Family Days Out in London – Greenwich & the Cutty Sark

I love living near London. Within half an hour, we can be at one of three major stations – London Bridge, Waterloo East or Charing Cross, from which we can get to most major tourist areas.

On Monday, I took two of my three kids to Greenwich to see the Cutty Sark. We went by Thames Clipper boat from Embankment, just to make the journey that bit more exciting. Although it probably takes longer that way, you get to see a lot more and it’s fun to spot and point out the famous landmarks that line the Thames.

By the time we arrived in Greenwich though, the three of us were feeling desperately hungry. However, first stop on the list was to collect some gluten and dairy free doughnuts that I ordered from Borough 22 Bakehouse. Having contacted Ryan via Facebook, he very kindly arranged to meet us in Greenwich to drop a box off, even though it was a Bank Holiday. Hand delivered, freshly made doughnuts – you can’t get better than that can you? More about these in a separate post though.

After sharing one of the doughnuts (well it would be rude not to), we went to find somewhere to eat. I didn’t bother to do my usual research, as I felt sure we would find somewhere suitable to cater for my son’s gluten and dairy intolerance. We decided to go for burgers thinking that the modern, gourmet burger joints you see everywhere now are sure to be with the times when it comes to dealing with these things.

Byron burger house is right on the river side, just as you get off the boat. We had to queue for about twenty minutes to get a table, making me think it would have been wiser to book, but by then I realised if we went anywhere else we would have the same problem. My son was ratty as anything by this point. The drop in his blood sugar was obvious by his whinging behaviour. I felt the same, I just didn’t express it in the same way and neither did my eleven year old daughter.

When we finally got a seat, I asked for the gluten free menu but there wasn’t one. My heart sank, but the manager came over to go through what we could have. It turns out that the burgers are gluten free, which is one plus point, but there are no gluten free buns. His choice was to have a kids burger with salad and if he wanted fries, he could have the skin-on chips (not the fries as they are wheat coated). But here’s the thing – they are cooked in the same oil, so if you are coeliac, there is no way you could eat them. My son is gluten intolerant and I knew that given how hungry he was, there was no way he would have enough with just a burger and a bit of salad, so I said yes to the chips. He ate a few, but said they weren’t very nice anyway. His burger was also dry.

As for dessert, ice-cream was the only gluten free choice for children and there was nothing dairy free. Lucky I had the doughnuts then! What smacks in the face in places like these is that they still charged us for the set children’s meal. I should have argued it, but all I wanted to do was get out of there as quickly as possible. The other thing that surprises me is that they are obviously aware of the potential dangers of cooking oil contamination and yet they don’t provide an alternative.

Sometimes you have to write off an experience and that is one of those times. With some energy restored, we went on to tour the Cutty Sark, which both children really enjoyed. It’s very engaging and there are a lot of interactive displays for the children to have a go at. Plus, we also caught part of the tour, which took us back in time to when the ship was at its heyday.

The Cutty Sark was a famous ship in it’s day, known for it’s speedy journeys around the world. A cargo ship, it brought firstly tea from China and then went on to ship wool to Australia in it’s later years. Rescued and restored to it’s former glory, the Cutty Sark is the only surviving tea ship of it’s kind.

Cutty Sark - A Free From Life

Greenwich is a fun and vibrant area to visit. Not only are you absorbed in the maritime history of London, there is a bohemian feel to the area, especially around the market place. In the main square by the Cutty Sark, there was a vintage market on, complete with lindy hop dancers. In the park on the opposite side, was a beer festival with live music, put on by a local brewery. It felt like there was something for everyone.

Greenwich Maritime Museum - A Free From Life
One thing I can say about a day out in London is that it is tiring. The journey, complete with activities and sight seeing certainly wore me out, so I’m not surprised that the kids were on their knees by the time we arrived home. Goodness knows how we managed to save two doughnuts so that my husband and other daughter didn’t miss out, but we did. Apart from the hole in the middle, they were still in one piece too!


joining in with Country Kids

Shared with Monday Escapes

About Nicola Young

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16 thoughts on “Family Days Out in London – Greenwich & the Cutty Sark

  1. I love the idea of doing London by boat and Greenwich sounds like a good choice of places to visit, so long as you do your homework on places to eat! the boat looks fascinating, so much to learn from trips like this. Thank you for sharing with me on country Kids.

  2. I love Greenwich too, and had planned to take N to see the Cutty Sark on Friday when we went. But it rained so we aborted that idea. It will have to wait for another trip.

    Bummer about the burger place. You would think in this day and age, more places would have alternatives

  3. Greenwich is home for me and yet despite that, I still absolutely love a day out by Cutty Sark, Maritime museum, Greenwich market etc. Such a pity the restaurant food didn’t tick all the boxes and it is strange they use the same oil but there’s lots around so hopefully next time you might find somewhere which has more options for your son – I can imagine how tricky it must be for you trying to manage both gluten and dairy intolerance.

    1. You are so lucky to live in such a lovely place. It’s a lesson learned not to research before going in terms of restaurants. I always do, but didn’t get round to it this time and you know how it is, busy place + moaning, hungry children = go to first restaurant you come to. I imagine Greenwich has quite a few places that cater for gluten and dairy free.

  4. Living in London must be great, there are indeed many great options for day trips. The first time I went there I visited Windsor, and thought it was such a beautiful place. I hope to come back sometime.

    Must be an extra work to travel when your little boy is gluten intolerant 🙁 the good thing is that nowadays there are many many places out there with gluten free options… here in Germany I see it all the time on the menus! 😀

    Thank you for linking up to Monday Escapes!
    I hope you have a great week!!

    1. There are so many great places to visit in London and I think we take it for granted, living on the doorstep. As for dining out, it’s getting better. Gluten free options are improving but very often they aren’t dairy free, so being both is very difficult.

  5. I agree, living near London has its plus points but it can be a tiring day. I went to the Natural History museum the other week and we were both exhausted. Me trying to negotiate a buggy on the tube on my own isn’t great! It looks like you had a fab day out though, I haven’t yet been to the Cutty Sark but it’s on the list! Shame about the Byron Burger – they are usally so good. #MondayEscapes

  6. I love London, and Greenwich is a favourite spot. Although, I’ve just realised that I may have walked past the Cutty Sark many times, but I’ve never actually been on it! It looks like you had a great day, despite the burger disaster. You really would think that there would be gluten free options these days, but as a vegetarian used to V signs all over British menus, the lack of them on US ones is proving to be annoying, so I can sympathise, even though mine is through choice, rather than necessity!

    1. We never went up much when the children were smaller. Tubes and trains etc made it seem such a hassle. Now it’s more appealing. I only had two out of three children that day, which is enough to keep an eye on though!

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