If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of the TV series FRIENDS. So on our 3-day adventure in London over the Thanksgiving holiday break, I lost count of how many times I exclaimed in excitement, “London Baby!!!”
This was our first big overnight trip since moving to Belgium and the first fun stamps in our passports 🙂
Train travel is easy here in Europe, so we booked tickets for the Eurostar to travel across Belgium, into France, and under the English Channel.
Hyrum LOVES trains, and his excitement to ride them is apparent every time. Even sitting at the train station at 6:15am!
It was a cold trip, so we’re all bundled up in all our photos. We tried to alternate attractions between outside and inside but overall it was so fun to be there we really didn’t care about the cold!
Our first glimpse of London!
Right across the street from the train station is the famous Kings Cross Station so we stopped for our Harry Potter fix first thing!! We found platform 9 3/4 but some of us were more excited than others to stand in line and get a photo…
We used the tube to get around during our explorations, and Hyrum was thrilled. He LOVED the “trains” and made this face every single time. I love his fun, playful, adventurous spirit!
First stop, Tower of London. It was a castle that was basically an entire miniature village inside! Very cool. Located inside was also the hall of The Crown Jewels.
Next stop was Tower Bridge.
The best decision we made (especially since we were traveling with young kids) was purchasing a London Pass. It was £90 each for nick and I for 2 days. It got us into all the major attractions. At £20-30 each per adult, it paid for itself quickly. And the kids often were bored with something fairly quickly but we didn’t feel bad only staying at places for 15 minutes if needed because we hadn’t paid the expensive full price to get in. Awesome!
We took the lift to the top of Tower Bridge and explore up there. It was nerve-racking to walk across the glass sections with traffic below, but Simon loved stepping on all the cars and people 🙂
There is some COOL architecture in London! I didn’t realize but the city is very updated and modern as well as old and preserved.
We wandered around for a bit and then decided to tour an old boat we found. It was interesting to walk around an old battleship and imagine what life was like in a different time. Thankfully Simon had a map so we didn’t get lost on the boat!
Surprise, surprise, Hyrum LOVES boats too.
With the sun down it was especially cold! So we headed back to the flat for the night.
The Queen’s Palace! Unfortunately, she wasn’t home, but her place was amazing!
This statue facing the Queen’s palace caught my eye. Every day the queen wakes up to look at a beautiful mother breastfeeding her baby with another child hanging on her. A wonderful representation of motherhood! I loved it.
There was so much gold everywhere! Everything was so ornate.
One of the highlights of London was seeing a Regimental band play for the changing of the guards. They marched from the barracks, played a song for the new guards, then escorted the new guards to their posts via marching and more songs. Super cool!
And they were very good. I got a few videos, but they sounded even better in person!!
Check out this video of the band!!!
Next, we wandered through the Queen’s gardens to our next destination.
The Winston Churchill War rooms were pretty cool as well! So much important history here.
Obviously couldn’t pass up one of the many classic London red phone booths for a photo!!
There apparently no pictures allowed inside.. but I did snap 2 before I was scolded. That’s ok though because they spoke English and I understood!! I didn’t realize how nice it was to hear my own language while traveling and it was a very refreshing break from French.
Once again I’m so glad we had bought the London Pass because the kids lasted 5 minutes in here. That would have been a wasted £44 but instead, it was only a wasted 45minutes in line outside ? oh well! I’m glad we went in even if just for a moment.
Simon is thoughtful and asked if he could take a couple of pictures of the busses for his brother. EVERY bus Hyrum saw he pointed and yelled, “BUS!” Seriously kid, it’s London. There are buses everywhere, take a chill pill!
Speaking of Hyrum, he loved London! I can’t imagine what experiences like this must look like through a child’s eyes. I hope he has a few memories when we leave.
Just down the street is the famous Big Ben! This was high on my list of must-sees so I was excited!
Unfortunately, it’s covered in scaffolding for repairs or something 🙁 just a quick glimpse of the clock is all we got.
You can apparently find anything in London, even a guy dressed as Darth Vader looking to make a quick pound. We happily obliged! I mean come, it’s Darth Vader.
We decided not to ride the London Eye, mostly because it was cold and we didn’t feel like walking over there. So we took a few pictures from afar.
To take a break from the cold, we hopped on the Tube! We got pretty good at riding the subway and the boys enjoyed it.
I’m glad again we brought our trusty double umbrella stroller. If you’ve read previous blog posts, you’ll know how much I praise this as the best purchase we’ve ever made. It folds up so small, is light for carrying up the MANY flights of stairs almost every time you get on/off the Tube, and wasn’t so expensive that I’d cry if it broke one day. Best thing ever.
It’s kinda fun, we ran into many musicians in the underground while riding the tube. Here’s a little taste of musical underground of London!
Our tube ride landed us in the coolest spot in London. Abbey Road! Here are a few pictures for the other Beatles fans out there!! The pictures were totally worth a few honks from annoyed cars 🙂
Speaking of famous places in London, we ran out of energy to go find Sherlock Holmes apartment on 12B Bakers street, so a picture of the subway stop will have to do!
Back to our flat for the night. We had a cute little Air B&B near the center of London. And by little I mean LITTLE! It was apparent we went for location/cost over size/comfort on this one.
It was on a beautiful little street though!
Just down the street of our cute little place is Hyde Park. The morning of day 3, Nick convinced me to ditch the kids and go for a walk around the park. And I’m so glad he did!
It was drizzling rain on this crisp fall morning, perfect for a quiet walk to enjoy the beauty. I wish I could capture the ambiance in these photos, it was incredibly soothing.
I also found a little coffee shop in the park and stopped to treat myself for a super hipster, overpriced breakfast. It’s just not that often I get out alone! Also may have bought some herbal tea to take home… what a beautiful, peaceful morning.
Ok! Our train home left at 3pm so we had a couple hours to run around in the morning. We decided to head to the museum of natural history for the kids to explore. There was a cute little ice skating rink out front which we would have loved to do if Hyrum was a bit older. Next time!
We didn’t have time to explore everything in here because it’s huge and let’s be honest, the kids only really care about the gift shop, but the dinosaur exhibit was pretty cool!
We had a great time in London and it was a wonderful way to spend the Thanksgiving holiday!
~ Tolman Travels ~
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