Dexter started senior school last Thursday and we’ve already managed to fight about his homework. Go the Suttons! It feels like forever ago that we had a lovely couple of days in London exploring the city so whilst trying to ignore shouts of, “But I don’t know what I’m meant to be doing!” (which, of course, he totally does,) I thought I would write about what we got up to in London instead.
I’ve stayed at Grange Wellington hotel before (and written about it over at We Blog Travel,) so thought I would call them to see if they could give me a reasonable rate for a one night stay (they did, hooray!) and so we based our time in London on that location, ten minutes from Victoria. Top tip – it’s always worth calling a hotel beforehand to chat about rates because it often depends on occupancy.
Anyway, I have been promising to take Dexter to see my favourite musical Wicked for years (literally years,) and figured now was as good a time as any to go. As I was researching ticket prices I realised that it was actually Kids Week, which means that kids go free during the month of August to various shows. Winning! Unfortunately, there were only a few seats left so I still had to fork out a massive £67.50 for my ticket alongside his free ticket. As an aside, aren’t theatre prices extortionate? I would love to be able to take Dexter more often, but I’m not able to fork out that type of money very often. Such a shame.
Moan, moan, moan. AND I’ve got caught up YouTubing Wicked songs.
But Dexter loved Wicked, so it was all worth it! And who can blame him? It’s brilliant – great songs, few emotional bits that always make me cry and, best of all, you can now order food and drink from the comfort of your chair! Actually, this was Dexter’s favourite bit because you just wave your menu in the air and the ushers come and take your order. If you haven’t seen this show, I’d highly recommend it.
We weren’t sure what to do for tea so went to the hotel to check-in, potter a bit, and then go out. Except just as we stepped out of the hotel, the heavens opened and none of the restaurants we passed had room for us. (Think Mary/Joseph ‘no room at the inn.’) So I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to have a hotel picnic!
Have you ever had a hotel picnic? They’re brilliant! We found a Sainsbury’s and bought a load of carbs, trifle, beer, sausages and scotch eggs … ordered fresh chips from room service and we were set for the night! It cost about £15 all-in, a lot cheaper than dinner out, plus we get to eat in our underwear, which is the best way to eat all meals in my opinion.
The next morning, we headed down to breakfast (delicious!) …
… I caught up on work back in the room whilst Dexter watched Dr Who on my phone, we checked-out and then made our way over to Mayfair as we had afternoon tea booked for 1pm. I’ve already written about that – Flemings Hotel do a lovely pot of tea! – so definitely check them out. But whilst we were having our tea I thought about what else we could do whilst we were in London. We were having such a nice time together. It was great getting Dexter off his x-box for a few days and actually enjoying the art of conversation again. Parents of tweens/teens will know what I mean, so I just didn’t want to go home. And that’s when we decided to go on the London Eye!
Dexter went with his Dad when he was three, and I’ve never been. To be honest, I wanted his memory of the London Eye to be with me and even though I’ve always moaned about how expensive it is in the past (not like me to moan about money, I know,) I just thought sod it, why not?
It was easy to book tickets online but bugger me it IS expensive – I paid £40 for the two of us, and that’s without fast-track. Still, in for a penny, in for forty pounds, and we headed off. We were both laden down with scones and egg sandwiches so decided to get a cab, and luckily it wasn’t too far to the Southbank. We didn’t have to wait long to collect our tickets and there’s a new 4D London Eye experience that we were then sent to before our ride.
I didn’t know what to expect, and I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it was loads of fun and it only took ten minutes, so if you ever get the opportunity, make sure you try it! Suffice to say, it involves lots of bubbles! After that, we queued for about half an hour before we could get on and believe me, not everyone is a fan of queuing so watch out for people that think they can just push in. It’s a real bugbear of mine so they soon got short, sharp shrift! (Don’t worry, I’m a pussycat most of the time.)
Was it worth the £40? Most definitely! The eerie sky was a fantastic backdrop to the Houses of Parliament, the Shard, St Paul’s, the bridges, buildings and the whole of London. *sigh* Wonderful. We shared our pod with about a dozen other people and there’s plenty of room to wander around to take photos from different angles and not get in each other’s way. I’m not great with heights but it’s amazing what you pretend to be OK with for the sake of your kids! But actually, the pod was as smooth as anything on its way round and the only time you could feel it slight move was when we were at the very top. Other than that, we felt really safe. Besides, the views definitely distract you.
I think these photos have turned out great considering they weren’t taken with my ‘proper’ camera and only on my iPhone 6 (no filters) … but imagine if you had the Daddy of all cameras? What a view!
Going on the London Eye has been on my bucket list for years so I’m glad I can now tick it off, and so we were happy to call our little jaunt to an end afterwards and got a cab back to the station.
You know it’s really easy to get into a rut of me working downstairs all the time and Dexter playing in his room, and our paths only crossing at mealtimes. I suspect we’re not unusual in this type of routine but sometimes it’s good to just get away for a couple of days, even if it’s only an hour away on the train. Dexter is such good company – funny, curious and enthusiastic, and I absolutely loved spending this time away from home with him.