Chapter 1 - The Drop Off
The brakes squeaked to a halt, both back doors opened in unison and out we got. A smile stretched across both our faces.
I looked across the roof of the car towards my son George and asked, "You ready for this?".
He nodded, "Yes Dad, ready!"
I leaned close to the drivers side window, "Thanks for the lift my dear! See you later." (she hated being called dear).
"Okay, have fun. Oh, make sure you text me when you get there!" she replied, almost excited at the prospect of getting rid of us for the day.
"Yeah, don't worry!" I said reasuringly as I closed the back door.
We watched the car pull away and drive towards town. George and I looked at each other.
"Well, me boy, London here we come!". We strode towards the train station entrance.
Chapter 2 - I'm going deeper underground
Tickets in hand, we stepped aboard the train to London Marylebone. After realising that getting a seat was simply not happening, we opted for perching on a narrow window ledge near the doors of the train.
"First class, eh?" I joked.
*Shrug* "It's okay." replied George.
The journey seemed to go very quickly as we played games like I spy, put on silly voices and tried to guess who it was. I won by the way.
Take bottles of water and some sugar free mints with you. Makes for a more enjoyable experience.
After a while an announcement came over the tannoy.
"Ladies & gentlemen we are now approaching London Marylebone. Please remember to take all of your belongings with you. We hope you managed to actually get a seat and that you enjoyed travelling with us today."
George looked at me and smiled. "Not a chance pal!" he chuckled.
The train doors slid open with a swoosh! The Father, son team stepped off and without warning were swept away by a sea of people. The current was strong but don't worry, we are good swimmers!
We washed up together at the entrance to the Underground. The famous sound of the trains which could easily be mistaken for tie fighters could be heard clearly. Searching around in my pockets, I eventually pulled out the two orange train tickets.
Inserting mine into the machine it happily pulled it through and spat it out of the top as the doors opened up for him.
George, on the other hand dropped his ticket just in front of the machine and caused a ruckus. Now under a large amount of pressure, he quickly stooped and grabbed it. Clenching the troublesome ticket, he offered it to the machine and hey presto! Down to the underground we went.
Succesfully navagating the London Underground
Before your journey, look at where you need to go and jot down the stations that you need to get to and get off at.
This saves heaps of time and effort. Getting lost or going the wrong way just add to the stress of a fun day out.
We disembarked the train at Waterloo which is a short walk to the London Eye. Westminster is literally opposite the eye. I think that would be the best station to get off.
Chapter 3 - Eye know where it is....
The underground train pulled up at Waterloo station where a hoard of desperate people stood waiting, anticipating the opening of the doors. We dived out of the doors and got away from the crowd and the busy platform.
Exit signs led the way out, so we set off towards the huge escalators that take you up to the street level. George stood next to me as we rose but on the left hand side.
"No, no no. What are you doing?" I asked him.
"What are you on about?" George replied bluntly.
"The escalator etiquette. You MUST stand on the right so anyone that wants to rush past the crowd can do so on the left! It's an unwritten rule on the escalators of London!" I explained.
"Oh, right." he muttered looking confused and stepping over to the right, a little redder than before.
Out of the station we crossed the road looking for signs that might lead the way to our first tourist attraction.
Then, I spotted something. "Over there! This is the way me boy!" I beamed.
As we headed towards the River Thames and the iconic London Eye, I couldn't help but notice a carnival - type atmosphere had filled the air.
It was a beautifully warm day and obviously this good weather had cheered our capital City right up. Ice cream vans, vintage show cars, various entertainers, musicians playing Caribbean style music and street food kiosks were dotted about the place. Crowds of young and old, laughed and had fun.
A huge oily,wobbly looking bubble floated by us, closely followed by a flock of excited kids trying to capture it and pop it.
"I'm forever blowing bubbles!" I sang in tune. George shook his head, not a Hammers fan then.
What a great start to a fun day out.
We stopped close to the river to take a picture, Big Ben in the background made it a fantastic shot. That's when we spotted it.
The huge London eye stood 135 metres from the ground, towering above most other buildings within it's vicinity.
