thomas oana me and the grandkids

I need a family day out in London!

It seems like I had the family here only yesterday but a check on the calendar shows me it was ONE MONTH ago, how did that happen? I think October will go down in my 2016 book as the busiest month and the most exciting too. A long awaited family visit, getting to meet baby Sophie for the first time and starting a new job with a fantastic travel company – James Villa Holidays as a social media executive. I have been onboard since mid October and am learning something new every day, it’s fascinating.

Anyway, back to the family. When they were here we spent a family day out in London as guests of Garfunkle’s Restaurants, they have recently launched their #LondonLegend tour and being perfectly placed around the world’s favourite capital they are the ideal stop off for anyone wanting a breather and some good food.

In fact our day started at Garfunkle’s in Kensington where we were treated to a delicious breakfast. I had Eggs Benedict which was superb and one of our party ordered the pancakes which were spectacular to look at and a joy to eat because I tried them too. It’s got to be done!

When you are about to tackle London sightseeing I think it’s an excellent idea to start with a good breakfast, I was really pleased to see the prices at Garfunkle’s were very reasonable, the menu had lots of options and children are very well catered for.

Madame Tussauds

evaqn with spiderman

Finished breakfast our tour then made its way over to Madame Tussauds in Marylebone Road, I last took Tommy when he was 14 with his sister and we have a cheeky smile where he is standing next to the wax of Kylie Minogue his hand hovering over her pert bottom. This time Kylie wasn’t among the statues but we were spoilt for choice. Along with every other visitor we ran from model to model taking selfies to post on Facebook and fool our friends. It was a lot of fun.

I was also really impressed with the Avengers 4D film that is the final part of the tour. Everyone is welcomed into a theatre and once seated the film begins, you will feel part of the film with your 3D glasses on and even more so with your seat moving, water spraying and air jets coming at you. Sophie, aged 2, wasn’t impressed, in fact she buried her head in her mummy’s shoulder but Evan, thought it was the best thing EVER and would have stayed for a second go if he had been allowed!

Madame Tussauds is part of the Merlin group and you do get the opportunity to invest in Merlin annual passes with a discount at the end of your tour.

madame tussauds

To visit Madame Tussauds you need to set aside a good hour and a half and by the time we were finished it was lunch time, so Garfunkle’s invited us over to their Trafalgar Square restaurant in Cockspur Street, within spitting distance of Nelson’s column. Once again there was a fantastic menu to choose from, burgers, spaghetti bolognese, quarter of chicken and chips with various sauces and a salad bar too. Something on there for everyone and we washed ours down with a pint of London Pride beer.

garfunkles restaurant london

The Original Tour

4th plinth trafalgar square

Right next door to the Garfunkle’s restaurant is The Original Tour ticket office where we were met by one of their tour guides. She accompanied us to one of their buses and we were given the most fantastic tour of London. You may remember I have already spoken about The Original Tour buses on my blog when I took the girls earlier in the year but this tour was a tailored one and with our own personal guide to fill us in on all sorts of information and funny anecdotes it was a very amusing and interesting tour. I’d definitely recommend it, not only that, The Original Tour are repeating their popular promotion this year – giving customers TWO days for the price of ONE, with tickets extended to 48 hours validity when travelling between 4 October 2015 until 29 February 2016.

This great offer also includes a FREE River Cruise Upgrade to Greenwich!

big ben london

The London Eye

Our Original tour bus dropped us off just over Westminster Bridge where our next treat was a flight on the London Eye. The tour on the London Eye takes half an hour to complete and the views all the way around are spectacular. There are computers onboard which help you identify the buildings in the distance and give tips on what to look out for. We were lucky it was a beautiful day so we could see for quite a long way. The only member of our group who wasn’t quite convinced was Sophie once again, the pods are clear plastic and she kept thinking she was going to fall ‘off’ bless her.

london eye

After such an amazing day there was only one thing to do, celebrate with a delicious dinner all together! We walked from the London Eye up The Strand and into the Garfunkle’s Restaurant who were waiting for us with glasses of prosecco – thank you! I heartily tucked into my fish and chips and the children were glad to be sitting down and colouring in, as each child is given crayons and a paper mat to decorate, such a brilliant idea.

