Today we were by ourselves. All of the main things had been done, ticked off. Everyone was starting to go and do the things that they had missed, that others had done and they wanted to try, or was very specific to their likes.
We had a number of things in mind, but it was going to be a bit random. We wanted to do Carnaby Street, Notting Hill, Harrods and then make our way back into Trafalgar Square area. On foot. Hmmm, I think I had not planned this very well.
I don’t know if it was a combination of tiredness, bad planning, walking too much, the poor weather that day, or just missing the company of the group. The day was a bit flat at times. Bizarrely though, we experienced something that has kept going after the holiday – more on that below.
We got to Carnaby Street on the tube. Always pick the place furthest away and then work your way back to your home from there.
Since it was a Friday most of the stalls and shops were open, but the middle section, on the road, only opens on Saturday. Does it make much of a difference?
We wandered about the shops and stalls. Nothing really took our fancy – at one point I thought “does anyone actually buy this stuff”. But the shops were busy so maybe it was just my mood. We ate. Nothing special. Both kids hated it. Its a shame really. I think on another day on a different holiday it could have been really good.
I had a cafe in mind that I wanted to go to. It was past Harrods. We discussed whether this was walkable. The route would take us through Kensington Gardens / Hyde Park. We went for it.
The Gardens were very nice. There was a play park – the Diana Memorial Playground. This was great for both kids. And fenced off with a locked gate. Hyde Park was also very nice – there were a few kids rides, nice lakes and some wildlife – squirrels, birds. Its a bit of a maze of paths though – we just headed diagonally across it, but if I’d checked Google Maps more frequently it might have been quicker.
We popped out one side to see the Albert Hall. That was quite a nice building. Then we wandered along the main street towards Harrods, counting all the expensive cars.
Our stomachs didn’t allow us to go into Harrods – we were on a mission now to find this cafe. It was the only thought in our mind. I was worried. I had read a bit about it but not loads – did it have seats, how expensive was it – would the kids like it. I had picked it as it specialised in good quality vegetarian food. Wendy has decided to go Vegi.
Then, the only drama in the holiday. Don’t get your hopes up. Its not that exciting. For some reason, we started off in the right direction, but I had then changed the destination in Google Maps and when we got to ‘our destination’ realised that we were still about 1 mile away, back where we had just been. We were quiet for that final section of the walk.
We got closer to the cafe, more amazing cars everywhere. Its so up market here. Oh dear, our kids in an up market cafe. Wet, covered in mud and sand from the play park. I had not thought this through. “It better have seats” Wendy remarked.
It did. And the most awesome cakes and salads. And coffee. And hot chocolate. I was redeemed.
Marcus and I shared a lasagna and salad. Charlotte ate many things chocolate. Wendy had something. It was all beautiful. It was only later that we learned the cafe – Ottolenghi, was owned by the guy who does some TV food programmes and is a food writer. Wendy is now hooked on his recipes and shows – one thing that has transcended the holiday.
I wouldn’t say the place is kid friendly and I wouldn’t say its not. Its just not very big and serves very classy looking people. The staff were very friendly.
I was ‘King of the Dads’ again. We wandered along to Buckingham Palace to see the Queen. She wasn’t around. We sauntered through St James Park which I love. It also has a play park for the kids. Cut through Horse Guards and then up to Trafalgar Square where we sat resting for some time. The weather had picked up and allowed Marcus to run riot.
We didn’t want to go back to the accommodation just yet. But were too tired to do anything major. “Lets pop into the The National Gallery” I said. And so we did. It was great. I prefer this to Modern Art, but we all get our kicks from something. We just breezed through most of the rooms and cut straight to the stuff we knew. Its great to see the pictures ‘in person’.
Then we cut round the back and onto Leicester Square, up through into China Town and jumped on the the tube back home.