Tag Archives: London with Kids

Mom Camp Day 22: Saying Good-Bye to Britain

Finally, it was time for our trip to end. Both Cinco and I weren’t ready for it to end. I was wishing I had added on the extra week for Ireland. The kids did so well, I think we could have made it 3 and 1/2 weeks. But, when I was jjkoplanning The Captain convinced me it would be a nightmare to push forward. Better safe than sorry. If the kids had been more difficult or enjoyed the trip less and extra week could easily have been a bridge too far. Plus, this way, maybe some day we will do a trip to Ireland and Scotland… you never can tell.

We had a long, but direct flight from Manchester, UK straight to Las Vegas. Bags were packed— including the kids back packs (and yes they were re-filled with goodies and treats!) Car drop off was okay, although it finally started to rain on way out of town. But really, the last day there… who can complain!

Again, Virgin Atlantic saved us as the kids mainly watched the TV’s in front of them. Although, they did dive into some of the treasures I had for them. We kept them for the bulk of the time on the plane and when we finally landed, Queen Gram was at the airport to meet us.

Coming off the jet lag took about 3 days, but that was fine. No school, no camp, just hanging out and getting used to being home! But, don’t worry we won’t be home for long this summer— stay tuned… more adventures await.


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The Captain Arrives! Mom Camp Day 13

Today was the day the Captain joined us in London! Of course, his flight didn’t arrive until the afternoon so there was the opportunity for some quick touring before his arrival.

2014 06 06_England 2014_0758_edited-1 It was off to see Westminster Abbey! Yet again, The Princess was digging the Abbey and Cinco was ready to had to pretty quick.

The Abbey provided a children’s scavenger hunt which lead the kids around the place and kept them engaged. However, a few of questions could only be answered by listening to the audio guide. That was something of a challenge as the kids were going through the Abbey pretty quickly.

I did get the opportunity to see a few of the royal from the Plantagenets. But, the tomb of Edward the Confessor was closed because it is so old and delicate.

The Princess was dead set on seeing the tombs of Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scotts! She also loved The Chapter House.

The Abbey offered a prize when the scavenger hunt was over– a chocolate gold coin. Both Queen Gram and I figured it would be a small coin. Oh no! They received a giant chocolate coin and promptly ate all of it!

Then it was back to the flat to wait for The Captain’s arrival!!! The kids were understandable excited to see their dad.

He said he wanted to check out The British Museum. So we made a second tour of the place. We saw a few of the Egyptian items this time and I got to see some of the carvings from the Tomb of Halicarnassus, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient world! But, mainly Cinco wanted to show The Captain all things he saw on his visit. He was very excited to show his dad all the items he liked and I thought it was rather adorable.

Cinco also managed to hold off spending his money so he did get the mini Lewis Chessmen set!!!

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Let’s Wonka-brate with Dragons: Mom Camp 11

This mom camp day was all about going to see the London Dragons and the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical.

In preparation for the trip, I went to the local library and checked out some travel videos. One of them being, Rick Steves’. Cinco watched his tour of London and wanted to see all the places he covered.  I didn’t realize he was ACTUALLY paying attention to the show…

One of the things Rick pointed out were the London Dragons.  They are statues that demarcate the official medieval boundaries of The City.  Historically, it is important because the people of London had special privileges and rights they wrestled away from the kings over the years. Today, it’s not so important.

The London Dragon on Embankment

The London Dragon on Embankment

Still, Cinco wanted to find and photo the dragons.  First, we found the pair of dragons along the Victoria Embankment. But, Cinco also wanted to find the older dragon near temple bar.

20140624-193116.jpg I was running around looking for Temple Church (site of the Marshal’s effigy), not paying one ounce of attention to finding dragons. Low and behold, I look up and there is a dragon! Needless-to-say, Cinco was very pleased with our discovery!




After that we walked over to the West End.  Stage DoorThe show was playing at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane.  There has been a theatre on the spot ever since the mid-1600’s.  Although, the current building dates from the early 1800’s.  Why is this exciting?  Well, before coming to London we read the second Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place book.  In the book, the kids go to the very same theatre to see a silly play called Pirates on Holiday!  Cinco and The Princess were very happy to find out our show was playing there as well!

2014 06 04_England 2014_0952Queen Gram really did her homework and discovered that some kids do not like being too close to the stage. It seems they use “pyrotechnics”. Let me say this: it’s more like a fog machine than pyrotechnics. Maybe I am jaded coming from Vegas. But, I don’t think the production needed a disclaimer. After speaking to the box office, Queen Gram somehow ended up with seats in the balcony far away from the oh so scary stage. Ugh!

Of course, there were Wonka Bars for sale.  They were huge!  We bought two and shared them.  Again, the kids were in hog heaven.

We attended the matinée along with every school child in London! But, once the show started, everything was fine. The kids liked to show. I thought it was only OK. I am real follower of the original Wonka movie!!! Plus, I love the song Pure Imagination… Childhood memories. The best part of the show was the end when Wonka sang that song! In fact, a few of the school boys seated near us began singing along! It warmed my heart that they were fans of the old song as well!