Londonlegend team

We had an amazing time and I can only thank Garfunkle’s for making our day so special. I could quite easily recommend a visit if you’re in town knowing you will not be disappointed. Give it a go and create your own #LondonLegend Tour

london skyline from bus

Garfunkle’s Restaurants

Born in 1979, Garfunkel’s is one of London’s most iconic restaurant brands. Best known for its wide and varied menu, friendly service and great central London locations, they have become a legendary part of London life. You’ll find a huge selection of food including their famous fish & chips, proper pies, pizzas, pastas, burgers and a DIY salad bar; all to enjoy before, during or after your adventures in London. Whether you’re after Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner, there will be something on the menu for you at Garfunkel’s.

st pauls cathedral

Disclosure: We were guests of Garfunkle’s for the purpose of this post, all words and opinions are my own.

original london bus tour

Over the Easter holidays I took the girls up to London with one of their friends from school and her mum and we went to see the Cinderella exhibition in Leicester Square which was fascinating. They loved looking at their favourite dresses and I enjoyed watching the process of initial drawing through to creating the final costume, utterly fascinating.

original bus tour london

The rest of the day was to be spent on a double decker bus, one of The Original Tour that travels the streets of London allowing you to take in all of the sights comfortably and listen to a documentary at the same time.

original london bus tour

Fortunately for us, London’s weather played ball and we climbed on board at the first stop in Trafalgar Square very close to their office where we picked up our tickets. Below photo taken along the embankment – not your every day London sight and he was moved on by the time the bus came by later.

original london bus tour

The girls raced upstairs and managed to secure seats towards the front, they plugged in their headphones and listened as the bus made it’s way around Trafalgar Square telling them about the lions, Nelson and the 4th plinth before making it’s way down towards the Thames.

original london bus tour

For three 6 year olds, ‘Actually I am 7.’ Isabelle reminds me, I was really pleased to see how interested they were and how the tour kept their attention all the time – not bad for Year Two-ers.

original london bus tour alice

Top tips for making the most of your London Bus Tour

  1. It can get windy on the top deck, you’ll be surprised how much so make sure you have a jacket/cardigan to put on.
  2. Suncream, hats and sun glasses are a must for hot sunny days on the top deck.
  3. Take a packed lunch and water or drinks for snacking as the journey is at least two hours long.
  4. Have a plan. It’s a long day and it can be easily wasted away with stops here and there, realistically you can do one or two stops to visit sights.
  5. If touring with young children I suggest making the most of the journey and staying on especially in high season when there are queues for the River Thames Cruise tours and in all restaurants.
  6. Start as early as you can, the buses quickly become full and front seats and top deck or the hot favourites, get yours early!

Verdict

original london bus tour

Sadly for us our bus broke down at the London Eye, it wasn’t a problem as we knew there would be another coming along soon but it was lunch time so we made our way over to the Thames to look for food and our plan was to continue on the River Thames Cruise included in the price of our tickets.

original london bus tour

It was the Easter holidays, the restaurants were packed and the queues for the River Cruise were enormous, after standing in a queue for over half an hour with no news on how much longer we would have to wait we decided to leave it. We made our way over to west London for another event and in retrospect I wish we hadn’t, it would have been better to hop back on a bus and continue the tour.

original london bus tour

We all loved the tour and would gladly do it again but I wouldn’t get off second time round as you waste too much time and miss out on the other sights of London.

Original london bus tour

This is one sight I definitely want to go back to for a better photo – the Upside Down Houses
original london bus tour

London City skyline taken from the Original Bus Tour on Tower Bridge.

original london bus tour

original london bus tour - Big Ben

Thank you to the three gorgeousnesses above for being as good as gold and a lot of fun to be with.

Coming to London? here are our review on some of our favourite sights:

London Eye
Sea Life
Buckingham Palace
Tower Bridge tour
Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
The Shard
Tower of London

Disclosure: We were kindly given our tickets by The Original Tour for the purpose of this review.

Time Traveller: The Travel Bloggers Linky

If you are new to Time Traveller it’s a Linky where you can share your travel posts, both old and new. If you have been somewhere recently, tell us about it and if you haven’t share an old post, a favourite from the archives. You could even write about places you visited before you started blogging, scan the photos, re write and relive the experience, tell us all about it.

 

TimeTravellers

The rules are very simple

    • Your post must be travel related.
    • It can be a day out, a weekend away or a longer break.
    • You can use posts from your archives or write something new.
    • Display the badge and link back to this post.
    • This Linky is about sharing, please don’t dump a link and run. Read some posts, leave a comment on them. I will visit everyone who links up, please be patient as I will fit my comments around my family and work.
    • Leave a comment on this post, I’ll be leaving one on yours.
    • All posts are Tweeted with the hashtag #TimeTraveller and added to my Time Traveller Pinterest board

Follow Marianne’s board Time Travellers on Pinterest.