Wednesday, May 19, 2010

London: Acting Like Tourists

For Clara's 7th birthday, we planned a day that would be everything she'd been saying she wanted to do. The main reason Clara has a strong sense of what she wants to do in London isn't because we are oh-such, it's because she's pretty obsessed with travel dvds (The Little Travelers , and Travel With Kids series , one of which is on London). She wanted to go to Buckingham Palace, see the lions at Trafalgar Square, go to a park (preferably the Princess Diana Playground) with her friend Daphne, ride a double-decker bus, and have a nice lunch with ice cream afterwards. Our goal was to get through Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, and Fortnum and Mason (where we had decided to go to lunch), all before picking up our friend Ariel at 2pm. We managed easily, and even had time to meander through St. James Park , which is a nice way to walk between Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. Just as we exited the park, we realized it was the changing of the guards. Perfect timing.
Above is inside St. James Park , with a view to the London Eye, which we didn't do, because our friends in NY said the line took forever, and that their 6 year old pronounced it "boring" because it went too slow. There are "fast track" tickets, which allow you to show up 15 minutes before your reserved time, but they cost 22 pounds each, which is alot! (Free for kids under four).
(above four pictures are of The Inn at the Park)
We loved the St. James Park . It had a lovely lake with all kinds of beautiful ducks, and a playground that we didn't make it to. It's in the center of so many things you'd want to be checking out, and it has a great restaurant, The Inn at the Park , which has take-out and sit down service, and has the kind of healthy, organic, delicious food that you always wish you could find in a park, but never can. Worth a stop, even just for a coffee.
We loved these chairs that you can rent in the parks, but only for a photo op. Who wants to pay to sit down in a park?! This was in The Green Park in between Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly, where we were headed for lunch at Fortnum and Mason .
We love the arcade shops throughout the Piccadilly area. Perfect for rainy days.
Jermyn Street, one block off of Piccadilly, has some cool old shops, like this Bates Hat Shop , and a very smart gentleman's shaving shop. Plus many custom shirtmakers.
A delicious smoked salmon sandwich, and it was 8 pounds. Not bad for a fancy restaurant (We were at The Parlour on the 2nd floor, known for its ice creams and sundaes) in Fortnum & Mason, a store that has been around since 1707, is patronized by the Queen, and is in the heart of touristy London.

This was the children's smoked salmon sandwich and I think that was around 5 pounds.
Delicious ham sandwich with quail eggs and mayonnaise, and a mache salad. 8 pounds.
A delicious raspberry sundae at Fortnum & Mason.

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