This summer, after months of planning, and more than a couple of years of hoping we’d get across the pond sooner than later, we were finally off on a 2-week family trip to England!
Day 1: Leaving California and Arriving with Shakespeare
Our departure from Sacramento (SMF) was in the oh-so-unpleasant early morning hours to SFO, and then we had a few hours to wake up before hopping on another flight to LHR. We planned ahead and grabbed ourselves some United Club passes (thanks to the secondary market on eBay) so that our layover was comfy, quiet and full of snacks and beverages.
The 11 hour flight was going to be a challenge for everyone, but we set our clocks to fall asleep 3 hours into the flight courtesy of sleeping masks, Tylenol PM and kid friendlymelatonin gummies to chomp down every time we woke up. We magically all ended up getting at least 6 hours of rest, which we were going to immediately need upon departure!
You see… arriving at 7:00am is either an excruciating time change or a great start to the day… and we had already planned for it to be the latter.
With an uneventful wait in line at the border and an easy time grabbing our luggage, all we needed to do was hop on the tube for 40 minutes to arrive at our hotel for the week!
When we were making our hotel arrangements, we originally thought about booking an AirBNB/apartment for our stay. But when we looked at the check-in times, it was going to be a messy go-between in order to deal with our luggage and keys and plans for the day.
Instead, we opted for bed & breakfast accommodations in Bloomsbury and were so happy we did! Our 5-night stay in London in a 3-person room for the first week of July was only $880 w/taxes and a full-English breakfast every morning!
We dropped off our luggage and then began what Miss L refers to as my favorite part of vacation: walking! (It’s not false… I adore wandering and walking on urban vacations!)
We meandered through Trafalger Square, down across the Thames, and indulged, like hobbits, in our second breakfast of the day at Swan.
The iced tea and iced coffee were just what we needed as weary adult travelers, and Miss L adored her sugary intake of pancakes with caramelized bananas! Then, it was off to our first official activity of the trip in the : As You Like It!
Sadly, global warming has not taken kindly to the air circulation at the Globe, it’s groundlings, nor its heavily dressed actors.
We had hit London in what we thought was a minimal heat wave, but by the end of the trip it was just normal insanely hot/humid weather that persisted for 2 weeks.
While the production was wonderful, the ability to watch it while dripping in sweat was a feat in itself. There was plentiful lemonade, water, and cooling stations all around to help! Still, in spite of the heat, it was a wonderful fun to watch and see a show in the theater!
By the time 4:00pm rolled around, we were getting a little jet-lagged and silly. We took our time strolling back the way we came, and made sure to stop for gelato, macarons, and Mamma Mia sightings.
Day 2: British Museum
The next morning arrived quickly, and before we knew it we were up and at ’em once again! We grabbed our first breakfast at our B&B, then headed out to explore!
[I mean… after seeing that photo… who would ever pass up a full cooked to order English breakfast every morning along with the super-important French Press full of coffee!]
Our second day in London began at the British Museum, which was right within walking distance from our hotel.
While there’s a short queue for security during busy hours, there’s no admission fee so you can hop in and out for a visit whenever you’d like! Additionally… it is also an a/c-free museum, so plan to visit early on a hot day before the top floor becomes stuffy and unbearable!
The first thing all parents should grab on a trip with their kids is a Family Trail guide. With the “Ancient Egypt” pamphlet as our starting guide, we ventured off into the varied halls of the museum.
It was the perfect way to orient ourselves into what to see, especially around a VERY crowded museum on a hot summer day.
Miss L had a blast teaching us all about what she was finding along the way as well!
We made it through all of the exhibits, stopped for some refreshments at one of the Montague Cafe upstairs (did I mention it was unbearably hot???), and spent a bit of extra time in the gift shop as well.
Then we went off to Harrods to grab a late lunch and check out the toys… all in the comfort of air conditioned greatness!
Being a bit jet-laggy and groggy, we took it pretty easy on Day 2. After Harrods, we walked over to Hyde Park and down the road to check out Buckingham Palace.
Then it was time for some Irish skipping through the park, an icy-cold ’99’ (aka. softserve ice cream & a Flake), and a tube ride back to our hotel for the evening.
We finished the day with an amazing Indian dinner at Salaam Namaste in Bloomsbury, then hit the pillow early for our Wimbledon adventures the next morning!