This post continues the tale of our one big vacation, seeing the sights in Paris and London.  The Paris part was already blogged, and this post covers London.

The Eurostar got us to London on Wednesday, February 13th, and we stayed in a youth hostel called YHA (Youth Hostel Association) where we got a room full of bunk beds to ourselves, with one shared bathroom.  It’s right in the center of London and a great way to save money if you don’t mind sleeping in the same room.  (Cheap continental breakfast, too.)  We dropped our stuff at the hostel and had fast food from King’s Cross food court for dinner, then went to the Harry Potter shop at Platform 9¾ where Mary Ella did a bunch of souvenir shopping.

Thursday – Hamilton

Lydia woke up early and left to go get “Oyster Cards” which let you ride the London tube.  After breakfast we took showers and got into fancy clothes because today was the day we would see Hamilton.

On the bus on the way to shopping and Hamilton

But first, Jesse’s main souvenir goal in London was the Tintin Store, and we went there first.

The Tintin shop, which does not permit photographs indoors. 🙁

He bought some figurines for himself and one to send to his friend Tim back home.  We ate at The Lamb and Flag, which is an aged establishment with famous clientele from bygone years.

History of the Lamb and Flag

We then took the bus to the Victoria Palace Theatre and saw Hamilton, and it was indeed spectacular, as Addy has blogged about in detail.

After a quick fast food dinner, the kids hit the hay at the hostel and Mom and Dad shared a beer and a cup of tea in the hostel lobby as a Valentine’s Day “date.”

Friday – Divide and Conquer

This is our last day of vacation!  We split up for the morning because Mom wanted to take some kids to the Churchill War Rooms, but Addy didn’t want to go, and I expected to see them later when my parents would visit.  I’ll leave the war rooms for another blog post, and instead tell you what Addy and I did — some Sherlock Holmes sightseeing!

We tried to see St Bartholomew’s Hospital, the iconic building from which Sherlock leapt to his “death” in the BBC Cumberbatch-and-Freeman Sherlock series.  After much walking, we found the famous spot, but it was under major construction so we couldn’t get any good selfies.

Sadness due to construction

We then went to 221B Baker Street for the Sherlock Holmes Museum, which is dedicated to the original Conan Doyle stories.  It contains only authentic artifacts from the Victorian period and is set up to maximally simulate the apartment of the two men from the novels.  The docent was particularly good, in an authentic Cockney accent telling stories about Holmes and Watson as if they were real men and telling true stories of criminals from the same time period.

We ate lunch at Speedy’s Cafe, immediately next door to where the modern BBC series’ characters live, and got some photos of the famous apartment door and Speedy’s awning.

The location of the apartment of the famous BBC duo

We then dropped some stuff at the hotel and went to meet the others at the London Eye.  I’ll also refrain from saying anything about the Eye, because Jesse wants to write about it in the future.

We had hoped to walk around and see the Westminster or Belgravia areas, but the kids were tired and complainey, so we took the tube to a famous ice cream place instead (Ruby Violet).  It’s so fancy they actually take your order and then bring it to your table.

Some Ruby Violet product

Serendipitously, we happened upon a floating bookstore on the walk home, which was really fun.

Word on the Water, the floating bookstore
Our girls shopping for books

Saturday – Heading Home

So we obviously had less time in London than in Paris, but that’s okay; you can’t do it all.  We’re very fortunate to even be able to do fast tours of these cities!  We woke early, showered, packed, breakfasted, and got over to the train station across the street early.  It is a long way home to St Andrews from London, then I went to fetch Meg with a rental car.  She was extremely happy to see me.  We went to church the next day, but other than that, we crashed and rested from a long, fun, but very tiring trip!

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  1. Judith Berry | | Reply

    I really enjoyed spending time with you in the “Two Cities.”. Your dad would have loved the bookstore!

  2. Alison | | Reply

    Hey Nathan and Lydia,
    Great blog all year! You’ve got some super cool kids and dug, and I’ve really enjoyed every word and picture shared by all. Safe travels home, and I’d love to hear more once you’ve all settled in. Bravo for a great year and great family!!
    love, Alison

  3. Mary Patricia Dixon | | Reply

    Great touring and experiences.

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