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Feedback gets me thinking… So the question someone asked is “We have the typical list of things to do in London. What we want to know is how much did you manage to do. What did you actually have time to do in a day.”
“A Random Day in… The good, the bad and the ugly” is born!
Since the question was about London specifically, I am starting there.
London: Arrival/Tower of London/Tea at Prism/London Eye
Ages of the kids at the time: 8, 11, and 12
When we travel to Europe I try to book later flights. I do this so that the kids will fall asleep at their regular bedtime (yeah… I would like to think so but it really depends on the movie selection!). If we fly on a 6pm flight, by the time we are feeling sleepy it is too late to catch any substantial amount of sleep. The other very important thing we do is plan activities for the day we arrive. It keeps us awake and forces us to adjust faster to the local time.
We landed in London Heathrow at around 9:15am. Luggage pickup, passport control, tube tickets and breakfast took about 1.5 hours. Then another 1.5 hours to get into town on the tube. Just a warning- not all tube stations have escalators, check the map if you have very heavy luggage. We didn't check and lugging them up the stairs was not fun!
We got to the Marriott Maida Vale hotel, checked in, freshened up and hit the road! Took the tube down to the Tower of London and got there at around 2:30pm. We saw the crown jewels (we skipped this in a previous trip) and took some time to walk around, have ice cream and enjoy the architecture. At this point we were dragging and hungry but I had made 4:30pm reservations for tea and did not want anyone eating anything before then.
Since we were close to the financial district I had looked up and made reservations at Prism. Prism was located in the former Bank of New York building on Leadenhall Street. Notice I said WAS. It has since closed. Remind me never to have tea at a bank again!
We got to Prism hungry, grumpy and jetlagged. Let me start by saying that we were the only patrons in the restaurant… service was not good, the kids did not like the tea and there were very few pastries but lots of sandwiches. We were so hungry that I am not sure if we actually liked the food but we ate most of it. Quietly. In an empty restaurant…
From Prism we moved on to the London Eye. I had bought tickets in advance and it saved us the 20 mins on the ticket line. The line to get on to the Eye was only about 15 minutes. We had read that this was the best time for this attraction and it proved to be true. What a great experience!!! By this time we were all on our second wind and really enjoyed the views.
Afterwards we went to the 4D London Eye experience-it was included in the tkt but not worth it if you have to pay extra. It was about 7 mins long and had nice visuals but provided no information.
We made our way back to the hotel where we had dinner, and by 9:30pm, after 32 hours of no real sleep the kids crashed! This was a pretty packed but successful day and it did not feel harried at all.
Hits and Misses of the day
Hits: Tower of London, London Eye, walking from the Tower to tea.
Misses: Tea at Prizm, 1.5 hrs from airport to hotel