Tuesday, 1 October 2013

I love London....

Although I've heard countless times from people who live in London, "I hate London, I want to leave!". To me, it's heaven. It's probably because I don't live there, or live near anywhere even remotely like it, but like the little Englander I am, I look forward to a visit there for months. I couldn't tell you exactly what it is I like about it; it isn't really the shopping - most of the shops in London I can go to in Leeds, I do like the boutiques but never really sure if they're my kind of thing; the sights are pretty amazing, but I think I've seen most things now a couple of times, and it's very hard on the feet; I'm not sure it's the nightlife, as a knackered mother I've very rarely got the energy to stay up past 10:30 anyway. I think it's the general atmosphere. The promise of excitement, the different languages and nationalities. It makes me feel, well, alive.
Big Ben - from a recent trip to London!

So far, we have never actually taken the boys with us on a trip to London. It's about two hours on the train from Leeds so it's not ridiculously far, but somehow I see London as our tranquil (!) oasis away from everyday life. Would taking the boys eat into that? I don't know, maybe. Anyway, if we were to take them, there's no way I could cope staying with them in a hotel, it would be just too depressing. Listening to the sounds of people having loads of fun while we're stuck in some (probably small) hotel room watching cbeebies until it's coming out of our ears. I think what we'd do is stay in one of these short stay apartments London and probably go for a week. Looking at the prices they are actually a LOT cheaper than staying in a hotel, give you far more room and are also away from the really noisy areas that hotels tend to be in. In terms of things to do in London, here are my favs:
1. Boat ride on the Thames - can be done really cheaply if you get the Thames Clipper, just a couple of pounds.
2.A walking tour between Westminster, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace, time it for the changing of the guard, again, free!
3. Have a cocktail in Raymond Blanc's restaurant overlooking Covent Garden, there's a little side door and some stairs up to it, and you can sit on the balcony and have a lovely view.
4. The royal parks are free and lovely (great for children too) - St James' Park, Regents Park, Hyde Park and the one next to Buckingham Palace (Green Park?) - pick up some bits in M&S and have a picnic there.
5. Borough Market - walk round when it's lunchtime, try loads of samples and enjoy! Near one of the entrances there is also the Monmouth Coffee Company which always has REALLY long queues. We've never braved it but there must be something AWESOME about that place? Nearby we went to a hot chocolate place and had some chilli hot chocolate. It was great for a winter's day.

What are your top tips for a fun day or night in London?

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