London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world, and the air is filled with the languages of the world as you wander its many great buildings and museums. It is the one city we all list as a must visit whenever we venture to Europe, and the kids feel at home returning to their old haunts. Why do we love it? Here is a few reasons from this trip:
A couple of doors down the street is Busaba Eat Thai, share a communal table with fellow Thai food lovers and enjoy good curries and noodles. (Average meal price – £7)
Bagel Street, across the street from our hotel, provided a filling breakfast and nice cup of tea for only £2.10.
A quiet ale and cottage pie at The Lord Moon in the Mall pub near Whitehall, nothing fancy but a good friendly atmosphere.
Traveller Hint: Water is only free from the tap, ask for tap water or you will receive bottled water.
The girls always take in a West End show, and this year went to the Dominion for We will Rock You. They always come home happy and ears filled by the tunes, eyes wide from the spectacle. Buy your tickets from TKTS in Leicester Square on the day; unless you must see the latest smash hit the good shows are all available.
Thumping drumlines, screaming guitars and strong rock vocals blasted from the stage as the boys sat amazed at the stamina of Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend relived their success with The Who. Keith Moon and John Entwhistle departed this earth but their spirit evoked memories from the stage. Performing for their home crowd, The Who (Duet) becomes one with their fans, everyone singing in unison with their greatest hits.
The crowd gathered at the gate full of well wishes while across the street loathing vilification of the old and new leaders as Tony Blair handed Prime Ministerial power to his Labour rival Gordon Brown. We stood near the well-wishers to watch the new Prime Minister arrive from Buckingham Palace to greet the press move into Number 10. History does not always happen when you are in London but when it does you have to take a peek.
Traveller Hint: Historic moments can quickly become tragic, stay on the fringe of the crowd and never come between the protagonists. Follow all police instructions, and leave before tensions turn to violence.
Sights and Museums
A lobster phone, supervised cartoon frames and melting clocks defining visions from the Tate Modern collection, and a must see for any visitor to London. Stroll down the South Bank; visit the Tate Modern before crossing the Millennium Bridge to St. Paul’s Cathedral for an afternoon of fun and education.
The Wallace Collection includes paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt and Van der Velde; armour and arms of the finest quality (more accessible than those at the Tower of London) and many more fine art examples. Free entry and three pounds for a good audio guide but the artifacts are also well marked if your budget is tight.
Star Wars: The Exhibition is a pricey (16 pounds for adults) but contains a wide variety of items from this iconic movie series. Original costumes, full size vehicles (a Naboo N-1 starfighter, most impressive) and concept drawings and models filled the rooms. Check out the Jedi School and watch young Padiwons fight evil for the first time.
Traveller Hint: Many of the best museums are free in London making the informative audio guides good value to improve your experience.
At Premier Travel Inn – London County Hall you can get a central London address (across the Thames from Westminster) for £99, and only a short walk to Waterloo Station. Two children under 16 stay free in a family room.
Traveller Hint: A Bed and Breakfast is probably better value for a couple, check your guidebook.