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London is a Theme Park - The Longest URC TR - EVER!

d_n_s_u

Posted:
11/23/10 at
2:57:28 PM

Views: 4447

Have you the stamina to read this? :-)

Our family Trip (Advisor) Report from London August 2009

It's just over a year since I last visited "The Big Smoke" yet still my head is recovering from an assault on the senses.

Thanks to all on these hallowed boards for having the stamina to attempt to read this: "London Town Trip Report: The Director's Cut"

Us: Two Forty somethings based in Merseyside UK with a 12 year old daughter in tow.

We have been several times to London over the last few years (I hardly ever went as a child so I'm making up for lost time) but we only tend to stay a couple of days or so.

..This time we had one whole week! :-)

Day 1:

We stepped off the train at Euston. Wife and I bought our Oyster Cards (or Crab Card as they became affectionately known) at the station then Tubed it to County Hall Premier Inn.

Dropped off bags, unpacked and then it was straight off to Picadilly Underground station by tube.

Why?

This is the place we chose to pick up our daughter's Zip 11-15 Oyster Card when we ordered it on the net three weeks beforehand.: Euston wasn't on the option list for picking the card up.

This courtesy of Time Out London:

"Young people who are under 16 can get an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard that will allow them to travel free on buses and trams, pay half the adult rate on the Tube, DLR and London Overground and buy half-price Travelcard season tickets. The Oyster daily price cap means that they can travel all day on services where ‘pay as you go’ is available for a maximum cost of £1"

We had paid £5 when we ordered it on the net and that was enough to last the week. It worked out great for us!!

Next up Charing Cross and Foyle's to pick up a book we ordered on the net for our daughter:

"Take the kids to London" by Joseph Fullman..

This book was great and came in very handy...Besides without it we may never have gone to visit the Old Operating theatre the following day..But more of that later.

Much of the rest of the day was spent near Covent Garden. Daughter found a shop called ArtBox that sold all stationary things with a Japanese / Manga theme. It was fascinating and she spent some money there.

At Trafalgar we had a cream tea at the Crypt (St Martin's in the Field) and noticed that much renovation work had been carried out on the place since our last visit.

Access had certainly improved.

Dinner on the first night was at Belgo Centraal -

"Descending into Belgo Centraal is a bit like entering Narnia - only with beer and loads of yummy food. Waiters dressed in traditional monks habits serve a variety of famous Belgo dishes including moules, frites and beer. There are two main dining rooms, the 'Beer Hall' with long refectory tables and the 'restaurant' with more intimate booths."

We agreed it was good food and service although I wouldn't use so much hyperbole as their website did!

- Oh and I have to add that I scrubbed off the 12.5% tip off our bill that had been automatically added and gave the cash equivalent to the waiter instead..Something I did all week at all restaurants who operated this policy.

Little bits of London that have stuck in my mind from that first day: People with cases. People staring at Boards above telling them which Platform which train is leaving from. Posters advertising things on the Tube. "Coco before Chanel." People with mobile phones. People crossing roads when the red man was showing. Cyclists who ignored red lights and cyclists who stopped at Zebra crossings when perhaps car drivers should have as well. Markings on the pavements: Look Left. Look Right. All those buses driving in the organised chaos that is the London traffic and all going to different places..Where's Penge for example? What's there? Dulwich library sounds interesting..

Seriously I had this urge just to jump on a bus and just find out for myself.

Day 2:

These two forty somethings with their 12 yr old daughter decided to make their way to The Tate Modern.

In the past we would have just hopped on the RV1 bus outside Premier Inn County Hall where we were staying but there was some underground pipe work going on around the area and diversions were in operation for this particular route.

When we got to the bus stop we were therefore met with the sign: "This Bus Stop Not in Operation"..so we walked a little further and came upon Gabriel's Wharf and had our breakfast there.

In hindsight we really should have said something to the guy who was actually waiting at the bus stop staring at the road in front of him and presumably waiting for a bus that was never going to come!

