Fabric & Handle

March 3, 2011

tote bag leather strap Fabric and Handle tote bag leather strap Fabric and Handle

So excited! Maude is turning 12 years old tomorrow. To celebrate, we are heading to London for the weekend. Just me and Mimi. We are taking a ferry from Caen, France to Portsmouth, England early this morning, then a train from Portsmouth to London. We’ll check into the Grange St. Paul’s and then see Wicked on Thursday night. We’ll stay to sight-see till Saturday.

I’ve never been to London before and am just about bursting because I’m so happy about this little trip. Friends have been emailing suggestions for don’t miss touristy things we can do and we’ve been making a list. I’d love to know: What’s your number one thing to do or see in London?

tote bag leather strap Fabric and Handle

P.S. — Don’t you think these bags, by Fabric & Handle, would be perfect for a weekend totebag? I love the simple materials and think the straps are gorgeous (yay for adjustable!). Also. What’s the deal with tween girls and Wicked? Musicals have never been my thing, but everyone assures me this one is amazing.

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{ 142 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa March 3, 2011 at 5:10 am

Wicked is amazing! You will come away with a new appreciation for the wicked witch to be sure! Have a wonderful trip!


2 Lyss March 3, 2011 at 5:19 am

You have to visit the Victoria and Albert museum! The tea rooms are especially lovely.


3 maripen March 3, 2011 at 5:21 am

hey, England is georgeous… London is awesome, and I’m sure others will tell you about cool places there. I know one in Portsmouth, thoudg. It’s not a very girly thing to do, so perhaps you’d want to take the whole family, but take a look at this: http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/.

And, if you have the time, don’t miss the Isle of Wight and the Needles!
Have a wonderful trip, and take care!


4 maripen March 3, 2011 at 5:24 am

and for London attractions, you can get great discounts at: http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/ (2 for 1 offers for nearly every sight!)


5 Kelly March 3, 2011 at 5:24 am

I really enjoyed Shakespere’s theater and the Tate Modern is fabulous.


6 Laura March 3, 2011 at 5:26 am

Big reader of your blog, but always a ‘lurker’!

However, I live in England and London is my favourite city so I know you will have a great time. Good places to visit in London:

Covent Garden and Neal Street
Primrose Bakery (There is one in Covent Garden and one in Primrose Hill – google them, beautiful)
King’s Road – lots of expensive boutiques but a lovely area
Harrods – for everything, but there is a ‘Pet Kingdom’ which is a must see

I have a million more, but you will have such a great time!


7 Mary March 3, 2011 at 5:30 am

The best thing you can do in London is walk, walk, walk. It is a great way to really take in the city. You can walk across the Millenium Bridge to the Tate Modern, make a right and walk down towards the London Eye and see Parliament and Big Ben across the river. You can cross back over the river on Westminster Bridge (Westminster Abbey down on the left past Big Ben) and then walk up Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square. Lots of walking but lots to see if it isn’t too cold or rainy.


8 Wendi Gratz March 3, 2011 at 5:30 am

The Tower of London! I only spent a couple of hours and I swear I could have spent the whole day. The Beefeater Tour of it was fabulous and well worth the extra money. Bring a picnic lunch – the green is lovely and you can watch the ravens while you eat.


9 maripen March 3, 2011 at 5:42 am

and do make a teddy in the build-a-bear shop (there’s one in Covent Garden).


10 Harriet March 3, 2011 at 5:44 am

As a London student dweller myself a piece of advice would be to purchase two oyster cards from the station you arrive at in London. These have a small deposit price and you top them up with money to spend on public transport, such as the underground, buses or overground. You just wave the card over a yellow disk to get through barriers, one either side of a journey apart from on a bus where you just tap in at the beginning.
These are much cheaper than buying paper tickets, but obviously don’t leave you with a keepsake if one would be wanted.
The next piece would be to suggest you go to a restaurant called Leon’s for lunch or even just a mid-afternoon snack, it is a beautiful small London chain specialising in nutritious but quickly served home-made tasting food. Near your hotel there are two, one on the Strand (near the Savoy hotel) and one on Cannon street (although I have never been to that particular one). If you’d like more info http://www.leonrestaurants.co.uk/
Hope you have a lovely time in the city that is for a time being my home. Happy 12th Birthday Maude :)


11 Rachael March 3, 2011 at 6:07 am

Don’t rush out of Caen! It’s the city I studied in when I was in college and it’s beautiful. The chateau of William the Conqueror is there and is absolutely breathtaking, and the city harbor is lined with shops and cafes.