And, don’t worry Bookymom made Cinco read Dahl’s book while we were in London. As if, I’d let him get way without reading!

After the show it was off to the market at Covent Garden.  This was a challenge for Cinco.  He was saving his money for the Lewis Chessmen set at the British Museum.  However, there were tons of little items to buy, tempting a young heart.  He did well and stayed on track for the Chessmen.

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Mom Camp Day 10: On to Room 41!!!!!

This day was ALL over the map!

I’ve been to London several times and never made it to the changing of the guards. The idea of fighting through the crowds to see it simply does not appeal to me! Still, it is so quintessentially British how could I deny the kids the opportunity? Well, I did deny them!

2014 06 03_England 2014_0963But, I discovered that there is a less well attended ceremony at The Horse Guard. Cinco also wanted to check out the Horse Guard Museum so I figured I could kill two birds with on stone!

2014 06 03_England 2014_0965Sadly, it was one of our less than fantastic weather days and we suffered through a rainy start. We saw it pretty close up. But, I think the horses were a little startling for Cinco.

He did love the Museum!  They have a great exhibit where you try on the uniforms of the Horse Guards.  We all took a turn.  Cinco forgot to take off his own shoes before trying on the boots.  He promptly got his foot stuck in the huge boot.  Poor Queen Gram tried like H-E-L-L to pull the boot off.  Then, I got in the act trying to help get the boy out.  He started to cry maybe out of fear and maybe out of pain.  Queen Gram started to panic and actually thought we might need to call someone from the museum to CUT him out of the boot.  OMG!  Thankfully at the last minute Cinco was freed from the boot!   Still both he and The Princess were adorable in the outfits.

Booky Mom at the Horse Guards!

Booky Mom at the Horse Guards!

Our next stop was Buckingham Palace by way of St. James Park.  Being a pair of desert rats, the kids loved the chance to stroll through along the pond in the rain.  We spent quite a lot of time with the birds in the park.  (For those you who recall my trip to Belize sans kids with The Captain, we did some bird watching.  And, spent a lot of time making fun of the serious “birders”.  But, I am kinda getting into seeing different types of birds—  does this mean I am getting old?) We also enjoyed some hot chocolates and a huge cookie at the park!

Then we took the typical pictures at the Palace.  It’s another place I have never toured.  I’ve seen if before.  But, I’ve never to London when it was actually open!

You may recall the kids were having a tough time finding food they liked in London.  So we made a stop by Hard Rock Café.  It is the original Hard Rock and was started by two American’s who couldn’t find good food in England!  Perfect for the kids, right?

Next it was off to The British Museum.

We have a great time there.  Cinco loved seeing the remains from Xanthos.  I also enjoyed that because I have been to Xanthos in Turkey!  The ancient city is interesting to see, but everywhere you go there are explanations that all the statues are at the British Museum.

Cinco’s favorite part were the Lewis Chessmen.  He desperately wanted a small replica chess set for sale in the gift shop.  He had spending money from Queen Gram.  But, he had already spent some of it and didn’t have enough for the set.  We planed to go back to the museum when The Captain arrived.  So, I told Cinco if could resist the impulse to spend his money until we returned to the museum, I would make up the difference…

SuttonHooI also very much wanted to look at the Sutton Hoo findings…ON TO ROOM 41.  Cinco and I were in heaven–  Geeks of a Feather!

Queen Gram and The Princess were not excited with The British Museum and kept staring at us from the side line….


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Mom Camp Goes Sideways: Day 9

Even the best planning can be undermined by good ol’ public transit. Our third day in London, the Tube’s Green line stopped working and our plans to head off to Hampton Court via Wimbledon were ruined! This sent me running sideways to figure out our next plan.

Going with the flow, we hopped a cab to Southwark to see the new Globe. Meanwhile the kids were holding a hunger strike because they didn’t like any of the British food. Priority number one was finding lunch. Based on their love of breakfast we opted to have breakfast for lunch– which satisfied my wild beasts for the time being.

MBridgeSadly, by the time we got to the Globe, the tours for the day were over! Ugh. I however, paid too much for the airplane tickets to be defeated so easily!

Pulling a page from the Harry Potter movies, I took the kids across Millenium Bridge.

Once across the bridge we went to St. Paul’s Cathedral.  I’ve been to England four times before this trip and not once did I ever make it to St. Paul’s.  I am rather surprised I never checked out the dome before.  I love a dome–St. Peter’s in Rome, The US Capitol Building in Washington, DC, Haigia Sophia Dome in Istanbul.dome

We all went in and headed straight to the Whispering Gallery.  It is located about half-way up the dome and you can whisper on one side of the gallery and be heard on the other side.  I resorted to asking a guard exactly how it worked because we had a little trouble figuring it out on our own.  Once we got if figured it out, the kids really had fun playing with acoustics over an over.

