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A Guide To London For Families

First things first, you should start by going to the gym for about a year before you leave. London has a lot of stairs and your baby will be in a pram and you’ll have to pick the pram up, often with one hand as your other hand is full of bags. Then your glasses will fall off, the child’s dummy will fall out, you’ll lose your tube ticket when there’s a long queue of impatient communters behind you and then you’ll ram into someone’s shin whilst trying to push the pram into a full train and spend the next 4 stops avoiding eye contact with that person who’s shin you’ve shattered, until they finally get off. All this while minding the gap. So in fact, take Calmettes when you travel to London. If you’re fit and semi-drugged-up, it can be a brilliant trip!

 The President Hotel
The President Hotel

After changing hotels three times (we thought we’d make this trip as hard as possible for ourselves), we found the perfect spot. Affordable, clean, central and with a great vibe. The President Hotel on Russel Square was our home for the week. Full English breakfasts awaited us every morning before we embarked on exploring London, with a baby. Our baby is ridiculously well-behaved. Except when you expose him to loud bangs, screaming ghosts & Jack The Ripper. As you might have guessed, we took him into the London Dungeons on our first day. In my defense I thought he would just lie in his pram and be oblivious to all around him.

I even confirmed with the scarecrow at the entrance (real person dressed up as scarecrow). She said it would be fine, it wasn’t fine. Shortly after I paid about R5000 to get in we had to flee through the Emergency Exit to get away from all the chaotic, wet horror that was unfolding before us. I honestly don’t remember the old dungeons at London Bridge to be so gory but the new one next to the London Eye definitely is. Speaking of the London Eye it’s a great way to soothe the baby after The London Dungeons.

If you have a pram-hater baby, maybe don’t go to London. But (toot toot) our baby is a good one remember, so we walked for hours, pram in one hand, cockles in the other. We spent days walking and discovering the nooks and crannies of this staggering city. We walked past Big Ben, No. 10 Downing Street, strolled down to the Camden Lock, desensitized his hands after a punk shook it, shopped at Stables Market, explored Regent Street, obviously making a beeline for Hamleys, mozied through Harrods (nice bathrooms for nappy changes), saw different looking “Mummies” at the British Museum and even managed a pub lunch in Covent Garden.

Regent Street & Oxford Street
Regent Street & Oxford Street

One day, hoping there were no protests, we trundled off to Hyde Park. Apart from someone strapped to a tree muffling something from underneath the bandage around his mouth, it was calm and a perfect day for a “lots of things for 99p from Tescos” picnic. We also took a leisurely cruise down the Thames. City cruises operate a hop-on, hop-off cruise and runs from Westminster, Waterloo, Tower and Greenwich Piers. The motion of the bus tour that we did around London was also pleasant for the baby, and also a good way to give our swollen, bleeding, calloused feet a bit of a break. As they saying goes, “When one is tired of London, one is tired of life” well we were tired of London afterwards. But we still loved it and would do it all over again. Maybe.

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