This from Gabriel's Wharf website:

"Gabriel's Wharf has become highly popular with local workers, residents and visitors. The units are actually old garages with shop-fronts added but they make excellent retail design studios. Restaurants and cafes, some overlooking the river, offer local employees a chance to escape from their offices. The blank wall of the London Studios was painted to provide an imaginative backdrop. The opening of Gabriel's Wharf in 1988 brought commercial and public life to an area that had long been derelict and signalled the 'rebirth' of the South Bank. It also allowed Coin Street Community Builders to demonstrate to funders and prospective tenants that uses proposed for the more ambitious Oxo Tower Wharf development were viable."

Whilst we were sitting there eating breakfast a couple of tourists were taking photographs of a house opposite. To this day I still don't know what significance this house holds if indeed it holds any.

I guess you either like Tate Modern or not. We like it and being members of the Tate the astronomical cost for the special exhibitions doesn't come into play. We get in "Free" although of course we pay a yearly subscription.

- Come to think of it we probably pay more for number of times we go..!

The Globe tour was next..It was good but I wish there were audio guides rather than the human guides. It was a case of the guide having to shout over other groups and at times she lost patience with members of our group..In my opinion we tourists were just being curious and touristy but I guess logistics dictate.

Lunch was had at the Salvation Army Headquarters Cafe downstairs. We have no connections at all with The Salvation Army but the cafe downstairs (which we found on our last visit to London) provides cheap refreshments in an ultra clean, modern environment.

If you are after a quick snack and are watching the pennies we highly recommend this place.

"Set on Peter's Hill in the City of London, between St Paul's Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge that leads across the Thames to Tate Modern, this six-storey building (Salvation Army) is filled with light, purpose and a sense of modernity." (Website)

We set out next to find the Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum on Southwark Street. Sadly this quirky museum which for some years had detailed the history of UK's favourite non-alcoholic beverages was closed. From what we could make out another business had moved in to the premises.

On the museum website it currently states: The Museum is closed for refurbishment until early 2009..but to be honest from our experience it looked like this is a permanent thing.

Never mind..12 year old daughter having referred to her book wanted to visit The Old Operating Theatre on St Thomas Street.

..Well er, why not?

We paid our money and gingerly walked up the (very) steep step of stairs. This place is the country's only surviving example of an early 19th Century operating theatre. Frighteningly gruesome medical equipment accompanied by pickled people's parts in jars lay before us.

I don't know if we were just "lucky" and because there were lots of visitors at the time but the proprietor of the place then led us all to the actual operating theatre and began to explain how operations were carried out way back when. An American Tourist volunteered to lie down on the operating table and she looked rather concerned..She was right to be..

It is actually a very informative little museum and the owner is one of those Great British eccentrics.

The theatre itself was originally part of the old St Thomas' Hospital but when the hospital relocated to Lambeth circa 1860 the old building was demolished and only the tower that now houses the museum was left standing. The operating theatre was basically forgotten about until it was rediscovered by chance in 1956.

We came away with all sorts of facts in our heads..In the early C19 surgeons were regarded by the medical establishment as being little better than butchers..(and no disrepect to butchers of course)..Hence today they do not take the title of DR but that of Mr...That sort of thing.

Day 3:

It was always on our itinery to visit Kew Gardens.

I've always wanted to visit because, amongst other things, I fondly remember in my distant childhood seeing a picture of Kew Garden's Pagoda in a Ladybird book and wanting to see it for real.

Well Day 3 was going to present me with that chance.

We bought our off peak tickets for the overground train at Waterloo: A journey that required a simple change at Richmond for one further stop. The whole journey must have taken just over 20 minutes.

Because we have a family rail card the total price for the return journey for 2 adults and a child came to £7.80 approx. (Without the card it would have been nearer nine pounds)

The train going was jam-packed full - I think there may have been a race meeting (horses) somewhere as many of the passengers were wearing suits, ties, fancy hats and the like whilst others were discussing betting odds and form.

