back for Lebanese food since we first tried it earlier in the week, and it was the perfect laid-back last meal for us.


After seeing the special U.K. holiday drink "mulled wine" at outdoor carts all week, I finally ordered one! It was sweet and a bit syrupy, but very tasty and Christmasy.


We had the same waitress that Parker befriended earlier in the week, and she brought him out a dessert before we even ordered our entrees. When on vacation!




We got to reminisce about our week of adventures. I told Max that, out of all our trips, I had never not wanted to go home so much. I could have just stayed in London indefinitely!



Our waitress insisted on taking a family photo of us - our very last of the trip!



The next morning we were packed up and out of the hotel by 7:30AM (it was still dark!). We took the tube out to Heathrow to make our 10AM flight.


Until next time, London!


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2 comments

  1. Everything is just as pretty as a postcard! I love that you were able to make it to the museum. My Daddy is a fine artist so I was raised on it and I've always been obsessed with it! I teared up when I saw my first Monet in person.

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  2. I so loved reading all about your London trip! It looks so amazing! Thanks for sharing!!

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