12 Christina Y. March 3, 2011 at 6:18 am

Oh the Tower of London!! But maybe wait and spend an entire day with the whole family. There us so much to see you’ll definitely go back. The Imperial War Museum sounds manly and boring but it’s amazing. And Wicked is delightful. Happy Birthday!!


13 Tina March 3, 2011 at 6:30 am

Very nice. Tate Modern would be my No1!


14 Harriet March 3, 2011 at 6:35 am

Also, the Natural History Museum and Science Museum are free museums both located just by South Kensington tube station. These are great museums with lots of child (and grown-up) friendly things to do located all around the museums.


15 creole wisdom March 3, 2011 at 6:36 am

I think you will both enjoy Liberty of London. You must go there, you’ll love it! Also I think a trip to Harrod’s too :) They have the most incredible girl’s department. I spent my 3rd grade Thanksgiving in London and found a Christmas dress there. Of course this was years ago, but I’m sure not must has changed. London is fabulous, enjoy your trip!


16 Nikie March 3, 2011 at 6:38 am

so many choices….
My children really enjoyed the British museum. There is an audio tour for kids that was wonderful. The Rosetta Stone and the chess set from the first Harry Potter is there.

They also loved all the performers at the Convent Gardens.


17 Patti Lecron March 3, 2011 at 6:42 am

Wonderful getaway! I once took my hybrid Franco-American tweens to London to see Cats around this time of the year. Perfect because there are fewer tourists and the weather is cold but DRY. They loved Cats almost as much as they loved going through all seven floors of Hamleys Toy Store on Regent’s Street. It’s Europe’s largest and finest toy store and not to miss! Funny thing though–I told them they could have anything they wanted and they never decided on anything, so we left with a couple of ballpoint pens for school! Have fun!


18 Katrina March 3, 2011 at 6:42 am

I second the Imperial War Museum (replica 1940′s row house complete with furnishings!), and purchasing an Oyster card for ease of traveling.

For more history than you ever wanted to know about London, and fantastic exhibits, go to the Museum of London. We finally went there our third time visiting, and I wish that was where we had started!


19 Cleeeo March 3, 2011 at 6:44 am

The advice on getting an oyster card is the best – will work out so much cheaper and once you’ve registered it you can keep it for next time you visit or get your deposit back! And it’s quite fun using them too :) I would suggest you register Maude for a child’s one but you have to do that quite a bit in advance I think if you don’t live in London.

I live on the road next to the Imperial War Museum, and I used to go there all the time when I was little, it’s amazing!
Tate Modern is really good too, and the Design Museum is really fun and interesting. And because these are both along the banks of the river, you should just walk everywhere. Walk up to The Aquarium and London Eye then cross the river to Big Ben, walk up Whitehall to Trafalger Square, Picadilly Circus and then all the shops of Regent Street etc. It’s really not far at all to walk and is really interesting. I always say to people visiting ‘look up!’, there’s such nice architecture, but you don’t really see it on street level so look upwards or sit on the top deck of the bus!
And if you’re in West London, try and go to the Science Museum and/or V&A, such good fun.
Loads of nice little cafes and restaurants in Soho (just behind Regent’s Street)
And Leon is a good suggestion too, there’s one on Carnaby Street!

I hope you love London, it’s so weird after reading all about you so far away in America! It was my 18th yesterday so I suppose I’m not a child anymore officially, but these are all things I loved doing as a child/teenager recently so hopefully Maude will like them!
But it is COLD here at the moment, so bring lots of warm clothes!!


20 jodi March 3, 2011 at 6:50 am

Hope you guys have a fabulous trip and a happy birthday celebration! I haven’t ever seen Wicked, but like you, I’v heard great things about it…enjoy! I love those bags too.


21 Laura March 3, 2011 at 6:52 am

Oh, I love London!
I know you already have a ton of suggestions, but here are mine anyway. ;)

The Tate Modern – modern art museum arranged by topic/theme rather than period or artist. So in the same room about sleep, there’s a pop art painting, a photograph, a mobile… it’s very cool.

Also the London Transit Museum – it sounds kind of lame, but it has SO much hands-on stuff to do and try. It’s a history of London’s public transportation, so there’s an 1800s omnibus you can go in, and all kinds of stuff. We ended up here one day when it was pouring rain and it ended up being the best top on our trip!


22 Karin March 3, 2011 at 7:06 am

Whenever I get near any English city of any size I heas straight to Mark & Spencer to buy underwear and sweaters. The best .


