Category Archives: holidays

eye of the beholder

Day 2 London was based around a trip (or flight) on the Coca Cola London Eye. We had it booked in advance via a 3 attraction deal.

Our “departure time” was 1130am so we decided to get the earliest off-peak train in to London from Grays and walk from Tower Hill to Westminster. We had pretty much decided that we could use the Underground pretty minimally and do most of our exploring by foot.

The walk from Tower Hill took us across to the South Bank and passed a number of unexpected sites including the monument to the Great Fire of London, the Shard (close by) and The Globe Theatre.

the very classical style monument sitting smack bang in a very modern cityscape

the shard was visible from many locations along the walk and from the eye itself

the globe theatre

The South Bank was a really unexpected surprise as we hadn’t really thought about the journey but seeing places like the Globe and the Tate Gallery made it a lot more interesting. The whole area between the Globe and Westminster is a real mix of food stalls, music and entertainers. A great place to visit that we pretty much stumbled on accidentally!

Catriona and myself had been on the Eye previously (2014) but this was a brand new experience for the boys. Despite the overcast clouds we had great views of the centre of London and further afield.

the eye from below

not the first or last time we’ve felt like doing this!

looking down river halfway up

towards st james’s park and buckingham palace

proper family pose

going over the top

up river from the very top – loved this particular view

big ben covered up for repairs and houses of parliament

After lunch in a nearby Subway we headed off on foot again, across the bridge to Westminster proper, along Horse Guards Road to The Mall before heading for Buckingham Palace (unfortunately no Garden Party for us today).

very tame squirrel at the edge of st james’s park

top of the mall. victoria memorial and palace

without the culchies!

barbarians at the gates

he must have been melting in the heat

victoria memorial

As the Queen wasn’t in to greet us we decided to try Boris instead and headed for Downing Street via Trafalgar Square

trafalgar square

nelson’s column

boris was out – off having dinner with the DUP apparently!

At this stage the rain was coming on and our plan to walk everywhere was starting to show some holes* so we decided to retreat gracefully and return to Tower Hill via the Underground and head back to the apartment a little earlier than planned but with a fully packed day behind us.

*my Garmin showed a daily total of 20,005 steps that evening, equivalent to 16.7km of walking. Too much for any of us in the heat, never mind the boys.

london calling

Day 1 of our trip to London with the boys. Everything started very well with everyone up on time and away at 5.30am. Good run to Dublin and at the Carlton Hotel (where we parked) for 8am and at the airport for 9am.Bags checked and passed for free on board and the quickest, simplest trip through airport security ever meant we had loads of time to have food and browse the shops.

fine cooked breakfast to get us on our way

At the gate our flight was delayed but only by 30mins so no big deal but once we boarded we were given the news that we were looking at a further hour before departure due to thunder storms over London and a closure of the flight space. By the time we landed we were 2hrs later than scheduled but undeterred.

Playing around with rail apps resulted in cheaper fares but also frustration caused by bad design and repeated requests for the same information but we were soon in central London, on the Tube and out to Fenchurch where we got the final train to Grays and our Air BnB.

Outside Fenchurch I managed to upset a drunk* who threw beer at me meaning I was stinking of cheap beer by the time we met our host. Thankfully not much and the rain between the station and apartment washed most of it out!

*she was ranting and raving about something but all I can think of is that she heard our Irish accents and didn’t like it?

Our host was lovely and the apartment is fab. The area is a bit on the rough side but we won’t be out much. Our main excursion this evening was for Burger King and Morrisons for groceries.

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing in the apartment and tomorrow the fun begins properly starting with a trip on the London Eye.

Hopefully all our mishaps and interesting characters are out of the way for the week 😊