An overview of our trip to England in 2019. See where we stayed, how we got there, what we did, what we ate, and what we would do differently next time in this quick overview.
- London: Park Plaza London Waterloo
- Staffordshire: CBeebies Hotel
- Southampton: Holiday Inn Express
Flights/Transportation: United Airlines round trip
When: April, 2019 (Kid’s Spring Break)
Who: 2 adults, 2 kids (ages 5 and 2)
How Long: 8 nights
Itinerary: 4 nights in London, 2 nights in Staffordshire (Alton Towers), 2 nights in Southampton (Paulton’s Park)
What we did:
This was a trip in three distinct parts. In London, we rode the tube and buses a lot, we visited Trafalgar square, Covent gardens, Buckingham Palace (outside), and Kensington Palace (inside and outside in the gardens). We shopped at Harrods, Boden, Boots, and some random souvenir shops (shopping with kids is not easy, so we mostly avoided it). We stopped by a lovely little carnival going on in the Jubilee Gardens, next to the Thames and near the London Eye (which we did not do). We went to the Tower of London, and walked around some major sites in London, including around Parliament and 10 Downing Street, Knightsbridge, and through Belgravia. After London, we traveled by train to Alton Towers, a theme park in Staffordshire. We visited the park for two days, sticking mostly to CBeebies Land (Alton Towers is known for its many rollercoasters, but we were there with little kids and the purpose of our visit was to go to CBeebies Land). From there we again traveled by train to Southampton to visit Peppa Pig World, which is part of Paulton’s Park. We spent one whole day at Peppa Pig World, literally from open to close. The next day we took a train back to London, and from there, to Heathrow Airport to return home!
Trip highlight: The highlight of the trip was our visit to CBeebies Land and the CBeebies Hotel. You can read more about our visit to CBeebies Land here. We stayed in an Octonauts-themed room, which was fantastic, especially for my daughter who loves the Octonauts.Despite not being especially familiar with the other CBeebies shows, my kids loved all of the characters and rides, and while it was intended to be a “once in a lifetime” trip, they keep asking when we can go back!
What I would do differently: Hands down what I would have done differently was riding on the tube with our luggage. It was terrible trying to navigate the highly inaccessible tube stations with all of our luggage, a stroller, and kids. There was a moment when we were transferring underground trains tying to make it to our train to Staffordshire that I truly would have paid anything to be out of the tube and into a taxi. The tube is fine when you have no luggage, but next time if we need get somewhere with our luggage I will be hailing a taxi to take us to the train station.
Best meal: We randomly found a restaurant that was excellent, both for their service and food. When we left Harrods we were hungry and tired, having been unsuccessful in finding anything to eat inside that would be acceptable or appropriate for a vegetarian plus two little kids. We stumbled upon Zia Teresa, and Italian restaurant and decided to give it a try. It turned out to be great! I ordered the best gnocchi I’ve ever had, and they let my kids split a bowl of spaghetti, which both of them loved. We even considered going back there on our last night in London, but decided it was too far from our hotel. However, we do plan on visiting it again the next time we’re in London.