We were really excited to take the kids up to London to see the Lion King a few days ago! Mum and Dad treated us to the show, booked a hotel and came with us! It was brilliant. And I would recommend it. Even though we were way up at the top we were able to see everything really well. The day before I went over our plans and decided that it was adventurous, but we could do it if we all got a good night’s sleep. So that night we bathed the kids, read them stories. . . perfect. Archie did not fall asleep till 10:30 pm. We found Ben playing in his room at 11:30 pm and then woke Millie up because of shouting at Ben. Ben and Millie finally fell asleep and we went to bed. This was when Neil started coughing. At 12:30 I was running out of sympathy. 1:30 am and Neil was sent to the spare bed. Sometime later after a pinch of worry and a small dose of hysteria I fell asleep. Amazingly, even after all this, we managed to get up in time. Pack a huge picnic and a tiny case, mum and dad arrived and we were off!
Nothing of alarm happened on the train, so you could say that we all relaxed too early, a sense of calm had overtaken us a little too soon. We left the train and alighted the platform. It was then that the real fun began. It turns out that pulling suitcases is particularly attractive to young children. Archie and Ben grabbed a suitcase each and started to hurtle down the platform in a race!
We carried on like this: two boys racing, one girl utterly confused, one mum yelling orders, two grandparents grabbing at hands and one dad reclaiming suitcases backwards and forwards across the Thames for most of the day.
At some point we sensibly shared out the children, one per adult. The free adult would be the `spotter`. This would have been an awesome plan, if the kids had all agreed on which adult they wanted at what time. Grandpa was good for historical facts, walking fastest and general freedom. Nana was great for giggles, sense of adventure and a fair amount of freedom. Daddy was good when your legs failed, for a carry or ride on the suitcase. It seemed I was good for nothing. . . It may have been the screaming and shouting from behind “STAY INSIDE THE YELLOW LINES!” or the grabbing of wrists, holding onto hands too tight, or the severe telling off I was giving freely “NO YOU CANNOT RUN UP THE DOWN ESCALATOR!” Who knows?
Firstly we made our way to Buckingham Palace, Millie wondering aloud whether we could go to meet the Queen. We saw the changing of the guard at Horseguards Parade and Ben (who today had decided to grow up to be a photographer) took to filming it. This is when we lost him. His own enthusiasm and artistic licence had gone to his head. We did eventually find him in the crowd and have a lovely film of people’s feet, bags and and a horses bottom to prove it.
Then onto the hotel. We found it ok but were all feeling a little tired. So we grabbed the kids and made it to the rooms for a 30min break. In that 30 minutes Ben managed to lock his DS and charger in a time-locked safe, leave the room, find a maintenance man and bring him back to the room (much to nana and grandpa’s surprise) to have a go at breaking it out. He couldn’t.
Later we took the Tube to Covent Garden and looked for a place to eat. Pizza Express did us proud. Providing the kids with mini cappuccinos and nana and I large glasses of something red!
The Lion King was amazing! The kids loved it. I missed the entire first scene as I had been watching the kids faces and enjoying their reactions, I even got a bit tearful!!! 🙂
The next day we had a humongous breakfast and prepared for the adventurous day ahead. After the slightly stressful travelling arrangements previously, we decided to re-think our strategies. We decided to give each child our contact details to put in their pockets, to not allow the kids to pull the cases and to be united in decisions. I stayed up In the rooms to write out the addresses then promptly forgot them, locking them in the room and having to spend 10 mins re-writing them.
Because of the prolonged wait, Millie decided that it was her turn to pull the case. So she made a run for it to the revolving door with grandpa’s case and ignoring the united shout of ‘Stop’ ! She almost made it through onto the street. I say `almost’ because she left her arm behind (the one pulling the suitcase) and jammed the doors up nicely. I was informed later that there was a lot of screaming, a good telling off and an offer of hospital from a now mentally scarred receptionist. Thankfully she only had a bruise and was exceptionally well behaved for the rest of the day! (…and yes it did occur occur to me to trap all my kids in revolving doors).
We did then make it to the Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge, occupied the coffee shop overlooking St Paul’s and then The Natural History Museum. So I think we all did rather well 🙂 We all made it back to our own homes, found small dark spaces and crawled into them for 24 hours!
It was the best trip ever!