We’ve been promising the kids a visit to London for ages, so with a bank holiday it was a great opportunity for us to go down on the train. It’s just over three hours for us so we bought activity packs for the kids and they were happy to read their books and look out of the window as we zipped along.
We pre-bought visitor oyster cards and had them posted to us so that when we arrived we were ready to ride the tube. I thought the kids might be frightened with it being so busy with lots of escalators, lifts and trains to navigate. They weren't bothered and enjoyed looking out for all the stations. I also felt a bit better as I'm doing this journey by myself in a few weeks with my big trek bags, this was good practice.
We stayed in a Premier Inn at Earl’s Court getting a family room, we’ve always found them to be clean and comfortable and if you eat there for breakfast the kids eat for free. My son always takes advantage of the cooked breakfast and this time the pancakes with chocolate spread! I didn’t mind as we a full day of wandering around planned so he needed a full tummy.
With a long list the kids wanted to tick off we headed for Hyde Park and Marble Arch. The park was lovely and we even got some plank training in!
The usual sights were on our list including a visit to the see the Queen of course! We also bought a City Cruise hop-on hop-off family rover ticket and spent a few hours cruising up and down the Thames, making it down to Greenwich for a wander. The tall ships festival was on so there was a real buzz about the place with people dressed up and lots of little stalls. We were so lucky with the weather and even had some glorious sunshine.
After the boat trip, we wandered around Westminster (no sign of Larry at Downing Street), Trafalgar Square and eventually making it to Chinatown and Leicester Square where we had a great meal in a Chinese restaurant. We had worked up quite an appetite now and despite some sitting on the boat had walked over 7 miles.
Our final day and we had a quick whizz around The Natural History Museum as my Daughter was desperate to see the Triceratops. We’d thankfully gone early and the queues when we went in were quite small despite a bag security check. She loved the Dinosaur exhibition and bought her own Triceratops from the Dino store as an early birthday present. We got a bit lost inside and with a train to catch we didn’t have time to explore.
On the way there we had walked through the stunning Kensington gardens and stumbled upon the newly opened Princess Diana Memorial garden. It was beautiful and the lovely weather had meant some of the flowers had come out early.
In no time at all our weekend in the big smoke was over. The kids loved London and even before we left they said they wanted to visit again. There were a few sleepy heads on the train home!
For more pictures visit my Facebook page.
All views are my own and I received no incentive to write this.
With the glorious weather this weekend we took the opportunity to plan a trip to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water garden a world heritage site near Ripon. After a week cooped up with an infection and a training ban I was eager to get back out and do some walking, especially in glorious weather. I’d taken Hubby to Fountains Abbey on one of our early dates in an attempt to sell Yorkshire to him (it worked!) and so was keen to take the kids to explore. My Daughter however was then poorly so Hubby sent me and my son on our own little adventure.
We had planned to do some of the walks we found on the website but we were both excited to see the abbey itself so first headed from the visitor centre down to the abbey. The surroundings are stunning and my 9-year-old even uttered a ‘Cool’ when we got our first glimpse and he practically dragged me down the winding path to get a better look.
After wandering inside the ruins, we walked up the wide lawn and looked back at the abbey getting a fantastic view and from there took the footpath around the Studley Royal Water gardens. There are so many scenic views as you walk around that I could have spent all day just taking photos but we were on a mission to pick up the route of the ‘Seven Bridges Valley’… oh and find deer which were on my Son’s must see list.
We picked up the route at the bottom of Studley lake and followed the path over the rustic bridges using one of the printed walking guides we’d picked up at the visitor centre. It was apt given I’m training for my China trek that these bridges now made of stone were originally timber and made in a Chinese lattice style and we would also walk past what were formerly Chinese gardens. The path then made its way up hill and we could smell the wild garlic and even managed to spot a few bluebells. Despite the full carpark we had the path to ourselves and as we walked through the woods my Son began to doubt my map reading and was convinced we were lost, never to find a deer! However, we soon came to the Mackershaw Lodge and its kissing gates to walk back down through Mackershaw park.
There under a canopy of trees and enjoying the shade were some deer. My Son skulked off in hunter mode with the camera to have a look at what he was convinced were horses! He was miles away from the deer and I assumed all this time he had been taking photos, but no he was just looking at them through the camera so he could zoom in. We only got one fuzzy shot of them but mission accomplished.
From here we walked back to Studley Lake, stopping for ice-cream and walking along another path past the Temple of Piety and moon pond and then eventually reaching the abbey again.
We had a great day, the scenery is so stunning and someone said to me the other day that Fountains Abbey has a magic about it and I can’t agree more.
What did you do this weekend in the glorious weather? Let me know in the comments, we’re always on the lookout for new places to explore. Over on my Facebook page we have more pictures and videos of our adventures.
All views are my own and I’ve received no incentive to write this post.
I'm a 'thirty something' Yorkshire Mum of two, recovering from two hip arthroscopies and hoping to get fit for a new challenge. My aim is to also get my kids out into the countryside and get fitter as a family. Follow my blog about hips, trips, training and getting my kids outside!
I'm taking part in a charity China trek. For my story or to sponsor me please follow the Just Giving link.