At Easter time, we had a fantastic opportunity for a family trip to London at Easter to see the sights there.
We had friends who were going to be in Ireland, and very generously offered their house to us. As a famille nombreuse (Translation: “wow, you guys have a lot of kids!”) – it’s usually the cost of accommodations that kills our travel budget.
The kids had never been to London before – and actually Susan and I never really had either – having only spent a single 24hr layover there years ago.
It was Amazing.
First there were some strange cultural adjustments we had to make.
First, you feel like your eves-dropping on everyone around you. Since it takes no effort for me to understand in to conversations in English, I suddenly felt like I was listening in on everyone within ear-shot.
Second, the people we came into contact with were so friendly. In France, it often feels like you are always on the verge of getting in trouble. The guy who checks tickets on the train, to your kids teachers, to the person at the Prefecture, to the lady at the grocery store. Not all of course, but at least my experience has been, that a lot of people here take enjoyment in pointing out what you are doing wrong. In London it was actually shocking. The guy who stands at the turnstile at the tube station gives advice, and tries to help us out when a train delay happened, the person on the train who helped us figure out the best way to get to the museum…and on and on. Strange feeling.
We were staying in Wimbledon, which is a beautiful area – and such easy access to central London.
Our first full day we went to the Natural History Museum
The next day we headed to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guards – which apparently is a much bigger deal than the phrase would imply.
After that we wandered around, making our way down past Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament and eventually caught a bus to one of the museums that we were really looking forward to seeing.
Unfortunately when we got there we realized we had apparently never really looked up online, only in guide books. Books tend to not give information like “exceptionally closed for renovations for 6 months”. But there was a nice park behind the museum, so it wasn’t a total loss, and we rode double-decker busses there and back, so that was pretty Londony.
With not much time left we went back to the science museum (which Susan and the kids had gone to briefly the day we arrived) since, you know, it’s FREE – so just spending an hour or so works fine.