A day trip to London

Sometimes, I wake up with this urge… I’m not sure if anyone else gets it, I’d be interested to know if people do to be honest. But basically, it’s like an itch, I can’t physically scratch it I can only relieve it by succombing to its desire; the desire to escape and explore. I woke up with that itch a couple of months back and, somehow, within the hour we were on a train to London for the day.

The children were most excited, we’ve only been to London once before, and it’s a couple of hours by train; after getting all the way into London and across to Statford (we were going to the Olympic park), Caitlin decided to trip over her own shadow and smash her nose, forehead and lip up on a storm drain. It was awful, there was lots of blood. So, we only, really, got to London, rode on the tube and used a toilet and came home (then spent several hours in A&E).

That was over a year ago, and they regularly beg to go back and explore properly. So, there it was, we were on the train. Thankfully it was easy to get out of the house because we could eat breakfast on the train, we always have bags ready to leave packed with a crayon roll and sketch pad, threading boards, finger knitting and some books. They just had to add waterproofs and a water bottle and we were ready to leave, well after getting dressed of course; London accepts quite a bit of diversity… but I think, even there, a family day out in PJs is a bit extreme (especially if you saw the state of our PJs).

London_Eye

The excitement levels were through the roof, so a journey of over 2 hours meant their bags came in very useful indeed. And, honestly, with children who don’t self-regulate well, it is quite welcomed. They also add some familiarity to the day and keep a feeling of consistency to the day; children with attachment issues, can present with issues much like children on the Autistic Spectrum, so a change to their normal routine, going somewhere new, this can be an issue. Knowing that this can be problematic, the bags were introduced, we set them up, and they come everywhere with us… and we adventure A LOT. This will hopefully give them the skills to eventually approach unknown places and situations with confidence. Also, showing that I have no fear exploring (I really don’t) helps; the children got really confused when we moved to a new house and I got lost, they honestly believed I knew everywhere because of the adventures we go on.

Millenium Bridge

We discussed our options for the day and, between the children decided, they wanted to see the Millennium Bridge, explore some art, see some dinosaurs, see the London Eye and go on a treasure hunt. Challenge accepted… once we arrived, we caught the tube down to Blackfriars, walked across the Millennium Bridge, explored the Tate and then had lunch in the Café. After letting lunch go down, we had a lovely walk Thames-side across to Waterloo to look at the London Eye and play in the park before catching the tube to South Kensington and having an explore around the Natural History Museum, where we explored the dinosaurs followed by using the map to find “the Vault” and see the treasure. Yes! I ticked every box… see – no fear.

London_Eye

We headed back to Paddington for our return home, early so we could eat dinner at the station; this was going to be the real test as we wouldn’t be able to catch the train until their normal bed time, meaning that by the time we were home and ready for bed, they were going to be 3 hours late for bed. But it all worked out fine, a little crabbiness from Jessa was filtered out by napping, and for a treat they were allowed their Kindle Fire to watch movies/play games on the train. They barely get screen time, so it was such a treat that it was sufficient to get us home.

Good to know we can, if we want to.

Review: The Tate

After arriving into London by train, we took the tube to Blackfriars.  It’s a 5 minute walk to the Millenium Bridge to the Tate, which in my opinion added to the excitement and magic of the trip.

We initially got a bit confused between the two towers and where to take the lift from for each, but once we’d fathomed it out, all was good. We were on a tight schedule, with it being a day trip and with us heading to the Natural History Museum too, it really wasn’t worth us doing the paid exhibitions.

Tate_Restaurant

We did go to the viewing tower and the kids were absolutely amazed at the view, you could walk all the way around level 10 of the Blavatnik building on an outdoor balcony. Afterwards, we went down to the restaurant on Level 9. The food was great, the children each had a children’s risotto, which was cooked nicely (and was their first ever, I have since had to make them loads). And, they catered to my need to eat vegan bringing me a dairy free salad with some dressing to the side and a choice of oil/vinegar instead.

Tate_Risotto

Tate_Salad

Afterwards, we had an adventure over to the boiler house where the children really got their first taste of an art gallery. There was a good range of art for the them to see, and they managed to engage with some sculture, impressionism and some popular modern art. Not all in a positive light, some quite strong negative optinion too. But definitely worth a visit to the free exhibitions for a toe in the water.

Tate_Front

The place was clean, tidy, inviting and accessible. There were lots of children around, but nothing was particularly geared up for children at the time we went, though I did see they do special acitivities for children at certain times – in line with school holidays.

The Tate, London