Mason had his own bucket list item for Europe and that was to take the Chunnel to England. We did visit London nearly 7 years ago as a family (with both sets of grandparents as well), but the boys have little to no memory of that trip. Once Mason mentioned he wanted this one thing, we tacked it on to a trip to see friends in Scotland and a plan was born.
Tuesday, we left right after school, hopped a train to Liège, changed in Liège for a train to Brussels and from there the Eurostar. The Brussels Midi train station has been renovated and was a really nice stop for us to grab a quick dinner before heading to London. There were so many restaurant options, and the station itself seemed in good shape. We arrived to St. Pancras station around 8pm local time (9pm NL time), walked about ten minutes to our Airbnb and got settled in.
I’m so glad we planned one full day in London (instead of going straight to Scotland, which was my original plan). We were able to have a leisurely morning, grab breakfast nearby at an amazing cafe, Sandwich Street Kitchen, then we walked to the London Eye. Being that we were traveling mid week and had bought tickets in advance, the process of getting on was super easy and organized. Our carriage was not over crowded and we had incredible views of the city. Afterwards the boys played for a while at a little playground nearby until we needed to leave for our show.
Next up was a matinee showing of The Lion King at Lyceum theater. The boys have never been to a show like this before. We were curious how they’d do with this one but happy that it started at 2:30 (and not in the evening like most of the shows). It was well worth it! Caleb especially was excited about the costumes and characters. I think it was a little long for Mason’s attention span but afterwards he had very positive things to say. I was blown away by the set design (which is not something that always catches my eye), the costumes, and the overall performance. What I thought would be fun for the kids ended up being one of my favorite shows I’ve seen. No photos/videos are allowed during the show, so you’ll just have to go see it!
Following the show we walked the 2 miles back to our Airbnb to meet London-based friends who were coming over for dinner. It was a cozy short evening of pizza and wine and catching up on careers, travel, and parenthood. Through Melissa we have met some really wonderful people over the years who now live in different parts of Europe, and I always enjoy getting to see them again and catching up.
Our last morning we went back to the cafe we’d found the day before and then headed to Kings Cross station for our train to Scotland!
Kings Cross is where the Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4 is “located”. There’s a line to take your photo there as well as a little gift shop. I tried standing in line, but it was really slow moving and the boys didn’t care to wait (plus we needed to catch our train).
Our trip to London was short and sweet. We didn’t pack it in but the long walks to the London Eye/Lyceum and back gave us the opportunity to see quite a bit, even if from afar, and the activities we did have were really fun with the boys. I’m glad they’ll now have memories of the city and hope to be back again soon. Cheerio!