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My Family 4 Day Trip to London / Trip Report

Florida
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My Family 4 Day Trip to London / Trip Report

We just came back from London and I am going to post our trip report, day by day. As many others here, I am extremely grateful for all of your help and advice, and could only hope that some bits and pieces from my report might help someone to prepare for their trip. I also apologize for the lengthy writings and kindly ask you to tolerate my mistakes as English is not my native language.

Thank you for your attention!

Florida
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11. Re: My Family 4 Day Trip to London / Trip Report

Thank you so much for your kind comments! I am going to post the second installment shortly.

To Monikavn;

You are absolutely right, I had a lot of things planned and booked in advance. I felt I had to, if we were to use our precious time efficiently:-). I remember reading your reports and thinking I would never be able to muster that much energy for doing things and going places but I guess it may be a "Rise to the Occasion" type of situation. Ordinarily, I am more of a laid back type but it was good to learn I could adjust when needed (and when I feel motivated:)

To FlunnerUK;

Oh my, I am so embarrassed:-))... I promise I knew about Sir Wellcome! It must have been jetlag haze that had affected me so badly. At least it turned out to be a funny one:-)

To Mez3000;

Yes, the V&A casts are very impressive indeed!

Good to hear you are staying at the Bakery too. The construction work is still going. The whole building is wrapped in some plastic over scaffolding, but interestingly, they cut a "window" to make the high reliefs on the 3rd or 4th floor level visible to public. I even took a picture - it pays to look up sometimes:-). Hope the work will be finished before your next trip!

Canterbury, United...
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12. Re: My Family 4 Day Trip to London / Trip Report

Great report! Sounds like you have a great time. I live just 90 mins from London yet have still not managed to see most of the things you did in that one day!

I think the spikes, if they are the very fine ones, are pigeon-deterrents but I've never noticed them on street-level windowsills before.

And by the way your English is perfect, I'd never have guessed it wasn't your native language if you hadn't said.

Shepperton...
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13. Re: My Family 4 Day Trip to London / Trip Report

Great report - I've never eaten at the V&A. I love the dresses there - it's a real "mother and daughter" thing to do isn't it?

I wonder if your warm vanilla sauce was custard?

Florida
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14. Re: My Family 4 Day Trip to London / Trip Report

Thank you, BayBOy! I am sure I would have been much more relaxed about things if it was just 90 min for me instead of a 9 hours flight to London! And thank you for the compliments to my English, I do try my best but I will confess I sometimes ask my daughter to correct (especially) my "a's" and "the's" - I feel I will never master the articles completely, try as I might.... Oh well, not to complain, overall I am able to function quite all right :-)

Edited: 06 July 2012, 00:09
Florida
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15. Re: My Family 4 Day Trip to London / Trip Report

Yes, Catherine, thanks! It was custard indeed - wouldn't have remembered the word without your kind help!

Florida
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16. Re: My Family 4 Day Trip to London / Trip Report

Oh, and as to the spikes, they were perhaps between 2 and 3 inches high, and rather thick at the bottom, like small cones, perhaps. Not too sharp, thankfully! There were rows of them, and it just looked different - we never saw anything similar anywhere else... I wish I could post a picture..

Florida
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17. Re: My Family 4 Day Trip to London / Trip Report

Day 2, June 30, Saturday

After a *very* hearty breakfast at the hotel (I had to make a note to self to adjust the portions the next morning!), we took bus #17 straight to Borough market. Generally, we tried to make use of the buses (as opposed to taking the tube) as much as we could, and we never got tired of the upstairs seats, especially next to the windscreen (is this how it is called in the U.K.?). We also tried to walk a lot, but we truly appreciated the convenience of public transportation and the great street views that it provided.

I was really looking forward to visiting Borough Market and it didn't disappoint. It is so picturesque and colorful, with the most delicious smells of freshly prepared foods and lots of produce - just delightful! I think we arrived there some time between 9 and 10am, and the crowds weren't too thick yet, but I could see that it was starting to get a bit uncomfortable by the end of our visit. We walked around taking it all in, fruit and veggies, breads, cheeses, meats, chocolates, pastas, sauces, you name it! Then we stumbled upon the Kappacasein grilled cheese sandwich kiosk. I remembered that title from TALF! Can't say I necessarily planned to try finding it, plus we weren't hungry yet (definitely should have eaten less at the hotel in the morning!). However we just couldn't ignore such a famous "institution", could we?:). More importantly, the tantalizing aroma of the sandwiches was so irresistible that we felt we should at least share one. We enjoyed it while sitting in the churchyard of Southwark cathedral adjacent to the Market. I tried not to think of the cholesterol jolt to my system though:).

Then we peaked inside the Cathedral and after that walked toward the river to see the Golden Hinde replica (Francis Drake's ship). There is also an ancient fragment of the Winchester Bishop's London palace ruins (both attractions are just around the corner from the Cathedral). We found a very interesting inscription with the Legend of Mary Overie (I just googled a link, I hope it is ok to post it here www.flickr.com/photos/brostad/5818502801/ - in case anybody is interested). Next we walked by the Clink Prison museum, but decided to pass on their kind invitation saying "The Clink Prison. We are open. Prisoners this way".

