Our time in London – and my time devoted to writing about our recent family holiday in London – comes to a close today. But before I go, let me share a couple more of our museum stops with you, along with the future five sites we plan to see the next time we visit.
Our London Holiday, March 31-through-April 9, 2013:
1. British Airways LAX-LHR
2. The Waldorf Hilton, London
3. Covent Garden Neighborhood, London
4. London Transport Museum
5. Day Out in London: Traditional Landmarks
6. Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground, Kensington Gardens, and Green Park/Buckingham Palace
7. Muggles and Magicians: The Harry Potter Experience
8. Family Remembrance and Celebrations: Brookwood Cemetery and The Lion King at The Lyceum Theatre
9. Day-Trip Out of London: Isle of Wight and Portsmouth, UK
10. Where Time Began: Greenwich, UK
11. All Along the Watchtower: The Tower of London
12. London’s Shopping Shrines: Hamleys Toys and Harrods
13. Goodbye, London: Two More Museums and Five Future Sights to See on Our Next Trip TODAY’S POST
On our last full day in London, we managed to take a quick trip through two of London’s more well-known museums, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. We should have dedicated more time toward visiting each of these wonderful family-friendly places, but alas with so much to see and do in London, we were lucky just to pop in for short visits at each during our final afternoon of the trip.
First up, the Natural History Museum. That’s quite an entrance, isn’t it?! Though this area was pretty out of this world, NHM London is better known for its dinosaur exhibits. Sadly, we didn’t get into the larger hall (there’s quite a queue without advance tickets, FYI), but what we did see in the other museum’s entrance foyer was pretty gosh darn magnificent. T also got to put his hands on a number of kid-friendly displays and activities throughout many other museum galleries. I know we missed a lot, but we’ll catch more next time. Here’s NHM’s top 10 recommendations for your own (and our) future visit.
London’s Science Museum is right next door to the Natural History Museum. During our visit, we caught the special exhibit devoted to Alan Turing’s Life and Legacy called “Codebreaker.” Several exclusive WWII decoding, computing, and mathematical machines are on display here, including Enigma machines Turing himself decoded. The Science Museum’s main hall also houses a wonderful collection of vehicles and machinery illustrating Western civilization’s industrial revolution. T really enjoyed our time here because, well, there were trains.
Given our limited time inside of these two awesome landmarks, it got me thinking about a few other places that we just ran out of time for during this trip to London. I’ll give you my top five places we hope to visit next time around.
1. Victoria & Albert Museum. The V&A is the top textile and decorative arts museum the world over. I visited here in 2001 and simply adored it, but we just didn’t have any time left on our holiday to go here. I also knew that perhaps this wouldn’t be at the top of T’s list of most interesting places to see in London (C’s either). However, I think I’ll insist we put this on our itinerary next time. It really is a world-class museum and for that reason alone deserves a quick-stop if not an entire afternoon. It’s also right next door to the NHM and Science Museums, too.
2. Kew Gardens. Also known as the Royal Botanical Gardens (not to be confused with The Royal Parks), Kew Gardens was on our long-list of day-trip options, but we wound up choosing Greenwich and Isle of Wight, which really left us no other days for day-tripping without cutting even further into our central London sightseeing. But Kew makes the cut next time. It’s about as far to the Southwest as Greenwich is to the Southeast of Covent Garden, so not too far out-of-town, but just far enough to require at least a half-day for the trip down and back out of city-center.
3. London Eye. I don’t think I need to talk much about this one as it’s only one of London’s most popular tourist attractions. I already mentioned in this post the reasons we passed the London Eye up on this trip, but I think if we go back to London and don’t go on it again, people will start to wonder if we really have a young child and if we’re truly American. After all, don’t kids and Americans love a good Ferris wheel?! It is one of the best after all.
4. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. You can read all about our time in Greenwich here. Next time we go to London, we’ll definitely “make time” (get it?) and return to Greenwich just to go to the Maritime Museum. It’s one of if not the top-rated maritime museum worldwide, which at least deserves a walk-through.
5. Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Bath (Day-Trip). For our all-day excursion out of London, this tourist trifecta is our top pick next time. Apparently, it’s many others’ top choice as well. We’ll just need to get a few recommendations first-hand of a tour group or guide to hire given all of our options. Any rec’s, RMT’ers?
So ta-ta for now, London. We had a jolly ol’ time, and we can’t wait to do a return trip. Laters!