London – Day 13 – July 22, 2019
Got up and headed to Marble Arch. There’s the arch, of course, but there’s also a lovely little park with some amazing sculptures and a fountain.
When the NZ Blacketts arrived, we walked through Hyde Park and Green Park under the Wellington Arch to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard. It was packed! We couldn’t see much, but managed to get a few photos – it helps to have a tall husband in these situations. The kids got up on one of the plinths and we thought we had found an elegant solution for them to be able to see, but apparently that’s not allowed, so down they came. The bands played some fun music – not the pomp and circumstance we were expecting.
We walked back through Green Park to Sainsbury’s and got some more of their meal deals and ate our lunch at Berkley Square Garden. Then it was off to Hamley’s Toy Store.
Hamley’s is 5 floors of toys. They have a fun atmosphere and there are people demonstrating various toys throughout the store which is a great way to sell stuff, but is also entertaining. There are also lots of toys you can try out. We explored every floor, did some karaoke (at least Colin and Ethan entertained us), made some Lego creations, took the Bean Boozled challenge (thankfully I got the Chocolate Pudding and not Dog Food), were impressed by some of the demonstrations, bought a couple things and then hightailed it out of there!
Walked down Regent Street which is home to a lot of high end clothing stores and flagship stores. Didn’t do any shopping, sadly. Walked through Picadilly Circus to our favourite rest and cold drink spot, McDonalds. After sitting for a bit, the kids all demonstrated their magic tricks for each other.
Then it was off to Oxford Street to do a one stop shop at a souvenir store and on to Primark both of which were torture for Colin – he didn’t realize quite how big the Oxford Street store was, and the checkout lines were insane, but worth it to get a few bargains.
Headed back to Stratford, dropped our stuff off at the hotel and then made our way to The Breakfast Club to meet up with long time friends Helen and Gerard and their pup, Baxter. The food was really good and they had a 2 for 1 special on pints, I was the only one drinking though. Couldn’t let that deal go to waste!
After dinner, we took a leisurely stroll back to Stratford, pausing to play at an obstacle course along the canal. It’s amazing to see how much the area has changed and grown. It was really lovely.
We, of course, ended up at the playground/pub combo and spent more time chatting. We have some great friends and I’m thankful for friendships that survive time and distance.