You might remember last week I said that giving your children the mushroom treatment will pay off in the long run. Well it certainly did in our case. On a Saturday in August we made our way to Dublin airport on the premise that we have to drop a bag off to friends, we then broke the bad news the boys that we wouldn’t going home for a few days. I had bought tickets on Ryanair in a sale for the four of us, travelling to London Gatwick, for the princely sum under €75 one way. The three year old had never been on an aeroplane before and the six year old couldn’t remember whether we had been on an aeroplane before or not (he had but he was under 1 at the time).
Over the course of the previous fortnight I had packed the hand luggage and hidden it in the attic. As I already mentioned we travelled only with hand luggage, I also had printed travel folios one each for my husband and I with our entire secret itinerary. We also carried a small amount of Sterling/British pound, and preloaded oyster cards for travelling the public train network. You can order them here if you’re interested & yes they do ship to Ireland.
On arriving at London Gatwick we discovered that the express rail service had been suspended due to a fault. This is not ideal as my husband is a bus driver; the last thing he wants to do is to sit in on the passenger on a bus. The only time he doesn’t suffer from travel sickness is if he’s driving. Anyway we have no option so we took the bus but it was still an adventure for the boys. It took about 90 minutes to get into London city centre and at that stage we were exhausted. The last few days of secrecy leading up to the holiday meant that we had slept very little; we were like kids before Christmas!
Our destination in London was the Premier Inn London Waterloo Hotel. We had booked a family room for just one night as we would be moving on after the first night. Our priority was to say in London city centre or very central close to Waterloo station for the next leg of our trip. As we checked in reception we received the bad news that our family room wasn’t available. Not good. The staff issued loads of apologies and gave us a room key to an alternative room. We were delighted to discover that we have been given to adjoining rooms so we have plenty of space for a first night in London.
Directly across from the hotel is City Hall and behind that the London Eye. We went out for a wander to see what was in the area. My goodness it was mental ,particularly around the London Eye, it was jammed with hen parties, stag nights and buckets of tourists. It so crowded we were uncomfortable walking around with the children we felt that we would struggle to keep hold of them in such a crowd. So we turned back to the hotel and then the magic happened. For the first time we saw how magical London was through the eyes of our children even though it was very very busy.
So after a pretty rough dinner in a local noodle bar (if I’m honest), we tucked the kids into bed at 9 PM p.m. and set our alarms for an early train the next morning, we were done with from London city for a little while. Where to next?
Hotel: Clean, quiet despite the central location, brilliant staff, perfect location for exploring & close to tube and rail links. London Eye & Houses of Parliament within easy walking distance (less than 10 mins). Some very thoughtful kids’ activity boxes in reception too! 9/10
Due to annual leave restrictions on my husband we had to travel in August, which is peak time for most locations we visited. All opinions are my own, and (where appropriate) those of my family. We received no complimentary passes or special treatment from any destination (in fact none of them knew I was visiting or intended to review), and I paid for the trip myself. Look, what I’m trying to say is that this series of travel posts will be pretty much as unbiased as you’re going to get.
PS please excuse any typos I broke my wrist on Wednesday so I’m struggling to type with one hand!