So often I see and hear friends moaning about how they have kids now and they can’t do anything. I’m starting to wonder whether it’s just an excuse to avoid the small hassels of organising a trip away with children. I always knew that I would have children one day and can’t wait to be exploring the world with ‘mini me’s’ in tow. Now I find myself with a new boyfriend followed by two children, and I sense that my adventures are about to start including two small people of the ages 3 and 6.
I thought it best we do a trial run and a day out in London with them both is just that. Crowds of people, fast traffic, underground escalators and just the general hustle and bustle of the big smoke is enough to put off millions of families making their way for a day out in London. Having never had children of my own I knew that preparation was the only way to get through the day.
With a 10 litre Berghaus day pack full of snacks, anti-bacterial wipes, plasters and fruit shoots, we set off on our little adventure up the M3 towards the capital. Our first hiccup came in the form of a motorway closure and a 45 minute diversion. Now any parent will understand that long car journeys and young children are hardly a match made in heaven, if I had a pound for every time I heard ‘Are we there yet?’, then I’d be very rich indeed. I knew that the only way to battle this first challenge was to drain a little 4G on my IPhone and blast out Disney tunes whilst singing into my hairbrush. Definitely a great tip for a car journey, before I knew it all four of us were the Disney version of S Club 7, and they loved it.
Once we finally made it to the outskirts of the capital it was time for the final leg of the journey and their first ever London Underground experience. Using the underground can be daunting for the average adult, it’s cramped, hot & sticky and you’re guaranteed to get pushed and shoved by people getting on and off. So taking a 3 & 6 year old on there for the first time was another fun challenge to deal with. Don’t forget that even though it might be your idea of hell they will absolutely love it! If we had spent the whole day getting on and off the tube they would’ve had just as much fun as checking out dinosaurs, remember, it’s the simple things.
- TIP: If it’s really crowded or rush hour then picking up the kids will allow more space, and otherwise they will most likely get squashed!
We spent an incredible time exploring the Natural History Museum, a free and fascinating must-see when in London with or without the children. In the cathedral you might as well be stepping into the movie set of Jurassic Park with a life-size T-Rex replica sitting centre stage. Don’t forget to use the cloakroom so you don’t become the donkey carrying all the coats and bags whilst the kids run off towards planet earth. I would totally recommend you buy the children’s guide book and map (£5), with its games, facts and pictures it’ll keep them entertained all the way home, plus it’s a great ‘show and tell’ for school on Monday.
- TIP: Use the side entrance (exhibition Entrance), there is rarely a queue and we just walked straight in whilst the main entrance had an hours wait.
- Don’t miss the earthquake simulator, ideal for young children as it’s not simulating anything more than a tremor.
Following a fun but exhausting few hours back in time we headed on the underground towards Westminster. You can’t take the kids to London for the first time and miss a trip to see Buckingham palace or Big Ben. We stopped for lunch adjacent to The London Eye and watched the world go by talking about everything we had seen that day.
There’s nothing like a little souvenir when you’re a child. Stop off at a one of the many souvenir shops along the way back to Waterloo station, we manage to find two beautiful little key rings (£3ea) that we know they’ll cherish for ever as a reminder of their first big smoke adventure. Upon asking what adventure we should do next time their response was ‘I want to go to London every day for ever’. I think they were sold!