TWO days after Elsie started school, we made a flying visit to London. To show her some of the sights and catch up with family and friends.
Since watching Paddington The Movie, Elsie has been desperate to visit our capital city so when Virgin Trains East Coast very kindly offered to send us down to London first class, it felt like the ideal opportunity to do so!
So on a Saturday morning, when most of the world was still tucked up in bed, we got up, got dressed, got in the car and drove to Doncaster to catch the Virgin train to London.
The day before there had been some major delays on the route so we were worried that our weekend might start with chaos, but as luck would have it, everything went swimmingly.
We sat in the lovely first class lounge at Doncaster station and waited for a short while before heading to the platform to board.
Elsie has been on a train before but only on short local trips so this was a completely new kind of travel experience for her and one she absolutely relished, much to my delight.
I don’t know about you, but long train journeys are my favourite form of travel.
On the train, she was, as they say ‘good as gold’ merrily tucking into some of the breakfast goodies such as yoghurt, fruit and muffins that come with first class Virgin travel and happily watching the world whizz by.
Our travel down was a success. A huge success. And just two hours later, we were there with one excited little girl.
Sadly the weather wasn’t great when we arrived, grey, cloudy and a little wet. But still we were on a mission to see as much of London as we could in a short space of time, so what’s a few raindrops right?!
Thankfully, we’d also been offered a family trip down the Thames courtesy of City Cruises which actually turned out to be a pretty perfect way to see some of the major landmarks whilst keeping dry in the rain, which at one point was very heavy!
Here’s the boat coming in…
The River Red Rover cruise was a really good experience and definitely an enjoyable (and dry) way to see some of the city, from the water.
It also turned out to be pretty knowledgable too, as our tour guide shared some fascinating tips and insights about the famous buildings on each side. Not interesting for little people perhaps, but certainly appreciated by the adults.
If you fancy doing something a little different on your next trip to London, we can definitely recommend it as a family. Just make sure you plan ahead and figure out where you want to get on and off.
After admiring some of the world’s most well known landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, The London Eye and London Bridge we decided to get back on land and make a quick soggy dash across the city to show Elsie where the Queen lives, ending up of course at Buckingham Palace.
Peering through the railings we watched the famous palace guards stood on duty and kept an eye out for the Queen.
But did we see her?! Well no and yes.
When a golf buggy came out into the grounds of Buckingham Palace, with an older, grey haired, pink jumper wearing lady at the wheel, Elsie immediately thought she’d seen the Queen. And so, keeping the London magic alive, we let her believe it.
It made her day to think she’s seen the Queen and you never know she might actually be right. Perhaps the Her Majesty’s new method of transportation is indeed the humble golf buggy?!
After waving at HRH (*coughs*), we then crossed the road to throw a couple of coins into the palace fountains and take a few more snapshots, before deciding to call the sightseeing a day and head over to my sister’s, where we stayed the night.
Catching up with family is always such a treat and Elsie loved seeing her Aunty and new Uncle (they got married in June) and sleeping in a big bed with Mummy and Daddy for the night.
The next day, still a bit tired from lots of travelling and walking, we enjoyed a long, leisurely breakfast and Elsie had her face painted by Aunty Sylve (also a very talented make up artist who loves her glitter!) before we kissed goodbye and headed off to see some friends at their son’s third birthday party.
This time the weather was gorgeous! And as the party was held in a local park, it was the perfect setting to end our flying visit with.
Finally, after a few hours of party games, eating pizza and treasure hunting, it was time to set off back and catch the train home.
We arrived back in sunny Yorkshire around tea time, all absolutely shattered but having had the most wonderful weekend.
As quick trips go, we had a ball. And one things for sure, when it comes to travelling with children, first class train travel definitely seems to be where it’s at!
Disclaimer – This post was written in collaboration with Virgin Trains and City Cruises but as always all opinions are my own.