Sunday, June 21, 2015

London with Children - Day 1

Though Adrienne and the kids were still dragging a bit with jet lag, we managed to fit a lot into the family's first full day. First stop, Tower of London. It was where Martha and I went on our first day, as well, because I think it's such a great way to start a trip here. The Tower, followed by a trip down the Thames on a River Bus to the bustling area on the Southbank where the London Eye is. 

The difference this time was that we went all over the Tower, not just to see the Crown Jewels, and we actually rode on the London Eye. I'm not fond of heights, and therefore not a fan of Ferris wheels.  But being in those big pods and moving so very slowly kept the experience from being the least bit scary. 
There were better photos to be had, but it was just too much trouble to maneuver around the rest of the people in the pod. So I grabbed a few and just enjoyed the ride with the kids.

And, of course, there was never any question that the kids were going to love being on a boat. But it's also such a different way to see the city, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Back to the Tower. 

It was a beautiful day, and we started by having a picnic in the park next to the tower. 

Even though we saw most everything else in addition to the Crown Jewels, those were still the biggest hit. No photos at all are allowed, so I have nothing to show from there, but those crowns are something else. The gold and silver plate used for formal dinners is also very impressive, but nothing compares to the sparkle of big gems. The jeweled scepters, swords and scabbards were also a crowd favorite. 

The Torture exhibition was surprisingly depressing. You really can't help imagining real people being stretched out on the Rack, or being squished into the other thing that they were pushed into after being folded into three. We hurriedly left after explaining to the kids what those things were all about and spending a few moments contemplating what it would actually be like.

We all enjoyed going through the Bloody Tower, where there are furnished rooms. These are always my favorite types of exhibits, I love seeing how people lived in the past.

After spending hours at the Tower of London, boating up the Thames and waiting in line then riding on
the London Eye,  we were famished. So off we went to the Giraffe, a great family friendly restaurant nearby, where we all enjoyed our meals and smoothies. 

Then back we walked. First, to have a ride on the carousel.

Next, to get a closer look at Big Ben and ride the Tube home. Peri has her own Oyster card for
the London Underground trains, but Donovan rides free. So Adrienne lets him use her card to get them through the turnstiles.
Our kids are navigating the metro here like pros already. They look at the subway maps, see where we are and where we are going, then follow along the whole way until we arrive. They know the difference between the various lines and where they go. I love it. 

All in all, it was an excellent first day of experiencing London. 


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