Monday 8 July 2013

London 2013

Here are (just a few!) of our holiday pics from our trip to London last week...

We took the train. If you travel by Virgin trains to London you can claim "2 for 1" vouchers to many London attractions. It saved us quite a lot of money as it's not cheap being a tourist in London! I took a little crochet project for the train but didn't succeed in getting much done. the children were both travel sick (hadn't forseen that!) so it wasn't an especially relaxing journey. We bought travel sickness wrist bands for the return train journey and they seemed to help.

After arrival at our hotel (we stayed here - yummy breakfasts, very friendly staff and decent travel links within a 20 min walk), we went for a little walk and found the local beach! 

For our first full day we'd booked a hop-on-hop-off open top bus tour. We hopped off first at Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard. So many people! We couldn't get a decent view and didn't hang around for long.

Next stop, the Natural History Museum. N was a little afraid of this huge lifelike moving and roaring T-rex.

I liked the details of the stonework inside the museum, this example is of ginkgo leaves. I've always wanted to see a ginkgo tree, they are from a family of trees which pre-date the dinosaurs - quite a thought. 

Back on the bus and back to trundling through central London.

Mosaic detail from the apple store.

Dome and spire in Trafalgar Square

Big Ben tower.

It wasn't all that easy to take decent photos from the bus (we used this company, booking in advance on the internet gains you a discount), but it was a good way of getting around and seeing parts of the city we wouldn't otherwise have reached. Our ticket was valid for 24 hours and included a boat trip which we were able to take the next morning.

We caught the boat from the quay beside the London Eye.

 N brought along his spider and bat.

I really enjoyed the boat trip, there was lots to see and the commentary from the one of the crew was fun. Towards the end of the trip we reach Tower Bridge.

 The Tower of London, where we left the boat trip.

Stained glass detail inside the Tower of London.


Guard and raven, still inside the tower grounds. We didn't bother joining the queue to see the crown jewels while there. Still plenty to keep us occupied though. We decided to walk from the Tower to St Paul's.

 London flowers.

Family portrait just before entering St Paul's

 We climbed all the way to the top. The last section is a little scary! The views were worth it though. Looking here towards the London Eye.

And here towards the Gherkin.

A view back to St Paul's from across the wobbly bridge. We had tea at the Pizza Express close by with views across the river of St Paul's. In terms of location and food it was our best meal of the holiday.

Giants attack Buckingham Palace! Now we're at Legoland Windsor. (We'd saved two Rice Krispie tokens which allowed both adults free entry, just as well as it's ridiculously expensive to get in) 

 Eilean Donan castle.

 More dinosaurs.

Much queuing was involved at many of the rides. The ones we thought would be most popular actually turned out to have the shortest queues. The park was open for an extra hour and we got on more rides in the last hour than we did in the other six hours we'd been there. Our favourite was the dragon ride.

My favourite lego figure.

Then to Windsor where we had tea and an argument!

Windsor Bridge detail. 

There were lots of houseboats near our hotel. This was N's favourite, notice the pirate flag.

 Here you can get a better idea of how many there are.We're crossing Kew Bridge en route to Kew Gardens.

Leaves of a real ginkgo tree!

A's favourite rose.

The palm house and moor hen.

 Jellyfish in the marine section downstairs.

 Door knob detail from the palm house.

 Mosaic detail from the rhizotron display area.

 More of the rhizotron display, I liked this!

Willow arches.

 Wild flowers.

We enjoyed our day at Kew. We were a little disappointed that there were no bouncy carrots and that the temperate house was closed and we hadn't been told about these when we bought our tickets. We'd still have visited but it would have saved us some walking.

Now to our last day and a visit to the Cutty Sark at Greenwich.

Some of the figureheads on display.

 The most interesting thing was to be able to see the underneath of the ship.

The view from Greenwich Observatory. Worth the climb.

A butterfly (I reckon it's a large skipper) amongst the lavender in the gardens at the observatory. There was a large queue to photograph yourself standing on "the line", we didn't bother.

The ginormous ship in a bottle outside the maritime museum (looking not so big when the surrounding people and buildings are missing)

A space view from an exhibition within the museum. N and I had to leave it early as he was misbehaving. Poor wee thing, just tired after a busy 5 days with lots of walking for his sore feet.We had a great time and managed to pack in quite a lot. The weather was fab, but we've had nice weather too since we got home. So much more pleasant to sleep in a cool room again - the hotel room was very stuffy. So nice too to hear birdsong outside our window again in the morning. Not so nice to be dealing with the dirty washing...


Joy said...

Wow, what magic photos - you did very well indeed!
It sounds like a good time was had by all, and so nice to do such fun family things! These are memory making times for your children to enjoy through many years!
Joy x

Anonymous said...

I am exhausted just reading about it! It is so long since I was in London, or Kew. I don't think I could cope with all the people now.

Glad you enjoyed it even if you did get sore feet. Thanks for taking the time to show us the pictures.

Sandy's witterings said...

Great pictures of a great town (well great to visit - not so sure about living there). A few things I've seen and a big pile I haven't.
I'm sure Apple's mosaic will still be up there when all the i pads are long gone and forgotten.
Now, how many lego bricks am I going to have to order to build a badger :)

Mereknits said...

I am so glad you had a wonderful trip and that you took us along, such beautiful photos, so much to see and enjoy.

Lyn said...

Beautiful post with lots of lovely photos....too many to choose a favourite. So different to the usual London photos, thank you for sharing. Xxx

Gillian Roe said...

Goodness you crammed in a lot! I think you saw all the "famous" bits though, and I bet your kids made some amazing memories. x

Annie Cholewa said...

Spectacular Kew Gardens pics ... so long since I've been there, I must go back soon, I really must!

Pixie said...

..GOOD did cram in a lot, i mean we go to London quite a lot, as we are not to far from the city, and by the end of a day there my little hobbit legs are dropping off, so you must of been absolutly done in after that impressive trip,, well done thats what i say, and so so glad you had good weather.
Pixie x

topchelseagirl said...

Wow you certainly got around. I grew up in London and then for many years lived not far outside and near Windsor, so this is all very familiar to me. Glad you enjoyed it.

Mrs. Micawber said...

What a fantastic trip! London is one of my favourite cities. So glad you had a good visit there - that's some climb up to the top of St. Paul's.

I love the photo of the willow arches, also the cool green maple leaves (at least they look like maples).

Hope you had a pleasant birthday. :)


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