I’ve just had a lovely few days in London with Marji, one of my daughters.
She had brought me a hidden cinema experience for 2 at TT Liquor for Xmas and we’ve been waiting for the right time to go.
She had arranged this week off work for a break, and after a think, I decided to take the week off too and we also arranged to see Mary Poppins as my cousin’s little girl, Sophie, is currently playing Jane Banks in the show.
So! Monday 2nd May
We headed into London on the train. We arrived at St Pancras International just before 11:30 and we checked into the Hotel at Midday.
The hotel was nothing special.
We usually stay at the Travelodge in Beckton and hop on the DLR into London each day. Beckton is easy to drive to and the hotel has cheap parking.
However, this time, we wanted to stay centrally, so we got the train in and stayed at the Travelodge London Bridge.
To be honest, I wasn’t impressed. Don’t get me wrong. The room was clean and had everything we needed for the stay, but it was a lot smaller than at the Beckton and had an underground running right past the window so we couldn’t sleep with the window open. It was also twice the price the Beckton would have been.
So lesson learnt.
After unpacking, we headed straight over to the the Tower of London.
We fuelled up on a cone of chips before heading into the Tower. Marji was an idiot and pinched one of my chips before realising I had covered them in vinegar which she can’t have as a Coeliac!! Idiot.
We had done the Tower during our last trip together with Dharma, my youngest daughter but we only had time to do the battlements and the crown jewels, we didn’t have time to see the White Tower. So this time, we arrived just in time to get a Yoeman Guard Guided Tour. Barney, the Yoeman, was hilarious and this lead on nicely to seeing the crown jewels again before we finally got into the White Tower to see the armoury.
After this we went for a walk around St Katherine’s Dock and stopped for a drink at the Azimut Cafe where Marjorie found an incredible Gluten Free Brownie. Warm and served with icecream. She was in heaven.
Then we walked over the Tower Bridge and had a stroll up the South Bank to the Hays Galleria where we sat outside The Horniman pub for another drink.
Then we headed back to St Katherine’s Dock where we had dinner at Zizzi’s.
You can usually guarantee that an Italian restaurant will do Gluten Free and we have found that Zizzi’s is one of the best. This one was no exception. We had a lovely meal before heading back to the hotel.
We were shattered and fell asleep quite early but unfortunately, someone tried to open a hotel door by hitting the fire alarm at midnight and HOLY COW was that alarm effective!!
We were up and flinging on clothes and flying down the hall with everyone else before we got to the stairs only to find out it was a false alarm and we all trudged back to our rooms. Now wide awake.
The only problem now was the alarm which took another half an hour to sort out.
Tuesday 3rd May
We made an early move to South Kensington because we had tickets to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exibition at the Natural History Museum.
We arrived a bit too early so we went for a walk up to see the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens. We found a little coffee shop by the memorial and sat and soaked up a little sun before heading back down to the Natural History Museum.
The exibition was really good and I decided to get the coffee table book of the photos to take home.
We had a wander around the museum and I think that because I’ve seen it so many times in the past, it’s lost a bit of it’s sparkle. I certainly think the exhibits are showing their age a little more, but it’s evident that there’s a lot of modernisation going on so it will be interesting to take the grandkids there in a few years time to see what they do.
We were thinking about getting a little something for lunch but unfortunately there was nothing Gluten Free.
I did get a little annoyed that a Museum as big as the Natural History, with the amount of visitors it sees, did not cater for the Gluten Free. Aside from a little pre-packed flapjack, there was nothing in the the cafe and the menu for the restaurant was marked up for vegetarians and vegans but nothing for Gluten Free.
We ended up walking down the road and popping into a lovely pub called the Hoop and Toy and they couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful and Marji was actually able to get a Gluten Free sandwich.
Then we headed over to The British Museum for a couple of hours because Marji wanted to see the egyptian exibitions and apparantly ‘they filmed Primeval’ there too.
Then we went and did a little shopping in Forbidden Planet and took a walk down to Leicester Square where Marji did a litte more shopping in the Lego Store before heading back up to Seven Dials and having dinner at Rossopomodoro.
Another Italian restaurant so Gluten Free options available.
Then it was back to the hotel for another early night.
London is very hard going at the best of times, but when you have joint issues it really takes it out of you.
We were both shattered.