We kept climbing the dome and made it to the first outdoor level.  I tried to get Cinco to climb all the way to the top, but it wasn’t for him.  He stayed on level 2 with Queen Gram and The Princess and I went to the top!  She started to get nervous as the stairs got tighter and higher, but she made it.  Only 5 years old and she made it.  We took a few cute pictures and headed back down to Cinco.

London StoneBefore we left for England, Cinco and I studied some of the foundation myths of London.  One dated back to the story of Aeneas.  One of his sailors, Brutus, founded the city and this is the foundation stone. It’s in the old city and we walked by after the Cathedral.

Then it was off to bed!

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London’s Natural History Museum: Mom Camp Day 7


Our second day in London was spent at the famous Natural History Museum. We arrived and went straight to the dino exhibit.  It fills up fast and I wanted the kids to get a good view of everything!

Pictures by Cinco!

Pictures by Cinco!

Cinco and The Princess LOVED it! Cinco even asked to borrow my phone and used it to take photo’s of the dino bones. I think he must have taken over 100 photos. Everything was interesting to him and everything needed to be examined and documented.

At the end of the dino exhibit is an animatronic T-Rex. Everyone bottle necks in the room and watches it for quite sometime. What was rather funny about the T-Rex, is that our local Natural History Museum in Las Vegas has an almost identical T-Rex. We went all the way to London and stood in a big crowd to see something we could see at home any old time… haha..20140617-131835.jpg

We got one of the explorer backpacks for kids from the main desk. Our was about Mammals.20140617-150047.jpg Based on clues in the backpack, we had to play detective and figure out our mammal. The choice was quickly narrowed down to either a wolf or a bear. We had a claw, a set of teeth and a patch of fur. Cinco got it right off the bat and The Princess needed all three clues before she figured it was the polar bear.

Then it was time for another great museum lunch! The kids were less than happy.

Having read the Ashton Place novels–particularly the third one (Review Available Here)–, the kids were very interested in the birds. The were most interested in the ostreages and dodos which are prominently featured in books 3 and 4. We made it to the bird area and everything was going well. We saw the dodo and the ostreages.

Then things took a turn for the worse…we happened upon a series of glass cases displaying only the bird’s head– mainly humming birds. This did NOT sit well with The Princess. She quickly figured out that these little creatures had been decapitated in LARGE numbers. There was no crying but rather an uncomfortable horror at the notion that anyone would think cutting the heads off these beings was acsetpable. I think it hit her hard because we have many humming birds that come to visit us in out backyard and they are very small and rather harmless.

After hightailing it out of there, we explored the museum’s amazing earth science section. The area is accessed through an escalator that goes into a structure meant to be the center of the earth. This was somewhat unsettling for the kids after the bird experience. By the time we reached the earthquake none of the kids would do the simulation. So, I went ahead and did it without them! It lasts a lot longer than I thought it would.

The Princess never really recovered from the bird incedent so we left the museum and went out into the nature garden behind the building. The weather we lovely and the museum was sponsoring a Ladybug hunt. Amazingly, we found quite a few. Most of them were young bugs that had not transformed into the bright red, spotted bugs we all know and love.





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Landing in London, V&A Museum–William Marshal Connection Begins: Mom Camp Day 6

Landing in London was a breeze. I was actually amazed at how well the kids did on the plane. They were also great once we hit the ground. They carried their own backpacks and made it through customs and passport control without an issue! Our driver meet us and we were off…

We hit London about 1pm. After settling in we decided to walk over to the Victoria and Albert Museum. I’ve been to England several times and even spent two summers there, but some how I never went to the V and A.

We were hungry and went straight to their famous cafeteria. In case you don’t know, the Morris, Gamble and Poynter Rooms are the first museum restaurant! (It started and carries on the tradition of not so good, overpriced food.) It was a lovely LOOKING facility, but the food was horrible. The kids refused to eat and that was the start of some eating challenges with the kids in London.

The V&A offers some great programs to introduce children to the collection. You can check them out here! We picked up a children’s scavenger hunt and went from room to room in search of the various items. The Princess LOVED the scavenger hunt. She was running from place to place declaring that she discovered the items! I am not sure the typically understated British really appreciated that–we got quite a few disapproving looks. (We were living up to the stereotype of being loud Americans.) But The Princess was having a great time and we really engaged with the museum, so as far as I am concerned it was mission accomplished!

The kids really loved the Court of Casts. We took some time to look at the copy of Trajan’s Column. But, what we focused on were the casts of William Marshal and his sons effigies. The real Marshal effigy suffered some damage during the WWII bombings. The casts were made prior to the war and therefore depicts the effigy intact.

The architecture room was also a favorite with Cinco. And, we spent a lot of time in the outdoor garden. There were a number of British children playing the wading pool so the Princess kicked off her shoes and joined in… running wild in the water.

Jet Lag caught up with us soon enough and we went off to bed.


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