I had been feeling pretty grumpy the night before with all of the schlepping, by I woke up the next morning so excited to be in London. I had dreamed of visiting since I was little, reading Lewis and Tolkien and illegally downloading Doctor Who episodes and various British TV shows before they aired in the US (I was clearly super cool in high school). It was a dream come true to simply be there.
We wanted to start our day with Mass at the Brompton Oratory in Kensington. The church is beautiful and the Mass was celebrated so reverently. It made me want to transport the whole place to South Bend. Because they’re Oratorians, they had a chapel with the relics of St. Philip Neri and a chapel for John Henry Newman.
An overtired Christopher meltdown called for us to walk to lunch. We loved walking through Kensington to Piccadilly Circus. We were a bit frustrated by a charity bike race that closed a lot of streets and necessitated our carrying the stroller up and down too many stairs in the Underground, but when we finally got to SoHo, we loved all of the food choices.
We confessed to each other that Italy had been somewhat disappointing foodwise. We can’t decide if we just don’t have the money for mind blowing Italian cuisine or it wasn’t too our taste. Don’t get me wrong; we had two fantastic meals there, but it wasn’t life-changing on the whole. It didn’t help, probably, that we are not dinner-at-7:30 people and we usually inhaled our carefully researched meals without savoring them. All that to say that SoHo was right up our foodie alley.
Jon had recommended Honest Burger and we were in need of some iron after ten days of pasta and pizza. The restaurant was a hip hunter green and the burgers were delicious. Christopher danced with the waiter who was 20x cooler than we’ll ever be. It was great.
We continued our walk through the West End. I wanted to go to Liberty London to see their famous floral fabrics. Chris had the buddies in the stroller while I browsed by myself inside. The whole place was my jam.
I have little fashion sense, but I loved the aesthetic of the children’s clothes and the way the whole store was presented. I decided I couldn’t justify the £22.50/m price for fabric, so I got myself a little needle case made out of their floral as a souvenir. The kids and Chris had picked out a flower for me while I was inside. Cute.
Christopher finally fell asleep for a nap in the stroller as we walked toward Whitehall and Westminster through Trafalgar Square. We saw 10 Downing Street and Big Ben, before making our way to Westminster Abbey. We forgot that there’s no sightseeing at the Abbey on Sundays and we had missed Evensong by a half hour so we didn’t get to go inside. We toured little St. Margaret’s next door, but we’re bummed we didn’t get to see the Abbey.
We paused so I could nurse Therese and Christopher woke up, so next we walked to Buckingham Palace and talked up the guards to Christopher. He was fascinated by their pacing back and forth.
We lingered for a bit and walked to the playground in St. James’ Park. Christopher had a total blast and it was gratifying to see the huge smile on his face after a tough morning. He has been doing pretty well with all the travel, generally, but he’s always had a tough time with transitions so this part of the trip with all of its moving about will probably be a little rough. We wanted to do something just for him. We shared an ice cream and Chris and I chatted on a rock next to a sleeping Therese in the stroller while Christopher sprinted around the playground.
We wanted to get dinner in SoHo, so we walked back that way. We decided on Thai food at Bursaba. My green curry was very tasty and thankfully there was another family at our communal table so we didn’t get any looks for having the kids (they were doing well anyway). We spotted Snowflake Luxury Gelato next door. We started to get a scoop of dark chocolate but then Chris realize it was began and we started expressing our skepticism. The sassy cashier wordlessly handed Chris a taste on a little spoon and it was super good. We added a scoop of sea salt caramel, which was the most delicious caramel ice cream I had ever had. Being dessert fiends, we picked up two more pastries at L’Eto and made the long journey back to Stratford from Oxford Circus.
I wish we had more time in London. I know there is so much more to see and I think it would be super romantic to come back without the kids.