Tuesday, February 23, 2010

London Calling

We have begun planning our summer trip. We have booked flights and are now planning our itinerary. We will be spending six days in London and five days in Paris. We are scouring travel books, websites and trip advisory sites.

As a family who, up until now, has not had the opportunity to travel far outside the U.S. borders, we are very excited but a little nervous and jealous of our time. We realize that there are probably some things that, while tourist attractions, really aren't the best use of time and money. We don't want to waste a minute of time on our trip.

I have even been encouraging my daughters to exercise so that they will be in good shape so we can see everything our short time will allow! No stopping...walk walk walk! We have also been teaching our kids some French so they can be polite.

If you have been and have any "definite sees" or definite don'ts" I would love to hear them! If you know of any good resources pass them on!

We are excited!


  1. Oh my gosh- I am so jealous! It is a dream of mine to get to London one day- Paris, too, but mostly London!

  2. Windsor is a must, plan to spend the whole day there the town itself it such a delight to walk through. Then there is the castle, way too cool. We took a guide tour via car just our family and that was awesome, show us all the hot spots, Jack the Riper, Parliment, Big Ben etc. Picadilly was not all that, could have lived without going there (but we had gone to see Momma Mia which was worth going for sure!) oh and DO NOT forget to go to Harrods, and eat lunch there great food! Hope this helps you a little bit.

    ps my dentist rocked felt nada, just hated the poking and pushing.

  3. I'm not very good at being in London - whenever my husband and I go, we always spent too much time trying to do things and actually manage to get very little done. It's all too easy to end up spending all of your time underground on the tube trying to get somewhere, or just fighting your way through crowds. I guess I'm just trying to say don't try and get too much done!

    The best time I had was there when we just gave up on the tourist attractions and went to Hyde Park and got ice creams - and then we just lay on the grass and looked at the sky. Oh, and it's fun to go on the little boats on the Serpentine (which is the lake in Hyde Park).

    As for Paris - I love Paris. We went on a river cruise on the Seine one time (in the evening), which was really lovely. I also loved the 'Ile de la Cité' island on the Seine, which is where Notre Dame is. There are some surprisingly peaceful little spots on that island, and it's a nicer, quieter place to have a stroll away from the crowds. I also loved the Pompidou Centre (a modern art museum - a great alternative to the Louvre).

    Anyway, hope you have a great time!

  4. Hello! I love your handiwork, which brought me to your blog... great stuff.

    I live in London, and if I were to pick the ten best things to do when you get here I'd say:

    1 The London Eye - the big wheel on the Thames. You get a great view of everything from up here, and it's brilliant day or night.

    2 The Tower of London - for the crown jewels, gruesome history, costumes and all round creepy ambience

    3 Kew Gardens - by far the best 'park' in London, on the Thames, so you get a lovely river-side walk, beautiful gardens and hot-houses. There's a stately home to visit and a great cafe. If you have time you can walk round Richmond too, which is a very pretty suburb.

    4 The British Museum. It's a gorgeous building and the exhibits aren't bad either.

    5 London's markets. The best are Portobello Road (for antiques, clothes, food), Camden Lock (youth culture, punk rockers and food), and Borough Market, which is a veritable feast for the eyes (primarily a food/flower market). If you like taking pictures all three are good for this.

    6 Walk along the Embankment from Waterloo to London Bridge. There are theatres, shops and restaurants all along the way, so you can keep dry on a wet day. At the weekends there will be street theatre as you go, and you can walk across the Milennium Bridge to St Pauls and get a boat's eye view of London.

    7 A river boat trip from Westminster Pier to Hampton Court Palace where you can walk round Henry VIII's old pile and see where the queens met their (mostly) grisly fates.

    8 Walk up to Parliament Hill on a fine day and look at the view over London - spectacular when it's sunny. After that you can stroll around Primrose Hill's quaint (and expensive) shops and celebrity-spot.

    9 Turn up at Speakers Corner (Hyde Park) on a Sunday morning and listen to the weird and wonderful collection of nutters, philosophers, budding politicians, campaigners and other assorted performers give you the benefit of their wisdom.

    10. And so as not to forget London's 'playground', take a train to Brighton (about an hour from Victoria station) and stroll along the seafront, eating cockles, mussels, winkles and other delicacies and breathe in the the refreshing sea-foamy air.

    If that's not enough for you, you might have to buy a copy of Time Out's 1000 things to do in London: http://shop.timeout.com/catalog/product/gallery/id/1871/overview.

    I hope you enjoy it!