We used a 20% off voucher courtesy of the London Smartsave leaflets (that are in plentiful supply around london's tourist and travel offices) for our entry. We didn't bother paying the extra for the Kew Garden's transportation "Ride all day" ticket. We were glad we didn't as the road train looked full most of the time anyway.

I got to see the Pagoda but after all the years waiting I was disappointed.

I had this image that it would be all red in colour and more..well more Pagoda like - although what I mean by that I don't know.

I just wasn't expecting it to be made of brick and have windows in it. It just didn't look right.. :-)

Ah well..Nevermind.

We climbed the stairs in the Palm house. The air is very thin in there - That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

We walked the Treetop walkway but the lift wasn't working on the day so there were many more stairs to climb. Kew keeps you fit that's for sure!

Great views of trees and the park way up above on the creaking walkway but we noticed our daughter was getting restless.

In all fairness I wasn't totally blown away by Kew Gardens. Kew the place looked very picturesque and a nice place to live but the gardens themselves were a bit of a let down for my daughter and I. (My wife loved it though)

I don't think the sound of aeroplanes flying by helped. We timed them..Every 45 - 60 seconds a plane flew overhead and there was no let up for the whole of the day.

Personally by the end of the afternoon I was ready to head back to the peace and quiet of London Town.

Evening was a meal at Wagamama's and then the show: Hairspray.

We had great seats and the show was fantastic. Michael Ball was fast approaching the end of his stint but I'm glad we caught the show before he left.

There was a bit of improvisation from Michael Ball and Nigel Planer at one point when they both appeared to have a fit of giggles..the spoilsport cynic in me tells me that this may have been a spot of 'professional planned improvisation' but we loved the show nevertheless and more importantly it got a big thumbs up from our daughter.

Walking back to the tube we decided to give the Covent Garden station a miss due to the crowds of people who appeared to be clogging up the entrance.

We walked to Leicester Square to catch the Tube instead - London as most people know on these boards is a very exciting, lively, colourful, melting pot of a cosmopolitan city and even moreso at night.

Images walking that night? People riding the emission free rickshaws, me dropping the Hairspray programme on the pavement more times than I care to remember, The Ghost Tour passing by offering the chance to ride in an old Routemaster bus that had been painted black, Coco before Chanel (Where had I seen a poster for that film before?), bookshops, a poster advertising Blood Brothers and the theatre where it was showing appearing from the outside as we passed it as if it formed part of the bookshop below it, black bags full of cans and rubbish, one of the bendy buses that I believe is soon to be taken out of service, buses making impossible turns into roads that were full of people in two minds crossing them, some gang graffitti daubed on some walls that somehow didn't appear intimidating, taxis, the crowds of people, a guy selling Big Issues, the smell of something nice being sold on the streets and from inside cosy looking bars and cafes and restaurants, losing wife and daughter for an instant as I got stuck behind some people in front of me who suddenly decided to stop walking and talk about an Angus Steakhouse..I could see wife and daughter's head in the distance getting further away and I was rooted to the spot - I guess it only takes a few seconds to get separated at times like that! The lights, the sounds, the people.

London, as in all the nights we were there, felt a very, very safe place to be.

Day 4:

Sunday and no sign of this ageing 40 something couple with their 12 yr old daughter flagging..Far from it.

Hey and besides, Camden Market was next!

Actually, I stand corrected.

Camden MarketS WERE next!

Believe me when I say that for a tourist these markets are a must visit on a Sunday especially when its warm and sunny.

The weather duly obliged.

Forget growing up..This day was to help make this 40 something couple feel the were growing down. There was so much on offer.

And for my daughter?

Total Nirvana!! :-)

The Stables Market was selling all things future fashion, retro fashion, alternative fashion, vintage fashion. The Camden Lock Market was selling juggling clubs and balls, games and mindbending puzzles and music (Vinyl, CDs you name it). The Inverness street Market was selling fruit and veg. The Buck Street Market was selling, jewellery, clothing and more clothing and the Main Street?..Crikey, that was selling everything from rugs to bangles and a bit of everything already mentioned.

