London with kids is a great choice for your next family trip. It has a variety of sights and activities that will keep the whole family entertained for weeks. Yet I can't help remembering how great London was without the kids. When the two of us explored it at our own pace and we didn't have to worry about it being family friendly.
SO MANY THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN LONDON
London is without a doubt my favorite city in the world, one of the first I ever visited. At the age of 12 I fell in love with it. Unlike my other frivolous teenage infatuations the feelings towards London never wavered.
It's only natural that I'd want my kids to experience it.I long to show them the Natural History Museum, take the ride on the London Eye, sit on the grass at Hyde Park with them, walk down the busy Oxford street, catch a musical like I did with my Dad...
But then why do I wrinkle my nose and change the subject when it comes to actually making plans a reality?
The truth is no matter how much I love my kids and traveling with them, I can still recall how great it was to explore London without them. Without pacing myself, stopping at each and every playground, navigating crowds with a stroller, carrying extra clothes in the already heavy backpack, stopping every ten steps to take a break, going to bed before it gets dark...
I WANT TO LEAVE KIDS AT HOME
What I'd like is to leave the kids at home, get on the plane carrying a tote with a wallet, books, lipstick, notebook, pen and my smart phone. No wet wipes, tissues, diced fruit and raisins, clothes, games, coloring books and pencils and an array of things making it impossible to actually find anything I need.
I don't want to care when the plane will land and how to get to the hotel. Who cared about the room, if I will not be spending any time in it. Breakfast is included or not? Doesn't matter. Will it rain or shine? London is fun either way. Is it time for lunch, bed...? Do I need it to be?
As long as we don't get robbed, I would be perfectly happy with whatever. If I am with the one person I'd love to share London with. And I get an hour to spend at the biggest WHSmith there is.
ME AND MY HUSBAND
Holding my husband's hand, like we did eight years ago, when I was pregnant with our eldest, I want to pinch myself to know it's real. Stand in the room, with my ten year old Lonely Planet and stare with curiosity and utter confusion at the quirky faucets in the room. After so many visits I still wouldn't be able to figure out having two separate faucets one for cold and the other for hot water. Beside the point.
Spreading butter on my toast and adding a splash of milk to my Everyday tea, we'd argue what we'd see first and what should be eliminated, since we promised to take it easy. (I don't know easy when it comes to London.)
We'd walk down the street to the nearest tube station. Stare at the intricate web of trains then join the morning rush hour to the center.
Treading around the city would soon exhaust us, so we'd stop at the local Starbucks. The break would be short and we'd grab food on the go. Continue till all the sights closed for the day. Then we'd rest in the park and figured out our next step. We'd work ourselves to the bone and we'd love every minute of it.
NEXT TIME WITH THE KIDS
I know we'd try avoiding the talk about the kids, just like we try any time we are alone. We'd fail miserably. As usually. A hundred times a day we'd wish we'd brought them along.
And if we ever managed to forget about them even for a minute than a slide would remind us of them, a cup of tea, a scone, other kids in the park, an exhibition...We'd solemnly vow that next time, they are definitely coming with us.
But we would never regret doing it alone, this time. We needed the uninterrupted kisses, holding hands instead of sweaters and jackets and all of their equipment, sleeping in late, being out at night without a curfew and the comfortable silence between us. We needed to miss our girls to remind ourselves again how lucky we are to have them and how excited we are to one day soon share London with them.
This post was previously published on my blog Coolkidzcooltrips.