When we first arrived in England (over a month ago, I can’t believe it!), we spent the weekend in London as the kick-off to our grand adventure.
Our hotel was located very close to Paddington Station, and not unintentionally. We have quite a few Paddington Bear fans here. The park across the street from where we stayed had a Paddington statue that Quinn hugged for a solid minute he was so excited to see it.
As I mentioned before, when we arrived in London, we were seriously exhausted after an uncomfortable overnight flight and an emotionally draining airport experience. When we got to our hotel, we just crashed, and everyone slept for several hours. When we finally woke up, it was about 3PM, so we showered, got dressed, and headed out to explore.
Lots of details and pictures coming right up…
We walked to Kensington Park, intending to find the Princess Diana Memorial Playground, but took a wrong turn at the park entrance and ended up going in the opposite direction. It was a beautiful day though, and we didn’t actually know where we were going anyway, so we strolled past the Serpentine (a big pond in the middle of the park), watching people in paddle boats and canoes, and we wound our way through the many skateboarders and roller bladers that cruised around the water.
We stopped and got some late lunch and some ice cream, because every day could use some ice cream, but the first day of a grand adventure practically required it. And then we kept walking — through the park, past the gorgeous gardens, and all the way to the river.
We walked a LOT that day, but the kids loved it. No one complained even one time about being tired.
We saw Buckingham Palace, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey — all from the outside. We didn’t want to do any tours or wait in any lines, we just wanted to get a feel for the city. And we saw Big Ben, which was one of the highlights of the day for all of us. I think that’s when we knew we were really, truly here.
We walked along the Thames for a while, then crossed over the Millenium Bridge, which is a foot bridge that gives a really beautiful view:
We went over and checked out the London Eye and bought tickets for the next day. And then we found the coolest playground ever, just under the London Eye, and while the kids ran and jumped and climbed, Matt and I sat and just marveled at the fact that we were finally here.
Exhausted and happy, we made our way back across the Millennium Bridge and walked to Charing Cross Station, where we made our first foray onto the Tube. The kids loved it — it was part of the adventure of the day for them — and Matt and I were just proud of ourselves for having successfully used public transportation without getting lost in a city neither of us is familiar with.
And all this was only day one! The next day we did the Tower of London and the London Eye–I’ll add all that in another post.
In all, the first day in London was pretty perfect. A good start, people. A very good start.