Monday 12 June 2017

Madhouse diaries : Day trip to London

Last Friday, 2nd June, we took a coachload of pupils on a day trip to London. It came as a total shock the next day to see the terrorist attack taking place just yards from where we'd been walking the day before - I always say that it could happen anywhere so it's pointless avoiding certain areas, but that was certainly a bit too close for comfort. 

As I'd calculated that we'd arrive too early to head straight to the Museum of London, which opens at 10am, I asked the coach driver to drop us off at the Tower of London so that we could do an hour's walking tour to see some sights on the way. We headed into the Tower of London coach park which gives you 15 minutes free parking for drop offs and pick ups - it's convenient, but every single time, everyone who works there seems totally stressed out and stroppy !

Last time I came to the Tower of London, it was to see the Poppies at the Tower but this time, it was a moat of lavender instead.

From here, I pointed out the main sites before setting the kids loose to take their photos - City Hall, the Gherkin, London Bridge, the Shard, and, of course, the Tower of London.

Next, we set off for a 20 minute stroll along the Thames to head towards St Paul's Cathedral. It was 9am so it was still quite peaceful, without too many tourists or people dashing to work.

We usually do a river cruise so it was interesting to see that we could see most of the same sights on foot for free - the Shard was the most impressive for the kids.

We took a few snaps as we headed under London Bridge, which seemed all the more poignant the next day as we watched the news on TV.

I love the way St Paul's Cathedral remains out of sight until you turn inwards from the riverside walk and - bam - it's there before you in all its splendour. We walked right past it and 10 minutes later, we were at The Museum of London.

It's a great little museum that retraces the history of London, from prehistoric times to the modern day. I didn't take many photos because you aren't allowed to use a flash so they all come out rubbish. 

The kids enjoyed looking at the artifacts and learning about, amongst other things, the Plague and the Fire of London. The girls giggled at this dress and said you'd never fit through a door or manage to sit down !

After picnicking in Postman's Park, just next to the museum, we headed back to the bus and asked the driver to drop us off at the Embankment, just opposite the London Eye.

I've done this trip to London so many times now that we have the perfect walking tour that takes in the maximum number of tourist attractions. We head across the pedestrian Jubilee Bridge to pass in front of the London Eye and cut back across Westminster Bridge for the perfect photo of Big Ben.

 From there, we cut across Parliament Square to see the statues, then head up past the Cenotaph and Downing Street until we get to Horse Guards Parade.

We cut through there and, after a stroll through St James's Park, looking out for squirrels, we arrive at Buckingham Palace. 

It was a beautiful sunny day but, looking at the photos now, I can see the clouds assembling, ready for the torrential downpours (a month's rainfall in an hour) that started just after we arrived at Covent Garden.

Usually from here, we head back to Trafalgar Square for a picture with the lions at the bottom of Nelson's Column, but this time, we walked up the side of Green Park which was much more chilled out, before cutting across to Piccadily Circus.

From here, we cut up to Chinatown, then - the bit that the kids had been looking forward to all day - let them loose for an hour's shopping in Covent Garden. As it's pedestrianised and a square, they can't really get lost! 

It was a busy day - I clocked up over 25,000 steps on my FitBit - but we managed to pack a lot in. I thought they might all fall asleep on the bus home but no such luck ! The great thing is, the only thing we had to pay for was transport, as everything else was totally free, so it doesn't even have to be an expensive day out.

What are your favourite places in London? Did I miss anything?!


  1. Fabulous how much you managed to cram in just in one day tour with children. And so scary and tragic, what happened the next day.

    1. It was a certainly a busy day - and it was very scary when we saw how close we'd been the next day too.

  2. There are so many things to do and see in London, I haven't been for years but want to take my children soon, Megan keeps asking can we go and see the queen bless her xxx

  3. We've never taken the kids to London. Would like to though


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