Today began early with a continental breakfast in the hotel. Nothing fancy, but the croissants were freshly baked! We gathered up the kids and boarded a bus to Windsor Castle, accompanied by our local guide, John.
Historically used as the royal residence, this medieval castle has been home to the British monarchy since the reign of Henry I during the 12th century. John informed us that if the British flag was flying when we arrived, it meant the Queen was not in; however, we were in luck and she was spending the weekend at Windsor. We spent a great deal of time wandering the grounds. Addie loved running around in the beautiful spring weather. It was a nice change from the bitter cold we’d left behind in the States.
We visited St. George’s Chapel, watched the changing of the guard, saw Queen Mary’s dollhouse, and walked through the State Apartments. The chapel was beautiful, Addie loved watching the guards march, Kendra loved the dollhouse (I thought it was boring, but I don’t like dolls), and the State Apartments appealed to Kendra way more than to Addie and me.
We stopped for a quick bite to eat at Caffe Mocha which I do NOT recommend. The food was overpriced and tasteless, and the cafe was not baby friendly. There was no changing station for Addie, nor high chairs. Unfortunately, there were not a lot of options at 11:30am on a Saturday.
After lunch, we all piled back onto the bus and John gave us a very informative tour of London. Because it was raining, we did not make a lot of stops, but we did take some time to snap photos of Trafalgar Square. Addie pointed out the interesting statues in the fountain.
We also stopped at the doorway that was used for the entrance of the Leaky Cauldron in the first Harry Potter film. As an avid Harry Potter fan, I was thrilled! The kids were really excited as well. We are on a mission to see as many Harry Potter spots as possible, including Platform 9 and 3/4 at King’s Cross Station.
After the tour, we headed headed to the aptly named Mother Mash for a dinner of bangers and mash (aka sausages and mashed potatoes), with ice cream for dessert. The food was excellent!
Though we were beyond tired at this point, we stayed strong and took an evening stroll by St. Paul’s Cathedral, over the Millennium Bridge, and visited the Tate Modern.
I had high hopes for the Tate Modern, based on my past experiences at the Tate. Unfortunately, I left feeling disappointed. Having a daughter significantly effects how I evaluate my experiences. In addition to a dark, dank atmosphere, the layout of the museum was not user-friendly. There was no changing station for Addie in the bathroom, and the one small area that had an interactive children’s exhibit was completely broken save for one piece. I must say, Addie did enjoy dancing inside of the mirror-covered box though.
On the plus side, there was a Joan Miro and Roy Lichtenstein, as well as an impressive collection of Braques.
Tuckered out, we headed back to the hotel and crashed. Tomorrow we are up early for a whirlwind tour of Oxford, Warwick Castle, and Stratford-upon-Avon!