Wednesday May 4th.
Unfortunately Marji was really sick from around 5am this morning.
Obviously something she ate yesterday was contaminated. It could have been the vinegar on the chip she pinched from me at the tower, it could have been the sandwich at the pub, but she thinks it was more than likely to have been the pasta she had at the Rossopomodoro as it was pasta she was throwing up at 5am!
Anyway, this forced a bit of a re-think.
We had planned to go to Little Venice and take a canal boat ride into Camden but Marji wasn’t up for this so I messaged the Canal Boat company and they actually refunded us which was really good. They state that they need 24 hours for cancellations on their website but because we had let them know not to wait for us, they refunded us anyway.
I let Marji sleep for a bit and she eventually got up and we headed out of the hotel at about 11.
We walked down past the Tower of London as Marji got some air and drank some Lucozade and by this time she was feeling much better so we decided to take a boat trip to Greenwich instead.
We had a quick pint and some chips at the Gypsy Moth before going onto the Cutty Sark.
Then we had a quick wander over to the Old Royal Naval College for a ‘Thor: The Dark World’ photo oportunity.
After this, the weather was getting a bit wet and we needed to think about getting over to TT Liquor for our hidden cinema experience, so we walked over to Greenwich DLR station to catch a train to Bank before we realised there was actually a station at Cutty Sark and we didn’t need to do all that walking!! DOH!
When we got to Bank, the Northern line wasn’t running to Old station where we needed to go so we hopped into a cab instead.
After arriving at TT Liquor the heavens had opened so we ran into the nearest chinese restaurant and hoped for the best. It was a good move. We were the only ones in there and they were really friendly and actually had one of their menus completely marked up to show what was Gluten Free! and the food was fabulous.
Then it was time for TT Liquor. We headed through to the back of the shop where there was a small lounge with the cinema at the back and then literally down some old stone stairs and into the cellar was the cellar bar where we got our complimentary cocktail. We sat in the lounge for a while before getting another drink and then heading into the 52 seater cinema space to watch ‘Aliens’ on classic old referbed cinema seats.
This was our latest night out as the film didn’t finish until 10pm and when it was over we hopped into another cab to get back to the hotel.
Thursday 5th May
Thankfully Marji had a much better night and woke up feeling refreshed and happy that she hadn’t reacted to anything she’d eaten the day before.
We were taking things easier today and had a bit of a lay in and then we headed into Leicester Square to have a mooch around M&M World before heading up to Old Compton Street to get our bearings for the Prince Edward Theatre for Mary Poppins and Patty & Bun for lunch.
I did a bit of research before I booked a table at Patty & Bun and the reviews all said it was excellent for Gluten Free.
We arrived really early and as it was such a sunny day we went and sat in Soho Square Gardens for a little while before heading back over to Patty & Bun and having the best meal of the week!
OMG! I have to say that it was the best burger I have ever had and Marjorie was almost in tears. It’s been almost 4 years since she’s been able to have what she classes as a ‘normal’ burger because of her Coeliac disease and the Gluten Free burger she had here was amazing. She was very happy.
Another small wander before having a drink at the Three Greyhounds over the road from the theatre and then it was time for Mary Poppins.
It was a wonderful show and I found myself getting quite emotional at the end.
Little Sophie was amazing and she is obviously loving what’s she’s doing. She’s a very talented young lady.
Friday 6th May
I had paid for a late checkout at 2pm to make the most of our last morning in London.
We did the London Bridge Experience with the glass floor! I’ve thought about it before but I always thought you had to climb the stairs to get to the top which always put me off and then I discovered that it’s ‘fully accessible’ and therefore, has lifts at both ends, so I couldn’t resist.
It was an amazing experience.
This was followed by one last walk along the South Bank for a drink at the Horniman before heading back over the bridge to St Katherine’s Dock because Marji just had to have another piece of warm chocolate brownie from the Azimut Cafe before we checked out of the hotel and headed to St Pancras International Station and catching the train back to dreary old Bedford.
We were lucky with the weather. I only wore my jacket once when we had a downpour on the Wednesday evening but otherwise it was warm and the sun came out quite a bit, especially on Thursday and Friday.
Now we are home, I’ve already done 2 wash loads and one blog post now finished and I feel like London is already a distant memory.
But it was a great week!!