Oh, and I mustn't forget the food stalls, pubs, restaurants, cafes and barrows catering for every palate.

Throw in the buses (some diverted on a Sunday), A place called the Horse Hospital (I think it's either a club or a space that opens up on a Sunday to reveal more stalls: not sure) throngs of people walking one way and another, people standing still, people anticipating which way you are going to move and act accordingly, people who don't anticipate which way you are going to move and brush up against you or stop in front of you, people cutting between you and other people, people crossing roads all around you, multi languages being spoke, the fog of a million Marlboro, all types of dress senses, discarded litter, clean toilets costing 40p a p and there you have it: Our visit to the Camden Markets that Sunday.

For Camden Markets read "Life's Rich Tapestry"

Of course, as in any market place there is tack hidden amongst the treasures (Or should that read the other way around?)

..I mean, there always is isn't there?

For instance, who in their right mind would by a cover for their mobile phone that appeared to be made out of an old sock for £3? I saw many on sale.

There was an air of "gothicness" about the whole place (I make up words now and again)..By that I mean there was an atmosphere of mystery, excitement, macabre..you name it it was all here with the markets huddled together within what could only have been a square mile of each other.

I separated for an hour from the wife and daughter and went rummaging through Vinyl records. I love record stalls and lament the passing of vinyl (You can keep your CDs and Download technology..give me imperfect scratched rawness with my music anytime)

I met up with wife and daughter for lunch and discovered they had bought ear rings-a-plenty, bangles-a-many, little voodoo doll-like things attached to keyrings for presents for daughter's friends (don't ask) and..er..a mobile phone cover that appeared to have been made out of an old sock. (Cost £3)

Lunch up next at Camden Lock.

Loads of choice here and we sat on 3 vacant seats decorated and made up to look like the back of motorbikes / scooters etc. There was a whole line of the things which looked very effective. (You had to be there)

But what of the food itself?

Daughter and I went Italian and wife had a curry.

The stall cooking the pasta was proving popular and I remember my exact thoughts as I ordered the food and watched him cook it in front of me..

"Did he hear what I said?..Why isn't he concentrating on the food in front of him instead of shouting orders to the guy next to him? Why is he asking what others behind me want when he hasn't even cooked mine yet? Whoa!!..too much salt..go easy my friend..Keep your eye on the oil..Why is he tossing the pasta like that? I didn't order that? Has he forgotten me?"

As if by magic a few seconds later he handed me exactly what I had ordered and do you know what? It tasted wonderful!! :-)

My wife bought a curry from a stall that was a lot more sedate. (By that I mean he had no customers and I swear my wife felt sorry for the guy)

Passing on the option of a goat curry she bought a vegetable curry! - It came complete with a sprout in it!

We ate and watched the barges go by in Camden lock.

Holidays in London do not get better than this! :-)

When we were in London there was escalator work going on at the Camden Tube station so people could only Exit there which meant getting the bus back.

No problem. We were becoming experts with the buses.

We like taking the London Buses.

Besides, there's so much more to see from the top deck of one.

On our way back from Camden the bus stopped in a long line of traffic and I read a plate on the side of a building that said something about the first major operation under ether in Europe being conducted there (University College Hospital) by a Mr Robert Liston in 1846.

I never knew that..but I have remembered that.

Information like this provided on the side of buildings, in my humble opinion, go towards making London a fascinating and wonderful place to visit.

Camden had been a great day.

This was turning out to be a great holiday.

Day 5:

Our fifth day was full of firsts.

We had originally planned to take the taxi from outside County Hall Premier Inn at 6am to St Pancras.

But guess what?

No sign of any taxis!

Never mind, our day trip to Paris would have to start with a tube ride from Waterloo.

No problems.

And whilst riding Eurostar was a first for this 40 something couple with their 12 year old daughter so too was riding a near empty tube train and standing on a near deserted tube platform in the heart of London.

It was a strange and somewhat eerie experience.

