You may remember some time back I asked for advice about hotels for a trip to London I was planning. Well I booked the train tickets when they were cheap, I really wanted to book something for the weekend right next to my birthday, to avoid previous disasters and miserable days! I had planned on booking a Travelodge or similar and the Bethnal Green one was recommended but I kept waiting for one more pay day and the prices seemed to be creeping up! Eventually I tried to book and discovered something you may think is obvious but what hadn't occurred to me - the prices are a lot more for a Saturday night than a Friday! But after some searching and Googling I took a gamble and booked a "secret hotel" on Lastminute.com. I discovered that if you Google around enough you can find out actually which hotel is listed; so I plunged in and booked.
Turns out we did quite well, a hotel called The Grange St Paul's, opposite St Paul's Cathedral. Little Miss was over the moon as it had a swimming pool and our room had robes and slippers! We got about £50 off the hotel's website offer which was discounted from their normal price.
Centre is the hotel, bottom left is the glass bridge overlooking the lounge and breakfast area (we couldn't afford to eat there) and finally is how I spent the first evening, my new book and fizzy wine - nothing better than that!
On the Saturday morning we were meeting an Aussie friend who has just started a 2 year contract teaching in London, this was her first weekend in the capital, we had met her 4 years ago when her then boyfriend was that years "man in our garage" (overseas cricketer in the self contained flat before anyone calls the police!)We caught up on everyone's news then spent a couple of hours browsing the 5 floors of Hamley's toy shop - top of Little Miss's to-do list.
Bottom right of the collage is Little Miss's nails painted by a Hamley's demonstrator,
a strawberry and a Minion were her favourites.
Saturday afternoon we made our way over to The Cambridge Theatre to see Matilda, I don't know who was more excited (actually I do, it was me!)
We had front row seats, a bit of a crick in the neck but a wonderful view of everything. The show was amazing but what Little Miss didn't know until the intermission was that Mrs Wormwood (Matilda's Mum) was meeting us after the show to show us around backstage!
This had been arranged by her ballet teacher who used to work in West End shows.
We also got to the stage door in time to see the cast do their ice-bucket challenge!
I can highly recommend Matilda, it was a superb show, the whole cast were wonderful.
Mrs Wormwood also kept our programme and posted it on to us signed by the cast,
I'm still excited by the whole experience, Little Miss is over it already!
Saturday evening we ate out (Thank God for Tesco vouchers) and then had a swim, once back in our room I was sound asleep and Little Miss had to turn off the TV and lights!
On Sunday we had another swim before we checked out, ate a huge breakfast at the restaurant next door and went for a tour of The Tower of London, I think I saw the Crown Jewels once on a school trip but I don't remember ever looking around the Tower. We had exchanged more Tesco vouchers to get in and spent as long as we could before the train home looking around, there was so much more to see than I realised, it helped that we had a lovely sunny day for it.
The ceramic poppies were an amazing and very moving sight.
They were still being planted by volunteers.
Our Beefeater was a very good tour guide, as I'm sure they all are. We learnt a lot, he was an ex-army officer and had, at one time, guarded Rudolf Hess when he was brought to England.
And from the Tower we made our way home, after 2 ice creams for £5 - the most expensive thing we ate all weekend I think! We missed our connecting train from Norwich but a kind Sister-in-Law picked us up (the boys were at cricket and couldn't possibly be disturbed)
So all in all a very jam-packed weekend, lots of giggles and memories made. We will definitely be repeating the experience.
I'll be back soon, enjoy your weekend where ever you are.