"Wow! Let's get on!" chirped George.
Useful tips - Eye know
As this trip was arranged for Georges birthday, the London eye tickets were bought for him as a present by his Granny.
I would recommend buying online before your visit and definitely look around for voucher codes before you checkout. See if there are any offers for different attractions when you are looking to visit.
If travelling with a younger child, make sure they use the toilet before you get on. 30 minutes of listening to a little bambino crying, "I NEED A WEE!" could get annoying.
Once inside the pod, you slowly rise up above the skyline of London. Tablets are situated on board that explain what landmarks are on view.
Houses of Parliament,
Shard, the river Thames, Buckingham Palace,
The Tower and
The Tower Bridge
are all on show.
Chapter 3 (Continued) - Golden Arches
As we descended again, George jumped up and pointed excitedly out of the window.
"Oh my goodness! LOOK!" he yelped.
"What?" I gasped.
I expected to see someone hanging from the pod above us or to see a huge Terradactor landing on top of Big Ben. No, neither of these.
"McDonalds!" burst out of his mouth.
"Can we go there for lunch?" he asked. A lady behind us sniggered.
Finally the impressive ride stopped. We politely allowed others to get off first and then stepped out and headed for the Golden arches. It was great to see that we had travelled all the way to our capital City and could try a variety of cuisine and yet all George wanted to do was eat a Chicken Legend with fries.
After lunch we crossed the famous Westminster Bridge towards the towering Big Ben.
"Impressive isn't it. Never seen it in real life before. Some call it the Big Bell, you know." I explained.
Across the packed bridge, foreign men had games set up that seemed to involve gambling. I don't like to be surrounded by crowds of people, always fearing that my wallet may get nicked. We hurried on to the other side of the bridge.
"Where do you wanna go next me boy?" I asked.
"Home?" he suggested.
What else can you do around the London eye?
Creepy, dark and not for the faint of hearts. Enter the dungeon if you dare.
I really wanted to go in but George was too scared.
Maybe next time.
The Sea Life London Aquarium is located on the ground floor of County Hall on the South Bank of the River Thames. It hosts about one million visitors each year.
Family-friendly attraction based on the film "Shrek" with a 4D movie & interactive fairy tale shows
Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London and is usually extended to refer to both the clock and the clock tower as well.
Final Chapter - Natural History
As home wasn't an option, we walked past Big Ben and towards 10 Downing Street. "The Prime Minister lives down there George."
"How do you know?" my son asked looking down the street.
"Look down that street. I'm guessing the police aren't guarding another McDonalds!" I joked.
We moved down some stone steps into Westminster underground station ready to get to the next location.
"Where are we going?" asked George.
"The Natural history museum. It's supposed to be really good!" I boasted.
Again we boarded the tie fighter and flew off towards South Kensington station. Counting down the stops and checking that each station was the correct one (Just in case the train somehow jumped to a different line), I could relax now knowing that we were heading towards our final tourist attraction.
At South Kensington, the wind picked up, a screeching - type sound grew louder and stronger from within the darkness. Suddenly a red and white blur flew out from the darkness of space and gradually slowed to a halt. The craft landed in front of more passengers.
Above ground and a short walk from the station, the museum stood awaiting our visit. A queue had formed outside and proved it's popularity. A short woman wearing a blue t-shirt stood on my foot.
"Sorry!" she muttered, seeming very embarrassed.
"Sorry." I said. I still don't know why I apologised as it wasn't my fault but there you go. Her husband, a short and chubby fellow, rolled his eyes.
"Be more careful will you!" he snapped at her.
"No, no don't worry. No harm done here." I calmly announced, trying to diffuse his temper. The queue seemed to go on for miles but we soon got closer to the entrance.
"Must be good if you have to queue up, eh Dad?" George said.
Our moment had arrived and we were just steps from the museum doors.
As we stepped through the doors we were met by an impressive, giant skeleton of a Dinosaur know as a Diplodocus.
What the boy thought
George: "The best part was the London Eye because you got to see loads of London."