Anyone who has seen An American Werewolf in London or the Dr Who series entitled "Web of Fear" circa late 60s with Patrick Troughton may just get a flavour of the atmosphere I'm trying to evoke here.

On the escalator going down that morning I was paying more attention to the posters on the wall advertising Billy Elliot, Wicked and We Will Rock You and didn't notice what must have been the only other person around trying to get past me from behind!

The guy made me jump. He was carrying a starbucks coffee and was in a hurry.

I suppose I should have paid attention to the signs in the middle of the escalator.

Even in the early hours of a London morning Tube etiquette dictates that you stand to the right on the escalator to allow people past you.

Quite right too.

Wife and daughter had been standing on the right but I hadn't.

I had been looking at a poster advertising something about dinosaurs appearing in "one of the biggest shows ever to appear in the capital.!"

Once on the platform wife and daughter were fumbling in their bags for something and sitting on the plastic seats and I was the only person there looking at the small overhead information board.

"1 minute"

I like the information boards on tube platforms.

They are reassuring.

I also like looking at the posters on the walls of the Tube Platforms advertising films such as "Moon" "The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3" "Coco before Chanel" and "The Proposal" knowing that I would probably only get to see them some day on Sky TV if at all.

A rumbling noise. Gust of wind. Lights. Eyes trying to scan empty seats before train stops. Relaxes. All empty. Train stops. Doors Open. Find seats. Doors shut. Train moves off. Rattles. Look at map of tube above. Finds where we are on map. Knew anyway. A lady's voice informing us where we are going and what the next stop is. Dark gives way to bright lights. Train stops. Doors open. Woman sits down with paper. Doors shut. Family too tired to talk to each other but smile at each other. Passports not forgotten. Eurostar tickets in bag. Long day ahead. Holiday nearing end.

Too much to see and do yet. Far too much to see and do.

Liked Paris. But Loved London.

Day 6:

So what had we planned for Day 6 then?

I began leafing through several pages of an interesting book called " Secret London: An Unusual Guide" as I lay on the hotel bed waiting for wife and daughter to get ready that morning.

Daughter gave me a long stare when I suggested a few places because she had already made our minds up anyway.

Maybe I could dissuade her?

"What about the Traffic light tree at Canary Wharf? ...No?..Well then what about The Holy Trinity Church in Dalston?..It's been London's Clowns' Church since 1959 don't you know?"

Maybe not.

I had to try harder.

"Crossbones Graveyard sounds good"..(It sounded good but I hadn't read at that point that it was a tiny piece of wasteland, currently used by London Transport as a storage yard that contains the bodies of over 15,000 people. Apparently there is no evidence of their passing because it was unhallowed ground, first for prostitutes and then for paupers..)

The book was full of curious places to visit.."The Handlebar Club at The Windsor Castle pub that meet up on the first Friday of the month (Think moustaches)..The Mummy of Jimmy Garlick at Garlick Hill..The Golden Boy of Pye Corner..The Dead House..Camel Benches..The Ice Rink in the heart of the City..The British Film Institute Mediatheque that is "overlooked by most visitors because it is hidden behind the former National Film Theatre's cafe and cinemas on the South Bank..There are 14 flatscreen viewing stations there where anyone can access hundreds of hours of footage from the British Film Institutes archives for free!..The Giant Scribble on the Ben Pimlott Building at Goldsmith's College..The Roman Bath at 5 Strand Lane..(The book advises you to ignore the sign that says 'Private Property Keep Out' and walk up the alley and at the end on your right is a Roman Bath that may date from the C18)..Giro's Grave (I would have loved to 'cheque' that one out)..and hidden in one of London's biggest Tourist Traps is Britain's Smallest Police Station: It's actually situated in Trafalgar Square and was installed by Scotland Yard in 1926 so the police (1 policeman) could keep a look out for demonstrators, agitators and the like.."

..We set out for London Zoo that morning.. :-(

I couldn't believe the queues when we arrived..

I had forgotten how annoying tourist places were!!!

