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London's Calling

The Mother Country

overcast 8 °C

What a bonus it was to find out we could fly from Bologna to London for the price of 300 Euros return. EasyJet ... Priceless.

Setting off early on Wednesday morning we arrived at Gatwick around lunchtime. It was then straightforward to catch the Gatwick Express direct to Victoria Station and walk to our B&B in Belgravia (Luna Simone Hotel). Leaving our bag with the proprietor brothers Les, Pete and Bernard - real characters, and an improved version of Fawlty Towers we decided! We caught a double-decker bus to the Millennium Bridge ... a great way to see the city and experience London Transport. A brisk walk around the local area taking in fine views of St Paul's Cathedral, and then it was time to find a local pub to enjoy some traditional English fare. The Black Friar was our choice - a famous pub dating from 1905. Original Art Nouveau marble friezes of boozy monks and a highly decorated alcove complemented the fine English tucker : fish & chips, steak & guiness pie, and a few cold(ish) beers. A lovely change from our past three months of Italian food.

Millennium Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral


Thursday morning, and following our traditional hearty B&B breakfast of bacon, eggs and a good cup of tea, we made our way on foot to the River Thames. London was at its best ... the sun was shining, the streets were clean, transport was efficient, and the people were friendly. We passed many famous sights on our walk to the London Eye, including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, and St James's Park. In the latter Gabi and Nat counted 300+ squirrels much to their delight. London Eye gave us a bird's eye view of the city and all the sights. The kids also played on the 'beach' by the river.

Famous London Sights


A treat was in store for the kids with their first ever musical - 'Shrek' in the famous Theatre Royal in Drury Lane.



Of course a trip to England would not be complete for Dan without a trip to the famous Newmarket where he could see, in the flesh, his four-legged workmates who make his day job possible. We caught the afternoon train to Cambridge after spending the morning in the Natural History Museum followed by a quick visit to Harrods. Our country friends (Emma and John) kindly put us up for the night. The kids - all three of them - were estactic that they were sleeping above the stables, and that the house had three dogs and several cats. Emma cooked a beautiful roast and we enjoyed much horsey conversation with our hosts.

The following morning John left early with a runner at Doncaster, and Emma kindly took us on a tour of Newmarket. We watched a few of their horses training on the famous Newmarket Heath, and were fortunate enough to rub shoulders with Luca Cumani - champion trainer who is still pursuing that elusive Melbourne Cup winner.

Back in London after our racing sojourn we enjoyed dinner at the funky 'Giraffe' restuarant near Victoria Station, which had excellent food and was well set-up for kids. Unlike most Italian restuarants this one caters for nursing home diners by opening at 6.30pm!


Who's the boss Gus?

Who's the boss Gus?

On the final day of our trip we caught the train to the lovely suburb of Richmond. A walk along the River Thames and then a stroll through beautiful Richmond Park followed. This park has over 2500 acres of grassland and woodland and it is Europe's largest city park. Although we didn't see any deer we did enjoy the expanse and the children loved running through the grass and revelling in the sun and open spaces.

A few underground trains later and we found ourselves back in the centre of town at The Tower of London, which the kids enjoyed. A final meal in London (Wimbledon) ensued thanks to the very kind hospitality of Virginia, Alister and Sophie. Unfortunately our time in London ended all too quickly, but we will definitely be back for more sights and experiences in 2013.

Richmond Park, London Bridge, and Sophie with the interlopers


Posted by happellfamily12 07:57 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london

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