Over a long weekend we had plans to meet up with friends in London. We have known this family ever since Ben worked with Amy in Japan. Then we both ended up in Florida…and now we are both in Europe. I am not sure who is following who here- but our paths are constantly crossing. Amy and I spent hours going over all the exciting things we wanted to do in London. Unfortunately, the day before our trip, our friends discovered they did not have some the of paperwork required to leave and return to their country. But not all hope is lost! They have rescheduled for December and we took the opportunity to make the long weekend all about the amazing museums London has to offer.
We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in Earls Court. This hotel is west of all the major attractions and just outside the congestion zone so that we could drive and park at our hotel. It ended up being a great location for this reason and about 5-10 minute walk to the tube. There wasn’t much exciting within walking distance of our hotel but that was the cost of being able to drive in and maximize all three days. The hotel was very nice and clean with a great breakfast.
The British Museum
This is a museum where you are going to walk in and say “WHOA”. The entrance is very grand and worth seeing in itself, especially since it’s free. For 1 pound you can purchase a map which includes the top displays to see if you only have an hour to spend in the museum. But I didn’t need that…we walked in with all the time in the world because both of my toddlers were sleeping in the stroller. Was I actually going to get to read the display signs? Was this happening? Yes!
We headed straight to the Rosetta Stone and I was able to get a picture in before Kellan woke up covered in pee. Since Kellan never has accidents..I didn’t have a change of clothes for him. So that is the extent of my trip to the famous British Museum: the entrance and one display. We stripped him down and covered him with a jacket to make a 10 minute walk to the nearest GAP. This is travelling with toddlers. Things don’t always go as planned but you have to roll with the punches.
The Natural History Museum
This was my favorite museum of the trip. It’s free and you could get lost in this place its so big. We probably only saw 1/3 of it. It’s so large there are 4 dining options. There are wings for Mammals, Earth, Origins, Ecology, Dinosaurs and more. It reminded me very much of the natural history in Washington D.C., which in my opinion can never be topped. However, the London version comes pretty close and deserves at least a few hours of your time if you are in London with kids. Compared to some of the other museums it was more interesting for my toddlers. My favorite area was the origins sections and I had Ben take the kids to another area so I could really devote some time in there. Evolution fascinates me.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Due to this museum being on our itinerary right after the massive Natural History Museum…it didn’t get the attention it deserved. That, combined with the lack of interest on the part of my kiddos, meant we only spent about an hour exploring. It’s 13 acres of galleries spanning 5,000 years worth of art. Galleries include ceramics, glass, fashion, jewelry, furniture, sculptures, metal, paintings…the list goes on. The work derives anywhere from England to Asia. We mostly spent time in the sculptures area. This is also where Carter decided to wake from a nap ticked off and scream so loud it echoed throughout the entire museum. Good times. Of the 4 museums we visited this is the one less likely to garner excitement from small children.
London Transport Museum
Finally, we have come to the museum that my kids didn’t want to leave. It is also the one that is not free and actually quite expensive. They do allow one year entry with the purchase of a ticket so anyone local can visit as often as they like. I have two boys so anything with wheels is right up their ally. Not only are the transportation displays fun and informative, they also have a play area with a train table, interactive double decker bus, and dress up clothes. In one area they have a projector that displays moving newspaper clippings on the floor and that served as the kids entertainment for a good thirty minutes. Just running back and forth chasing the images on the floor. Kellan started this and slowly but surely a mob of children came over to join him. Its the simple things sometimes.
**Other highlights from our weekend in London;
The Disney Store: We visited 4 of them. Not kidding.
Bubba Gump Shrimp: Yes, when you live overseas you start to miss certain comfort foods. I couldn’t help myself.
Harrods: Shopping! We got lost because it was so big.