A day out in London

As part of our recent weekend away spending quality time together, my husband and I took the train into London as it was only twenty minutes away from where we stayed. We still try to visit our capital city at least a couple of times a year, but used to go far more often before we had children. Even though I’ve been countless times over the years, I never get bored and enjoy discovering new museums, tours, shows and even little courtyards and pretty streets in unexpected places.

In the morning, we went to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Neither of us had ever been before, and it was reminiscent of a German Christmas market in some ways with a significant number of wooden huts selling festive wares ranging from gifts to Christmas decorations to traditional German foods such as pretzels and bratwurst hot dogs.There were loads of rides, more than I expected, and we couldn’t help but speak of how our kids would have loved them. There was also an ice skating ring and Santa’s grotto amongst other attractions.

One of my favourite things to do is watch a show in the west end, which is ‘theatreland’ in London. We have seen a lot of shows over the years and have yet to sit through a disappointing one. Call me childish if you like, but I’ve always particularly enjoyed the shows based on classic musical films (Oliver!, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Sound of Music) and children’s books (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). So this time we booked tickets to see Matilda based on the Roald Dahl story. As usual, the show was excellent. The girl who played Matilda was incredible, she had so many lines to speak and sing as well as the dance choreography and didn’t appear to be much older than ten years old, yet she delivered it so professionally.

Part of the pleasure of seeing west end shows for me is taking time to admire the insides of the beautiful old theatres dating back to Victorian times (of which there are numerous in London). Often there are rows of seating in the stalls at ground/stage level, then the dress/royal circle higher up and then a grand/upper circle. The grand circle balcony really does look to be ‘up in the gods’ and on the one occasion I sat up there couldn’t believe quite how many steps there were to climb to reach it! I love the website Theatre Monkey to look up the best seats and ones to avoid when booking show tickets. I generally prefer to sit in the stalls (our seats here today were pretty good ones) and before the show starts I love gazing up above at the intricate architectural details the Victorian builders loved to add.

Before the show we enjoyed  a quick lunch  in a chain restaurant. I chose an avocado and goats cheese wrap with roasted red peppers and the flavour of those ingredients combined was delicious.

We didn’t have that much time to spend in the city as our dinner was included at the hotel so we caught the train back for that.

We used to always stay in London itself for weekends away, but it worked out pretty well staying just outside in Hertfordshire, as the railway station was only 10 minutes drive away (if that) and the train only took 20 minutes to reach Kings Cross station in central London. We would definitely do it again. Also, the money we saved on central London accommodation covered our meals in the Hertfordshire hotel.

All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable day and I hope to return to the capital again soon. Do you enjoy going on weekend breaks, whether with a partner, friends or as a family? I always enjoy hearing details of other people’s trips so feel free to add a comment about it.

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