While we hope that a few more friends surprise us by stopping through London on their travels, we may have had our last visitor. Having people visit and stay with us is always exciting. It means we get the chance to play tourist and see our favorite sights and explore some new ones too. It also means I get to help people plan their visit and hopefully ensure they have a great trip to London.
My friend Alicia visited from Edmonton. I have worked with her at the pharmacy for many years. She planned a wonderful little trip for herself starting in London and then going to Dublin and Paris. She left her hubby at home and did this trip solo which turned out to be a great experience for her.
Her first day here we took it easy and walked around Wimbledon. I showed her Wimbledon Common and we walked through the Village and stopped at a few places that caught our interest. We caught up on our respective lives and I’m sure I talked about work way too much because it’s been on my mind, as I have to go back soon.
On our second day, we planned a visit to Buckingham Palace to tour the State Rooms. They open the Palace to visitors for a few months each year so we were lucky it coincided with Alicia’s trip. Visiting the Palace is not the most baby friendly. There are no washrooms until the end of the tour, so if you want to change the baby or go to the washroom prior to the tour, you have to walk about 10 minutes away to a public washroom. Once you are done the tour there is a café and washrooms available. You also have to fold down your stroller to go through security and check it in the cloakroom and then carry the baby for the tour because strollers are not allowed in the State Rooms. The website says they have baby carriers available to use but I brought our own as I knew I would have to carry William. You get a free audio guide tour, which I highly recommend. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos inside. Normally I would have snuck a few pictures on my phone, but there was no way to discreetly do that while juggling a baby, diaper bag and audio guide! My favorite part of the tour was the kitchen facilities and learning how they prepare for large Royal dinners and parties. I was shocked to learn they wash all the tableware by hand, but I guess that makes sense since they have the finest china, silverware and crystal.
William was not quite as interested in the tour as we were. There were a few benches to sit on in the rooms, so I took a break to feed him. After, I sat him down on the ground as I got organized, and he had a large burp. It was quite funny, and Alicia and I joked about how horrified we would have been if he had spit up on the carpet at Buckingham Palace!
After lunch at the Palace’s Terrace Café, we walked through the back garden of the Palace where they host garden parties.
We carried on through St. James’s Park towards Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.
Here, I hopped on a tube home and Alicia carried on to tour the Tower of London and London Bridge.
On Saturday, we walked around Covent Garden and saw Charles Pétillon’s Heartbeat installation.
We went to Somerset House for a quick coffee and pastry and carried on through Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Alicia paid an exorbitant amount of money for some peanut M&M’s at the M&M store and we saw them setting up for the big Pan movie premiere. Alicia was quite upset that she missed the opportunity to see Hugh Jackman in the flesh. We walked around Soho a bit more and then went for dinner before Mike and William went home and Alicia and I went to see Jersey Boys.
On Sunday, we started the day with a nice stroll through Notting Hill. Mike took William into Hyde Park for a few hours and left Alicia and I to enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea at the Park Grand Lancaster Gate Hotel. The food was very fresh and the service was impeccable.
I think I need to start making fancy fillings for my sandwiches and cutting off the crusts. They just taste so much better that way!
After, we met up with Mike and William near the Italian Fountains in Hyde Park. We walked to the Princess Diana Memorial Playground and took William on the swings. Then we walked to the Serpentine and Kensington Palace. While we were there, the Royal helicopter few overhead and landed in the large field behind Kensington Palace. We started walking towards the area to get a better look, but did not see if anyone got out of it.
We took Alicia to the most colorful pub, Churchill Arms, and had dinner before heading home.
On Alicia’s last full day, we took a trip to Windsor, but I’ll save that for another post. We had such a nice visit and got to do some fun activities. Mike and William got the chance to have some father/son bonding time and I got some baby free time!