Luckily daughter had a change of mind when she saw the queues and instead of an amble around a place that Londoners have fallen in and out of love with over the years we headed towards Primrose Hill. this was a15 minute walk from the Zoo entrance to top of hill once we had been pointed in the right direction by a woman walking her dog.

On Primrose Hill we learnt that "one can graze one's own sheep there because it's common ground."

Greater writers than I would no doubt have a field day juxtaposing the feelings of freedom we had (on top of the hill) with the big swooping nets keeping the birds from flying away (in the zoo in below.)

All I'm going to say is that the 40 minutes we spent on top of Primrose Hill provided us with an oasis of calm from the city.

It was literally a breath of fresh air on a lovely breezy day.

The Silence. The breeze. The sun. A jogger in the distance. A man walking and wishing to share interesting information with total strangers like us about sheep and grazing and common land. Mechanical cranes in the distance. That woman below walking her dog. Silence. A girl reading from a book half way down the hill. Us.

We like Primrose Hill.

It isn't big.

But it's nice.

A walk through Regent's Park was next (Sorry..The Regent's Park as is written on a board there)

There's a cafe in the park called The Honest Sausage. I just had to throw that in because its name made us laugh. We didn't eat there -We weren't hungry but we were "ready to eat" by the time we got to Pret A Manger situated on the Marylebone Road.

Boy was that road busy!

We walked and walked and walked taking in the sights and sounds.

Great Portland Street. Regent's Street. Tired legs. Carnaby Street. Stress on the old ankles. Soho. Ended up in Berwick Street. Why the heck have I got back ache now?

Wife and daughter sat in a cafe called Beatroot (Spelling correct as on sign) drinking a "Flamingo Smoothie" and "A Reviving Green Tea."

I went to search out some vinyl from one of the record shops dotted around there and leaned against the tables and boxes as I flicked through the records to help take the strain of my legs.

Metal, Punk, Rap, Jazz, Acid Jazz, Hip Hop, Pop, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Alternative, Experimental, Latin, Country, Disco, Funk, Classical, Blues, R&B, Thrash, Progressive, Techno, Ska, Reggae, Soul, Andy Williams, Power Pop, Rock..Yep it was all there.

I didn't buy anything - I just like looking.

The market on Berwick street was near closing up when I met up with wife and daughter again and then we eventually found ourselves drifting towards Foyle's bookshop. (Our second visit of the holiday)

Wife, daughter and I could spend many hours in the bookshops on Charing Cross.

To be honest we could spend many hours just wandering in tourist London anywhere.

Day 7:

I wished I was somewhere else at 10am on Day 7.

Anywhere really other than where I was at that time.

Somewhere like The Garden of St Dunstan-In-The-East; "..a garden hidden within the walls of a bombed-out church in the depths of the city where the high walls of the ruins trap the heat..."

Even at that early hour I just wanted to sit down and have a nap for a half hour or so.

Not so my wife or daughter.

"Last minute shopping"

(Longest last minute anywhere!)

To be honest I don't like Harrods.

My wife and daughter do.

I didn't like being told to carry my ever so tiny bag rather than wear it on my backby a guy in a uniform near the entrance to the "shop"

The ground floor, anyway, was full of people obliging.

Not so on the other floors..Rebels all of us sheepishly looking over our shoulders as we pretended to shop. We were all just looking.

(I'm beginning to sound like the tourist I was)

I didn't like seeing the upright metal poles situated slap bang in the middle of where you step onto some of the escalators. They are obviously placed there to stop baby buggies and the like.

Not long back I read that Harrods is.."very much a city within a city. Covering 4.5 acres, with over 1 million square feet of selling space, the store generates 70% of its own electricity from its own generators, draws water from its three artesian wells – the deepest of which is 489 ft – and operates 40 lifts that cover 39,800 miles per year. The switchboard takes 7,000 calls a day, and the famous facade is picked out by 12,000 lightbulbs – of which 300 a day are changed by the store’s electrical engineers.."

I read something else somewhere else about another Harrods boast that got me thinking.

