Being Dad: London and Legoland, a very British weekend

imagesLast weekend, we took the kids to London with the ultimate goal of heading up to Legoland in Windsor. We found that the Premier Inn next to King’s Cross was conveniently close to the Eurostar station and both clean and affordable. The hotel restaurant had rather slow service but some coloring pages and such for the kids. In London itself, we walked around quite a bit enjoying the British Museum for an hour which was the perfect limit of tolerance for my 3- and 6-year old gremlins. I chose to go see the Elgin marbles (lots of little stories to tell), then up to the Japanese section clear in the back on the 5th level and meander down towards the mummies and then out and away. A stroll through Green Park and a gander at Kensington before walking through Whitehall and over the Thames to the London Eye. Beware, the lines for the Eye range from 45 minutes to several hours so it behooves you to purchase tix on-line before you get there. Since we hadn’t done that, the backup plan was a boat taxi on the Thames all the way to Greenwich (geeky satisfaction in seeing the Observatory marking “zero hour”!). That was a super affordable (only like £11/each I believe as opposed to £28/each for the Eye!) way of exploring London, passing under the bridge, seeing the Olympic Stadium, etc. all while seated and enjoying a beer. Oh, the kids liked it too 🙂 Unfortunately, the show we were to see (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in “avant-premiere”) was cancelled owning to logistical issues, so we ate at Covent Garden and headed to my friend’s home in the western burbs for bedtime.

IMG_8143The next day was Legoland. Fantastic place which is perfect for kids from about 3 to 11. The rides are fun without being boring or scary. The Miniland with mockups of London, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, NASA, etc were incredible! Of course, my son who is a massive Star Wars fan, loved the Star Wars bit which featured some kickass models of various figures and ships from the movies including an awe-inspiring Millenium Falcon. It is a very accessible park which has plenty to do but lots of shade (as opposed to Disney which is a bit lacking in the shade department). We got lucky because there were no lines owning to the fact that the Brits had their spring break starting the following weekend so that also enhanced the experience. Of course, the food and drink are prohibitively expensive in the park, but that is always to be expected anyway.

Before taking the Eurostar back, we hit the London Eye (having reserved over the internet this time!). Definitely pay the few extra £ for the “Fast Pass” because it shaves heavily on wait times. That being said, it is rather expensive and if the day is overcast (which is pretty much all the time) you risk being disappointed (we were a little). I think it is probably something you do twice – once in the daytime and once at night.

So, there you go – a few ideas and observations on how you can fill a short weekend with some great stuff in and near London 🙂

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About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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