23 Melissa S. March 3, 2011 at 7:09 am

I have no London tips, however, Wicked is AMAZING. My daughter loves musicals so obviously sat on the edge of her seat the entire time with her eyes glistening, but more importantly I had to bring my 10-year old son, which was the last place he wanted to go, and he too sat on the edge of his seat. Loved it. Truly, truly, amazing (in NYC), although I’m sure London’s will be up to par with NYC. Enjoy Maude!


24 monica March 3, 2011 at 7:16 am

My kids LOVED seeing the royal jewels in the Tower of London. Have fun!


25 Maria Ortiz-Cintron March 3, 2011 at 7:19 am

How awesome! Sounds absolutely wonderful. What a great adventure for you both. Cannot wait for pics and posts about your trip. Enjoy!!


26 Tala March 3, 2011 at 7:21 am

I literally just went to see Wicked for the 2nd time in London. Maude will be over the moon for sure. Go to the Tate Modern. I think London eye is probably worth skipping. Covent Garden has lots of great street performers, delicious paella. Big ben is pretty obvious. Don’t forget Harrods and Hamleys (best toy store ever!)!


27 ChantaleP March 3, 2011 at 7:23 am

A mom/daughter trip is always so special!! And a musical to boot, you will have such an incredible time. We never had extra money to spend on vacations but my mom made a special trip for me to see NYC when I was 14 or 15. Just my mom and I.. it’s a memory I will never ever forget. Have a wonderful trip and a very Happy Birthday to your daughter!


28 Lauren O'Neill March 3, 2011 at 7:25 am

Happy birthday to Maude! And what a fun and special little trip :)

Some of my favorite London attractions… V&A Museum, Transport for London Museum (love their gift shop too), St. James Park, and my favorite—the Design Museum.

Have a wonderful time going to see Wicked as well!


29 Christine G March 3, 2011 at 7:29 am

For a first trip to London, you really have to go to the Tower and take the tour. Borough Market is amazing – go for lunch and wander the stalls!


30 Erin March 3, 2011 at 7:30 am

I love art museums and The National Gallery in London is one of my favorites. They have an amazing collection. To see one of Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings up close (lots of paint!) is surreal. The museum is right off of Trafalgar Square which is a fun touristy location to visit too. I can just picture Maude on top of one of those lions now! Cheers!


31 Carol March 3, 2011 at 7:33 am

There’s so much you’d probably like to do as a whole family. But I’d be sure to take my daughter on a double-decker bus ride!


32 Catie March 3, 2011 at 7:37 am

Be sure to check out the Churchill War Rooms! They are the actual bunkers that Churchill and his cabinet lived in during the blitz and they have been restored with a lot of period furnishings, it’s pretty cool. Also, I second the Tate Modern recommendation.

If you want to have a fancy “Birthday Tea,” check out High Tea at the Kensington Orangery. It’s delicious and in a beautiful setting!

Have fun! and Happy Birthday to Maude!


33 Robin March 3, 2011 at 7:38 am

Happy Happy 12th Birthday to Maude. And enjoy this wonderful mother-daughter birthday trip. It sounds perfect!


34 JWK March 3, 2011 at 7:43 am

Topshop on Oxford!! Haha I’m living vicariously through you!!!


35 shauna March 3, 2011 at 7:45 am

I did graduate studies in London. I know on a first trip you might feel like you must see some of the most famous landmarks. But there are less well-known treasures too.

Two of my must visit spots have already been mentioned: Liberty of London. So posh! And Victoria and Albert is the best museum ever! Only the most beautiful things on display. Be sure to see the Islamic art objects!

And my very favorite is Regents Park and Primrose Hill Park. I read that the first daffodils are blooming in London. St Johns Lodge garden is a hidden treat on the inner circle.

Have fun!


36 Anne March 3, 2011 at 8:00 am

Covent Garden. Head up Neal Street to Neal’s Yard and splurge on a little bubble bath. Has anyone suggested the Tower of London? That is one of my favorites. Have fun!


37 MeredithB March 3, 2011 at 8:05 am

Why do tween-age girls love Wicked? Simple: the predominant themse are fitting in, standing out and loyalty in the face of adversity–which pretty much sums up the teenage experience! Quick word to the wise. . . if Maude gets adventerous and wants to read the novel, I’d for sure hold off–lots and lots of adult content in the book that of course doesn’t make it to the musical, which is family friendly. Have fun!


38 Sherri March 3, 2011 at 8:06 am

London is so great! You would like King’s Road (is that right? wait – someone mentioned it) …. and, yes, Herrod’s. Did someone give you a heads up on a tea room or pub? I can’t remember where we used to go while shopping / sight-seeing…. but lots to do – so much to see – you will have a great time! And definitely take the family back to see ALL the historic places, museums, etc. Wonderful city.


