Browse Tag by Family days out in London
Travelling with 5

Days out in London with the Kids

Days out with the kids in London - A Free From Life

An inset day is a great opportunity to take advantage of our nearness to London and go for a slightly less busy day out. Now my children are all at different schools, it’s also meant that their inset days have differed, allowing us to make the most of rare one-on-one time.

Back in September I wrote about my trip to the Warner Bros. Studios and the making of Harry Potter. That was my eldest daughter’s day out of choice. My middle daughter chose the Tower of London and so before the October half term, we made our way up on the train one cold and rainy Thursday. It was such a wet and gloomy day, there was fog hanging so low that you couldn’t see the top of the Shard.

Days out with the kids in London - A Free From Life

It was a shame that the Tower has a lot of outside space to see. Not a shame in itself, but a shame when you are huddled under your jacket and keeping your head low. But as my daughter informed me, it’s only rain, it won’t kill you, so we ploughed on.

Be prepared for a lot of walking when you visit the Tower of London. It’s a huge space, almost like a village within the city, surrounded by fortification. Within the ancient walls are numerous buildings of interest, reflecting the military history of London, individual towers that housed prisoners of all ranks and of course the Crown Jewels. This was the part my daughter was most looking forward to seeing and very impressive they were too.

We finished our day out by warming up and drying out in The Perkin Reveller restaurant, where we also enjoyed a lovely lunch before making our way back over Tower Bridge to the station.

Days out with the kids in London - A Free From Life

On the other side of the October half term break, I took my six year old son up to the Monument and St Paul’s. Having studied all about the Great Fire of London at school, he was interested to see where Pudding Lane was and even though it was another cloudy and miserable day, still insisted on climbing the 331 steps to the top of the Monument. Though not a great view from the top that day, plus it made me feel a bit sick going up there to be honest, at least we got a certificate to say that we had done it!

Days out with the kids in London - A Free From Life

My son thought St Paul’s Cathedral was amazing and insisted I take photos from every angle. We walked around Patter Noster square too before heading to Leon for lunch, where he enjoyed a gluten and dairy free lunch and an almond biscuit.

Days out with the kids in London - A Free From Life

It’s wonderful when you can take your children to see something they have been learning about in school. It reinforces their knowledge by bringing it to life – like a living history lesson. That’s one of the great advantages of living so close to the Capital.

My Travel Monkey
Travelling with 5

Family Days Out in London – Greenwich & the Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark - A Free From Life

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!

 

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