This August my 9 year old son and I went to London for 4 days for a fun filled little holiday. Here is an overview of our travel diary for the trip.
After flying down from Aberdeen, we caught the Heathrow express train to the centre of London (£22 – a little on the expensive side even with kids go free but it is so quick and simple). We arrived in Paddington station which my son found exciting purely for the name (who else loves Paddington bear?!) and headed for our first underground experience.
At first the underground was new to us, it was confusing and busy and hot… We wondered if we would ever catch the hang of it… we did though and off we went on our first underground (which I must say we grew quite fond of by the end of the trip!) The underground is the quickest, easiest and actually reasonably priced mode of transport to get around London – just make sure you know where you’re going (research before your trip) and always stand to the right side of the escalators unless you want London commuters to sigh at you for being in their way in the ‘escalator fast lane’. Seriously this seems to be a much stricter ‘rule’ than you’d expect.
Tip: the underground can get very hot – we survived thanks to our little fan you plug in to your phone… this has by far been the best thing I’ve bought all summer!
So where did we go on our first day?
This is a standard tourist spot in London and lovely on a sunny day with the water fountain feature to sit beside. It was 32 degrees on our day one in London (who needs a holiday abroad with weather like that here in the UK?) It was a little too hot for me, I felt like I was melting (side note: I am a pale ginger Scottish girl we don’t do well in the heat!!) so we took a few photos and headed away out of the sun.
We loved Madame Tussaud’s in Blackpool when we went a few years ago so my son requested we go here. We booked in advance online where you select an arrival time slot. When we arrived there was a huge queue outside the building and it was a little chaotic even with our pre booked time. Staff were calling for those with specific bookings to come forward at the relevant time and we did get in towards the end of our 15minute time slot. It was ridiculously busy inside which was definitely a theme of our trip in London (it is one busy crowded place!)
Madame Tussaud’s is a great attraction for families but be warned in the summer holidays it is so busy you can barely stop and look at the waxworks without impatient people hurrying you along. At one point I actually got in to a disagreement with a foreign tourist as she pushed my son and then kept tapping on my arm shouting at me as she wanted to desperately get a photo with the Johnny Depp waxwork…
Chill out crazy woman.. it is not the real Johnny Depp!!
Some of our favourite waxworks were: Avengers, Ed Sheeran, ET where you can sit on the bicycle with him and Johnny Depp (my sons favourite famous person ever!) The detail in them is outstanding!
As well as waxworks there is also a little ‘Spirit of London’ black cab ride around various scenes throughout London’s history and an Avengers 4D movie – both of these were really good and certainly highlights of our trip to Madame Tussaud’s.
It’s a great London attraction especially to take the kids to… if you can handle the high price tag that comes with it (£53.00 for the two of us online) and battling your way through crowds to catch a selfie with your favourites! I just survived this!
Set in a rainforest themed restaurant complete with trees, monkey figures, frogs and wildlife sounds we settled down for a meal before heading to our hotel. The surroundings of this café are so cool and our table was right next to a large fish tank with some beautifully colourful fish.
Food service was quick and our macaroni and hot chicken sandwich with chips were really tasty and pretty good portion size too. As with most other things in London it too was fairly busy and expensive but it didn’t stop us having a lovely dinner. We were even greeted by a frog costume character going around interacting with all the families which was a nice touch.
Day two and three:
We spent the middle two days of our trip at Legoland Windsor which was actually the main reason for our trip down to London anyway. You can read all about our Legoland experience in the separate review post. It is definitely worth a visit if you have children!
We stayed at the Copthorne Slough-Windsor hotel which we booked via the Legoland website with our park tickets. This was a nice hotel and fairly near to Legoland (not too easy to get to by public transport though). The hotel had a swimming pool complete with hot tub (free for hotel guests) which we made use of to soothe our tired feet and legs after long days exploring Legoland and kids receive a free goodie bag upon checking in. I would recommend this hotel especially for Legoland trips.
On our final day visiting London, after two fun days at Legoland, we headed back in to central London. This day was a rather Royal affair starting with catching the changing of the guards with guardsmen parading past Buckingham Palace. I loved this – I’m not sure why but we have a great fondness for Royal guardsmen so we are really glad we arrived at the palace just in time to see this.
This is just one of those places you must see at least once if in the UK however I did find the building itself a little underwhelming… If it was my palace I would want it to be much more eye-catching! The rain hit us on day 4 and our attempts at a standard tourist selfie outside Buckingham palace in the pouring rain were amusing (see some below!) complete with me putting my umbrella down and it blowing away. Chasing my umbrella around outside a Royal palace getting soaking wet while my 9 year old laughs at me – now there’s a holiday moment to remember!
This is a nice interesting little museum around 5-10 minutes walk from the palace showcasing all the different guardsmen uniforms and medals. I think we were in there less than half an hour as it is quite small but it’s definitely worth a little look. We enjoyed learning about the different coloured plumes on their hats and the positioning of their buttons on their jacket depending on their ranking.
We were disappointed that there wasn’t a gift shop for a guardsmen toy or fridge magnet or something as a little souvenir though.
We then headed back to the airport to fly home which took longer than planned thanks to a two and a half hour flight delay! Thankfully my son did well in being patient and well behaved during the delay… What a little star he is!
Looking at all the London sights from the airplane window as we flew over them thinking there was so much more still to do in London… but my tired feet, patience for busy pushy crowds and my rapidly decreasing bank balance were certainly needing a rest! My son and I had a fun trip together especially enjoying Legoland and we would love to come back to explore some of the other sights and attractions that London has to offer… even if I don’t cope well in big busy unfamiliar cities and may have had a couple of temper tantrums myself (I definitely did!)
Have you been to London? What was your favourite tourist attraction?