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London: The Bridges, Market, and Playground

Our final day in London was by far my favorite day.  I don’t know if it was just that we had fully adjusted to the time change, but the day felt complete like we had a complete dosage of the magic London has to offer.  There were 3 main highlights, and I really feel that these are the top 3 things you have to do/see in London (well, the third is if you have a kid!).

We visited 2 famous bridges first, and it was at these locations that we got to enjoy some beautiful skylines of the city.  If you like to get a bird’s eye view, you can also go up to the viewing deck on the skyscraper The Shard.  We opted not to, but it’s something to consider 🙂  First stop, Millennium Bridge.

 

 

The Millennium Bridge is a suspension bridge for pedestrians to cross the Thames River.  It opened in 2000 (go figure).  It really just looks cool, and just from browsing the internet, it can be quite a sight at night.
In case you’re wondering, the area that the bridges are located has plenty of signs like the below scattered around.  It’s easy to figure out where you need to go.

 

Next stop was Tower Bridge which sits right by Tower of London.  We didn’t go in to see the Tower of London up close, but it’s pretty phenomenal from afar.  The castle has been around for centuries and served as a prison in the World Wars.  The Tower Bridge itself is absolutely beautiful.  I remember seeing it on TV during the Olympics in 2012, but I had no idea how beautiful it really was. The details are just so intricate, it’s hard to believe it’s a bridge – for pedestrians and vehicles, no less.  Once you walk across, you end up in a large area where people sit and people watch in Southwark.  You’ll also find City Hall here.

 

 

 

 

After taking in the views, we were getting hungry so we headed over to Borough Market.  On the way there, we happened to stumble upon this area which was so picturesque.  However, I don’t really know what it is.  When we were passing through, it looked like it was a go-to spot for business people to grab lunch during their lunch break what with their nice suits on and everything.

Okay, Borough Market is an absolute MUST in London.  I wish we got to go here more often.  We had spent a lot of time during our stay looking for food that was unique to the city, but most of the options really reminded us of home.  Here, you get a different experience by going from shop to shop, but you also get to eat plenty of different foods special to London.  You can also shop for goodies to take home too.

 

 

 

 

Okay, so this part is really for the parents.  If you have young kids, this park is amazing.  This is the Diana Memorial Playground located in Kensington Gardens.  The playground was created as a tribute to Princess Diana who loved children and the simple joys of childhood, and the playground really embodies that with a whimsical Peter Pan theme.  We actually tried to go here on an earlier day, but Dominic had fallen asleep.  It worked out that we were able to go this day though, since the weather was a lot more pleasant.

There’s a large area specific to older kids, but there’s a path that takes you around it, and on that path you’ll find a variety of different activities which (even I felt) helped stretch the imagination.  One area had a bunch of noise/music makers so kids can make some noise (Dominic loved the bells! He kept trying to play them with the bigger kids, but he wasn’t tall enough to make the bells ring really loud. Haha.).  There were teepees to have your own adventures.  There were so many other little activities scattered around; I can’t really even describe them because they were so unique.  We eventually found an area just for kids 3 and under where we spent most of our time.  Dominic was all smiles.  It was my absolute favorite!  The greenery here was also so beautiful with so many spring blooms.  The playground is free and is run by donations. If you don’t have kids, Hyde Park is pretty amazing itself with tons of open green area.  Grab some sandwiches at the local market and have a picnic!  Plenty of people were just lounging around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I remember going to the restroom then coming back out to Tristan telling me royalty had arrived.  Apparently, there’s a helicopter landing pad nearby, and a helicopter had just landed while I was away.  I wonder who that could’ve been!

Later that day, we met up with Tristan’s coworker who just happened to be vacationing in London at the same time.  We went back to see Tower Bridge at sunset which was nice; we also saw it from the other side closer to the castle so we got a different view of town.

 

 

On our way back to the tube, we went on the hunt for a specific filming location from Fast & Furious 6.  If you’re a fan of the movie, you should know what scene took place here at King Charles Street.  Once we headed back, I took a few photos of Big Ben at night.  It looks phenomenal at night so it’s worth visiting.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a tack sharp photo without a tripod, but I think it still looks pretty amazing 🙂

 

Funny story with the below.  When we got on the tube, I was lucky to find an open seat.  However, someone had left their newspaper there.  I didn’t think too much of it, and just sat down.  Dominic decided that he had to have the paper and grabbed it from the side of me.  He opened it up and looked like he was starting to read it!  I was calling out to Tristan urgently – “Take a picture! Take a picture!”  So, yeah, that’s the story behind this photo.  My son likes to read the newspaper.  You know, just casually catching up on British news.

At some point during this trip, he also decided to learn how to say “C’monn” and now says it pretty often.  Silly boy.

If you missed it, see London Day 1Day 2, and Day 3 here or head straight to our Travel Guide!
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