Last time we were in London in 2005 we walked by the London Eye and the line was crazy long so we decided not to wait. This time we planned ahead and bought tickets online where you can get “fast-track” tickets so you don’t have to wait in line (not to mention a 20% discount!).
The downside is that you have to schedule your “flight” — it’s a British Airways sponsored attraction, so they call trips on it “flights” and the announcements refer to takeoffs and landings. Cute. Scheduling anything when you have kids is difficult, especially when you are planning to walk a route you haven’t yet walked. We gave ourselves plenty of time and scheduled it for 5:30pm thinking that’d be plenty of time after the kids’ afternoon naps, getting them ready, packing up the stroller and walking the 2.5 miles planning on Havana insisting on walking at least part of the way.
We convinced Havana to ride in the stroller so we made good time through Green Park, around Buckingham Palace, through St. James Park to the Thames. There seemed to be a Sri Lankan-related rally around Parliament, I assume about the Tamil leader who was killed.
We made it this far by 4:45pm and there’s a Fuller’s Pub conveniently located right there, The Red Lion, so we stopped in for a pint. It amazes me how full pubs are after work in London. All the pubs have people spilling out into the street and there’s rarely a seat inside. Yet it’s still quick to get in and to get a beer. Brits really know how to live.
We walked over the Westminster Bridge and up to the London Eye. The Fast-track tickets worked, we printed our tickets at the machine and were escorted right up to the front of the line and were in our capsule in minutes.
Havana loved it. She immediately positioned herself right by the glass and started pointing out everything she saw below. The capsule behind us had a little girl in it too and they waved at each other. She ran around the capsule checking out the different views. It was a less impressive to me… aside from Parliament and the river, there’s not much to see around London. London is sprawling, but not all that scenic from the air; it’s much more scenic from the ground, IMO.
After the London Eye, Havana insisted on walking. We walked back over the Hungerford Bridge, into Charring Cross, through Trafalgar Square, down the Mall into St. James Park, back into the Mayfair area looking for a place to have dinner. By this time it was 8pm and we needed to get the kids to bed, so we just came back to our neighborhood and got Indian food to go.
Total walking: 5.7 miles (thanks Google Pedometer!).