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Trip Report London and Snowdonia - R'NR:Railways-Nature-Royalty (a wee bit of)...

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Or, as my kids said a great holiday from start to finish - A to Z, from Art work (they created for the 5-week pilgrimage display from Canterbury to Santiago? Spain) at the British Museum to Zorbing on Llyn Padarn at Llanberis...

Sighhh, what can I say - can never get enough of London - and we were there for 9 glorious (yes, only one afternoon of rain) days! Always have a 'new' experience from the 'olde' that is so well-kept and shared in London. As the kids are growing, our explorations are 'maturing/changing' and its such a pleasure that I almost want to live there! No apologies for gushing! Highlights:
1) The Royalty bit: Had booked online for the Buckingham Palace tour (1st day, 3rd showing - crazy and how - gosh, never again!) for the girls to drool over the 'horrid' (I quote the Queen here) display of Kate's lovely 'construction of a' wedding dress and cake & for me to admire the Faberge collection, the Dutch/Flemish paintings, the gilded furniture (loved the damask everywhere)...Plus, got to watch the Changing of Guards from the inside without having to crane our necks or push and shove!
2) National Portrait Gallery and the Science Museum: Just loved it and could spend days in both...I really appreciated how the NPG had special kid-friendly audio tours that even kept my pesky 6-year old going for almost 2 hours! Also, highly recommend doing the free tours/guided rounds at the Science Museum (not all floors/exhibitions have them though and you need to figure the timings) - they bring the exhibitions to life, give it flow and structure and importantly, one does not have to 'lure' the kids through reading exhibit after exhibit...
3) Westminster: Were fortunate to have a young MP (friend) to give us a guided tour that made it so much more special, and wish that we knew our British history better. What an imposing place with so much history made there!
4) Theater: Of course, no trip to London is complete without a visit to the theaters... And so we were initiated into our Railways bit of the holiday with The Railway Children. Made even more memorable with the setting at Waterloo Station platforms and the chugging in of a steam locomotive! (booked online through Ticketmaster in advance).
5) Lord's/MCC: Queued up with a thousand people to get tickets to watch England vs India historic test match at Lord's, the 'mecca of cricket'! Great atmosphere, have to admit even for a novice like moi and got completely caught up in the spirit of the game! Crowd control was pretty good so find the disaster at Tottenham quite shocking!

Foodwise: Jamie Oliver's Italian was good, desserts much better (not spectacular), Fortnum & Mason did a great job of catering for kids despite not having a children's menu, fish stew at Bistro...

And did I say that we managed to go boating (a tad expensive) at Hyde Park too!
Lastly, IMO, given budget pressures (while not aware of the musea ownership structures), these wonderful musea may not be free much longer - even a nominal fee will bring in significant revenues but oh so completely worth it! So, yes, hurry, go visit...

Part II on Snowdonia to follow!

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