Tourist time

Yesterday the Beddoe four headed off to London again, this time on the tourist trail. We’ve been up twice this year but both times were for very specific reasons (the Eye and the Bond exhibition/book benches) and we’ve never done the tourist sightseeing type visit.

We parked up at Luton Parkway (what a brilliant little station – who knew?) and almost immediately caught a train that went straight through to London Bridge (with few stops on the way). The Tower was our first stop so we walked over London Bridge, after marvelling at the Shard, and walked riverside to the Tower. The poppy art installation there was breathtaking, and I felt very emotional. My mum has purchased a poppy in memory of my great-grandfather (my William) and to see the thousands upon thousands of beautiful red poppies was just stunning.

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After grabbing a quick sandwich from a rather posh Tesco Express (again, who knew such a thing existed?) by Fenchurch Street we carried on to our next destination which was Westminster. This wasn’t such a thrill as the kids have seen Big Ben and Parliament quite a few times but we went to Downing Street and then on to Horse Guards which was brilliant. I was slightly unnerved by the protesters outside Downing Street and on Parliament Square but they seemed well controlled so tried not to let it worry me.

Next, a lovely walk through St James Park in the sunshine – there was an art exhibition in the park to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers of WW1 which brought back many memories of the school trip I did to the Battlefields – with photographs of many of the places we visited. It all brought another lump to my throat, as it seems so much more real to me as an adult than as a 16 year old.

We emerged from the tranquility of the park onto the incredibly busy roads outside Buckingham Palace and somehow managed to navigate out way over to peer through the gates. The flag was flying so we were hopeful that we might get a glimpse of Liz but to no avail. A and I found ourselves singing the song from Winnie the Pooh about Alice marrying a guard etc etc. I still have the tune going round in my head now!

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A rather long walk later (with a cup of tea on the way) we found ourselves in Knightsbridge and the glamour of Harrods. I’m always in awe of the amazing displays and the attention to detail that the shop manages to pull off and I think my jaw dropped when we saw the price tag of a glass centrepiece in the Christmas at Home section – this item was clearly intended to be used just for Christmas and it cost a whopping £22,500!!! Just ridiculous.

We hopped back on the tube as legs were starting to ache and we were off to Liberty and then Hamleys. I bought a lovely glass heart bauble for this years Christmas tree decoration (we buy a new one each year) and a slab of chocolate in Liberty before unleashing the kids on the “delights” of Hamleys. They had a great time and only moaned a little bit when it was time to go!

A group decision was made to head home for dinner rather than staying and finding somewhere so we caught the train back and had a lovely dinner of fish/sausage and chips. A great day and another thing ticked off our list.

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