One of life’s many mysteries has to be why toddlers fall in love with trains so much.
Ted just loves them! To a point where, on occassion, we’ve been down to the local station to both watched trains arrive and depart and catch the train to no-where in particular and back again.
Every time I’m up in London, he always asks if he can come and a few times, we have taken him for a day out. It can be tricky, however, when you do venture into London to know exactly what to do with the kids.
There’s plenty on offer in the great capital city, but actually narrowing it down taking into consideration money, travel & the weather, can be tricky.
Not any more though!
GLH Hotels (owner-operator of the Thistle Hotels brand) have created a wonderful interactive map of London filled with pre-plotted routes around London attractions.
We’ve stayed in a couple of Thistle Hotels and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves (mainly because the beds are so comfy for Jen and the breakfasts are so good for me…) And now they offer this interactive map makes them even better.
The maps have so many different routes for guests ranging from mapped out routes for food lovers to shoppers and of course, families. Not only can you follow the pre-made routes around London, but you can also use the vast range of attractions & points of interest to create your own routes.
We were invited up to test out the family route and see what we thought.
First off, we headed to Doughnut Time located on Shaftsbury avenue just next to China Town. It was great walking there because we went through China Town itself, which let’s face it, is a great experience. The kids didn’t know where to look with so many things to see. Ted was particularly fascinated with the crispy aromatic ducks hanging on the window.
We arrived at Doughnut time and the children’s eyes lit up at the sight of possibly the biggest, brightest and most delicious looking doughnuts they’d ever seen.
The only problem was how long it took all 3 of them to make their choice about which one to have.
Decisions made, including Grandma’s, and we popped round the corner to dig in. They were, quite simply, the best doughnuts ever to have graced my lips and, the general consensous was the same, even from Louis (a dougnut connoisseur!)
Next up on our pre-planned route was a visit to the world famous Hamleys Toy Shop.
Again, the route was excellent, taking us along the fabulous Regents Street. You could see the red Hamleys flags waving as you approached the shop and we were greeted by some lovely ‘elves’ blowing bubbles. After a couple of snaps we entered the shop.
Both Ted & Isla’s mouths dropped at the sight of toys everywhere. It was tricky to actually get inside the shop because Isla wanted to look at absolutely everything. We needed a plan so Mummy suggested we head right up to the top and work our way down.
They each had a little bit of spending money to choose something small much to their excitement. I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time in 1 shop, even when Jen’s clothes shopping, but it was great fun. The inner child came out of me, not that it needs much encouragement, but I had a lot of fun playing with the various samples on display.
With our purchases bagged up, we were ready to head off to our next destination, but not before we all refuled for some lunch at good old, Pizza Express.
Tummy’s filled, it was getting late in the day and so time for us to divide. There are plenty of benefits to having a 13 year old but it also presents the challenge of amusing a 13 year old and a 3 & 5 year old. They want to do entirely different things. So we split up. I took Teddy & Isla home on the train whilst Jen continued with the interactive maps route to Hyde Park for Winter Wonderland.
The little ones were utterly exhausted, with Ted completely falling asleep in my arms as I carried him back to the station.
The final destination on our route was Hyde Park. There really is so much you can do in Hyde Park as they usually have something going on. But if not, the park itself is a lovely place to be with the kids, especially during the summer months. For Jen & Louis, Winter Wonderland had just opened and beckoned them in.
They went on the rides, ate candy floss and enjoyed the Cirque Biserk show. Oh, and Jen freaked out on the giant ferris wheel too!
After the show, they jumped on a tube and headed back home to be reunited with us. Although by then, they were tucked up in bed.
We had a fantastic day, saw some great sights of London and some new experiences too. The route planner made is so easy for us to know what we’re doing, where we’re going and how to get there that the thought of having a day trip to London, with the kids, is no longer as daunting as it was before.