Has anyone ever bought a £250,000 waxwork of themselves from Harrods? If so, whereabouts in the place do you buy it from?

We spent some time trying to make up our minds if we were hungry enough to pay the prices being asked for the fantastic food on offer at the restaurants there.

Where would we eat? Where was it to be?

Dim Sum? The Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar? Ca'puccino? The Ibérico Ham House? The Harry Morgan Deli? The Bar Charcuterie? Caffe Florian? The Georgian Restaurant? Ishbilia? The Sushi Bar? The Champagne & Oyster Bar? The Sea Grill? The Terrace Bar?

..Suffice to say the Krispy Kreme Donuts filled a hole :-)

Onwards and outwards..

London is full of bridges.

Not just the picture postcard ones. Ones under which litter gathers. Ones with graffiti daubed on them. Ones where unsavoury smells lurk beneath them on the wall next to the pavement. Trains go over them and buses go under them.

Lots and lots of buses.

We love the route the No 24 bus takes for some of its journey - Who needs the Hop On Hop Off if you can get to sit at the front on the top deck of a No. 24 and marvel at the driver's skill and patience in the bedlam and organised confusion that is the London Traffic and take in some of the sites at the same time?

I like the buses.

But I love the Routemasters most of all.

No. 9.

No. 15.

We had seen a Routemaster squashed between two buildings in Camden Town several days before being used as a business premises. An Estate Agents.

I would buy a Routemaster if I could.

The seats. The lights. The steps. The vibration. A conductor. The noise. Brilliant!

The No. 9 stopped outside The Albert Hall and we wouldn't have got off had the conductor not shouted up to us informing us that we had to.

This bus journey had been totally unplanned. We jumped on the bus when we did because we could and because I wanted to ride on a Routemaster.

Hyde Park stretched out in front of us but we didn't spend as much time there as we would have liked.

On our last visit last year we spent many an hour in London's wonderful free museums and Day 7 was to be the only day this time that we spent any time at them. As time was moving on we headed towards South Kensington and The Science Museum.

Great Place!!

The IMAX screen. (Extra charge but 20% off with a voucher.) Escalator. Stairs. More stairs. 3D glasses. Dinosaurs. Space. Darkness. Blue lighting in the restaurant. GM foods exhibit. Posters. Even more stairs. Toilets. Simulator. The Rocket Steam Engine. Those old cars against the wall above us. People from the European Space Agency talking about what they do. People. Lots of people. Lifts to another floor. The aeroplane on the ceiling. Education area. Glass cabinets. Shop selling puzzles, posters, Jigsaws, postcards, space related things, books. Exhibit in the basement showing things I remember getting for Christmas. VHS video game system. Pong. Radios. TVs. An old CD player. An old Video Player. Old adverts on another old TV. Tired legs. Aching muscles. Cloakroom. Out onto Exhibition Road.

How come no buses run on Exhibition road?

Really, they don't. They run everywhere else!

Just when we wanted a bus there were none! :-) Why do no buses go this way?

Never Mind - The tube does.

South Kensington Tube station comes complete with a very long introductory walk down a very long tunnel that has posters on the walls: Moon. The Taking of Pelham 123. Coco before Chanel (A bit of graffiti covers the face of the woman in the picture) Henry V111 has an exhibition at the British Museum..Signs to the V&A. Stone Steps with some metal plating on the edges. The Tube train arriving. Full. people standing. No seats. Busy. Cramped. Claustrophobic. Hanging on holding a pole. Looking at the closed door and the pitch black behind me.

The tube rocked back and forth towards Waterloo and County Hall Premier Inn and I dared not sneeze.

Words or photos could never do justice to the fantastic time this family had in London.

TiredOfLife?

No, not me.

Life begins in London!

Gary

Re: London is a Theme Park - The Longest URC TR - EVER! by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 11/28/10 9:41:29 PM

Don't know if it's the longest ever, Gary..but I enjoyed reading it. London's the only city abroad I've ever really wanted to visit.

Mike