Regent Street & Clerkenwell

We planned to head out to Hampton Court for a food festival going on this weekend with Mark, Lee, Eric, Lee’s sister and her family. But after the kids’ afternoon nap and getting them ready and to the train station, we wouldn’t have made out there until 4pm or so. So instead, we walked up to a very crowded Regent Street to Hamley’s Toy Store, the FAO Schwarz of London. Havana is still too young to understand what a toy store is, she seemed to think it’s just a big playroom. She immediately spied the train sets — Thomas & Friends train sets. I don’t think she recognized Thomas (a children’s show narrated by George Carlin, Alec Baldwin and others), she just seems to love all trains.

Hamley's Toy Store

The store was so crowded that we gave up waiting in line for the elevator (“the lift”) to take the stroller on that we took the stroller up the escalator. It was actually pretty easy to do and Hudson, who had fallen asleep, didn’t even wake up. We got her a couple books, let her walk around and play with some toys and then escaped the crowds. We stopped for a quick snack and Havana had us read both books to her while we sat on a wall a block off Regent.

We walked through another shopping district and I finally picked up a belt, since I’d forgotten to pack one. Yesterday we stopped in Selfridges, on the recommendation of Mark, where I found a belt that I liked, but it was Prada so naturally, it cost £225 ($350). Who pays that?

We then hopped in a taxi to Clerkenwell, where we stayed when we were here in 2005, and went to The Eagle. The Eagle was the first gastropub in London and started the gastropub style of restaurant. We intended to eat here in 2005 but never got around to it, so this time we made the effort and we’re glad we did. This was the best dinner we’ve had yet in London.

The Eagle gastropub

The place is very casual, you just come in and sit down. There’s no waiters, you order your food at the bar from the chalkboard menus. It was also very kid-friendly, the staff and many of the customers interacted with Havana and it was so loud that Hudson’s squawking didn’t bother anyone.

After dinner, we walked around Clerkenwell and happened upon a playground that looked like the Teletubbies film set. Havana saw it and made a dash for it yelling “Playground! Playground!”. After she’d been on everything and gotten all her energy out, we grabbed a taxi home. We had them in bed before 10pm, which we consider an accomplishment on this trip.

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