We took the bus back to the hotel and changed into something slightly more upscale (the further itinerary for that day included not one, but 2(!) theatre performances and afternoon tea in between). Around 2 pm, my daughter and I were off to the Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden to watch Matilda the Musical. We found it absolutely delightful and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very soulful and poignant, with great acting, beautiful singing and clever choreography. Our seats were in the last row of the stalls, right in the middle, with the added bonus of the actors often making their appearances and exits through the hallway, allowing us to see them up close.

The second performance of the day was the hilarious "Noises Off" at the Novello Theatre at Aldwych. Have I mentioned yet that TALF formed our itinerary in some very substantial ways? :-) This was yet another instance of a memorable and enjoyable event happening to us solely thanks to the Forum! Ideally, I would have preferred to see the play some other day but this was the one evening we were able to make it. It was either 2 performances in one day or missing out on one of them, and I had chosen the former. No regrets! The play was uproariously funny; I almost fell out of my chair from laughter!! I also appreciated the complex "choreography" of the actors' entrances and exits throughout the whole play. I thought it was nothing short of amazing. We had good seats in row M of the stalls and felt thoroughly entertained!

Between the musical and the play, we had - or should I say "experienced" - the afternoon tea. I had booked it through afternoontea.co.uk, to take place at Kingsway Hall hotel, for the reason of proximity to the both theaters, and because it was very affordable at £12, including a 25% discount from the above website. Well, you get what you pay for I suppose. I should add that the afternoon tea wasn't really high on my list of priorities so perhaps I was a bit reluctant to spend a lot on it (as opposed to the theaters, for instance).

We were seated and asked about any allergies (which I appreciated as DH does happen to have an allergy to raw seafood, including smoked salmon). Thus we were off to a good start but then nothing whatsoever happen for the next 15-20 minutes. We saw the waiters showing people the choice of teas and bringing the teapots, followed by the 3 tier silver trays with the "goodies", but somehow our table seemed to be invisible... My husband actually contemplated leaving, when all of a sudden a waiter brought a tray with 4 varieties of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and a choice of pastries on the top tier. It turned out that the staff got somewhat confused, and, while taking care of the food part, they simply forgot to serve the tea... That was quickly corrected and from then on things went rather smoothly.

The sandwiches were decent, the scones fresh and soft, the pastries adequate, but the whole experience was a little bit... underwhelming, at least for me... Also, it definitely was not my husband's cup of tea (no pun intended:). I suppose my daughter and I could have had it by ourselves but I didn't want to exclude DH, especially since we went to the musical without him...

Anyway, unless someone kindly invites us to the Ritz, I think I am done with afternoon tea. Checked off and moved on :-). One possible exception could be if we are in London during a TALF tea meeting, where the pleasure of meeting people and having a conversation would be a major advantage and something to look forward to!

On the upside, we felt so full after the tea (even without taking the staff up on their kind offer to bring more sandwiches/scones/pastries), that there was no need for a dinner that day.

Having just re-read this bit, I probably shouldn't have spent so much time describing the tea, especially since this day was definitely about The Theatre!...

What else did we manage to see and do between the performances... let's see... We went to the very picturesque Neal's Yard in Covent Garden... surprised our daughter with a visit to The Forbidden Planet store on Shaftesbury avenue (she is a huge Doctor Who fan, and was happy to get a couple of souvenirs - a pass holder with "Trust me, I am the Doctor" and a tea cup with "Keep Calm and Don't Blink" :-). Later we walked along Waterloo Bridge near Novello theatre, and enjoyed spectacular views on both sides. Unfortunately it was very windy, so we didn't last on the bridge for very long...

After the theater we took a bus back to the hotel. It was just a couple of stops - Bloomsbury proved very convenient as our base for London exploration!

Nijmegen...
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18. Re: My Family 4 Day Trip to London / Trip Report

Oh I can shake your daughters hand, I got that same mug from the same shop(was dissapointed they didnt have anything on Sherlock)

And we had the same seats for Mathilda in March, I too loved seeing people walk/storm(Trunchbull) by. I bought the cd as well and am still humming the songs :)

In October I plan to see both Borough Market&Southwark Cathedral for the first time, loved reading about them!

Looking forward to the next part! Oh what did DH do whilst you where at Matilda?

Roeselare, Belgium
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19. Re: My Family 4 Day Trip to London / Trip Report

Another fun and food-filled day! Thank you very kindly for letting us enjoy vicariously. And yes, me too I always feel like we must make the very most of our time in London. Even when we once had the luxury of spending a full week, we returned exhausted, thrilled, and making to do lists for a next time.

Those 2 shows you picked are both marvellous, I'd watch 2 (or more) like that per day any day! I'm sure it has whetted your appetite for some more London theatre when you fly over next year...?

It's probably way too early, but depending on your time of travel, you may be able to catch "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" directed by Sam Mendes, due to come out Summer 2013. The producers are probably just jumping on the Matilda success story, but it still sounds very appealing. And another superb one could be 'Peter and Alice', based upon a Peter Pan background story, starring Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw: delfontmackintosh.co.uk/Theatres/noel_coward…

Looking forward to your third day...

Chicago, Illinois
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20. Re: My Family 4 Day Trip to London / Trip Report

I'm really enjoying your trip report, Patricia---outstanding (and your English is fine!). You seem to have packed a lot into your trip, without feeling too rushed. I agree with you about approaching a museum by seeing some rooms that interest you, rather than trying to see everything. Much more enjoyable that way, IMHO.

I am sure this will be the first of many trips to London for you and your family. I can't seem to stay away!

Thanks for your efforts in posting.