Contributor: Josefa Abdelnour
Dates of Travel: August 2016
Activities: Big Ben and the House of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, The State Rooms and Garden Highlights Tour, CityCruises Hop-on Hop-off Cruise on the Thames, Covent Garden, Golden Tours Hop on Hop off Bus Tour, London Zoo, Marylebone Green Children’s Playground at The Regent’s Park, Namco Funscape, The London Eye, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Victoria and Albert Museum, William Shakespeare Fountain at Leicester Square
This past August, I surprised my daughter and nephew with a trip to London for their birthdays. My sister readily agreed to relinquish guardianship of her son to me for a week in London. She and I are both disillusioned by extravagant birthday parties and too much emphasis on stuff. We are making a conscious effort to provide meaningful experiences for our children, even if my daughter was only turning ten and my nephew nine.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking children to see the world. Our trip to London increased their awareness of cultural differences. While making our way to the London Zoo and walking north through The Regent’s Park, we took a detour to the Marylebone Green Children’s Playground. My daughter and nephew quickly made friends and started chatting with a British boy while climbing on one of the playground structures.
The boy noticed our accents and asked, “Are you on holiday?”
And my nephew replied, “No, we’re on vacation.”
They all stopped and stared at each other bemused in silence for a moment. Miraculously, I captured the moment on camera. They figured out quickly they were both saying the same thing. We all know that learning happens outside the classroom, but it’s a marvel when you witness an a-ha moment happening in your own children.
We hit major tourist destinations like Covent Garden, The London Eye, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, and, of course, Big Ben and the House of Parliament. We were fortunate to be visiting in August when you can tour Buckingham Palace. You can buy tickets for Buckingham Palace, The State Rooms and Garden Highlights Tour during the summer months only.
However, if you ask the children, the highlights of their trip included hanging out below deck on a CityCruises Hop-on Hop-off Cruise on the Thames where they bought snacks from the concession stand by themselves and sat in swivel chairs watching the sights on the riverfront. Also, relaxing on the Golden Tours Hop on Hop off Bus Tour which is a great way to see the entire city, and then letting loose at Namco Funscape which is a giant arcade featuring video games, bowling, escape room, and too many activities to complete in one visit.