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Destination London

lewishamilton.jpgSHOWS, SHOPPING & SIGHTSEEING - London is a great place to be a tourist.

It can also be surprisingly family friendly.

Where to stay
We stayed at the Crowne Plaza London St James, superbly located on Buckingham Gate. Less than 5 minutes walk from Buckingham Palace
(although we did not receive an invitation to tea!), a bit further to St James Park and 10-15 minutes the other way to Big Ben and Trafalgar Square and a Tube station nearby, this was a good base for exploring.

Madame Tussauds
A few doors down from the home of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, Madame Tussauds is a real crowd-pleaser. The waxworks don’t disappoint. Rub shoulders with the Beckhams, get up close & personal with Brad & Angelina, and pose for pics alongside the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Johnny Wilkinson, the Queen, Britney Spears, or join the long queue for Barack Obama. Busy & bustling but fun for all.

The Tower of London
Stronghold, sumptuous palace and perhaps most famously a prison, the Tower is a must-see. The iconic White Tower is currently showing an impressive exhibition of Henry VIII’s personal armour, while the Crown Jewels have been housed at the Tower for over 700 years. The Beefeaters are some of the most knowledgeable guides you will meet and are always happy to pose for a photo.

An instant hit when it opened and now an established landmark, the London Eye is sure to be near the top of the list of things to do in London especially if you have children. Much more than a huge ferris wheel, a trip on the Eye is a unique experience. The 30 minute ride gives you some of the best views across the city.

Many of London’s major landmarks can be easily spotted – Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Battersea Power Station, the Swiss Re building (the Gherkin), Whitehall and more – and on a clear day you can see up to 25 miles. Standard prices are adult £17 and children over four £8.50.
Special packages are available – parties, champagne flights, weddings and even weddings. However you take it, the trip is great fun, and as you are inside a capsule both the nervous and the agoraphobic should be at ease.

Trip down the river
The Eye is on the banks of the Thames which makes it easy to step off, grab a coffee & cake from the café and then hop onto a London Eye River Cruise. Instead of being squashed onto hard benches with poor views, the Eye cruises are clean and comfortable and just the right
length at 40 minutes. A knowledgeable & cheerful guide gives you all the most interesting details on the sights ancient & modern– Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, Tower of London and the Mayor of London’s offices (which look like Darth Vader’s helmet) and many more. Standard prices are adult £12, children over four £6.

On a budget
Many galleries and museums now offer free entry, which is very welcome when you are visiting as a family. The Natural History, the Victoria & Albert and the Science Museum are handily near each other and worth calling into. Take a walking tour through some of the royal parks, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street and the Horseguards Parade and you can have a good day out on a reasonable budget.

Getting there
With up to four trains an hour Leicester to St Pancras, travelling by rail is a very easy trip and comfortable trip to London. We travelled on East Midland Trains, avoiding peak times and had a smooth journey door to door.

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