39 Jenny also March 3, 2011 at 8:06 am

How wonderful that you and Maude are going to spend some special time together! Much has been said about trials and tribulations of being a 12 year old girl but less has been said about the powerful and positive influence a present, loving, wise, and encouraging mom can make as her daughter begins the miraculous transition to womanhood. Happy birthday Maude!!


40 Esther March 3, 2011 at 8:09 am

If you get a chance, eat lunch at Cafe in the Crypt, which is in the basement of St Martin in the Fields, near Trafalgar Square. It’s great food, cheap, served buffet style, and you eat in the cemetery crypt, with really beautiful columns and plaques and some funky bright blue lighting. One of my favorite memories from visiting London a couple years ago.


41 christy March 3, 2011 at 8:10 am

Oh my gosh how fun!!!! My husband is Welsh, so we’ve been lucky to visit London lots of times. I’d say my favorite things to do are: go on a tour of the Tower of London. Incredible! AND, eat cornish pasties from a street vendor, and get some Viennese Truffles from Thornton’s Chocolate. To die for, both of them!


42 Kristin March 3, 2011 at 8:10 am

For some downtime, go to Kensington Gardens. Check out the Palace (don’t even need to go outside, the grounds are beautiful), grab tea and a snack at the Orangery (behind the Palace) and sit for a while near the pond. Some of my best days in London were spent that way!


43 Michelle March 3, 2011 at 8:10 am

Super touristy but worth it: take one of those hop-on-hop-off double decker buses on your first day. The tube is fantastic, but you see the city this way and get to cross the bridges. Plus, hop off anywhere you like.

When you return with all the kids, visit the London Dungeon. They’ll eek in delight.


44 Michelle March 3, 2011 at 8:13 am

Google “Big Bus Tour” – I promise it’s worth the price and tourist geekiness.


45 Caryn March 3, 2011 at 8:11 am

So exciting! Happy birthday to Maude! After skimming what everyone is telling you I just have to add a few little bits that aren’t necessarily big touristy things. Eat at little bakeries. They are such a fun treat. Shop at an Accessorize store. I’ve always loved them. And be sure to go down Portabello Road and spend time just shopping, taking pictures and enjoying all the fun vendors. Hope you have a blast!


46 Sandra Gonzales March 3, 2011 at 8:15 am

Oh Wicked!!! Yes, Wicked is amazing but me & my 12 yr old go absolute gaga over West Side Story.


47 marian March 3, 2011 at 8:19 am

The V&A – so much to see and free:)


48 Katherine in Paris March 3, 2011 at 8:29 am

So jealous! I can’t wait to do a mom-daughter trip like this. (My daughter’s not even two.) First all the wonderful museums and galleries, then take her to high tea and get scones and cream and all those yummy little sandwiches. There are too many places to go to recommend just one, but it’s a must in London. Have a wonderful time!


49 ellenpatton March 3, 2011 at 8:36 am

I’ve never been to London but make sure you take lots of photos of the two of you together!


50 Jill March 3, 2011 at 8:37 am

Churchill’s War Rooms are fascinating! I loved it as a kid and again when I went back as an adult.


51 Barb @ getupandplay March 3, 2011 at 8:37 am

We loved Wicked in London- so much fun! I also loved the Portrait Museum. It’s right by St. Martin in the Fields which the coolest old church that has a cafe downstairs in the crypt (so cool and creepy). I think I remember it being within walking distance of Westminster Abbey (which I also loved!) We also took a boat tour on the Thames which was a really fun way to see a lot of stuff and save our feet a little bit.


52 mattie jean March 3, 2011 at 8:39 am

i went to london when i was twelve with my grandma. that was a long time ago, but some of the things i remember the most:

-changing of the guard at buckingham palace
-covent gardens
-westminster abbey

and it sounds touristy, but ride a double-decker tour bus. you’ll love it!


53 Corinne March 3, 2011 at 8:43 am

Pizza Express had great pizza when i was there, hope it is still there. Enjpy. I can realte to why you are so excited- one of my favorite cities!


54 Ale March 5, 2011 at 7:23 am

I’m sorry for you Corinne because this shows that you never had a real pizza… that’s industrial pizza, poor quality, frozen ingredients, and has nothing typical (is not english, and not italian). There are better places to eat in!


55 Harriet March 3, 2011 at 8:48 am

Just remembered some more. Kensington Palace in Kensington Gardens has been transformed into a magical enchanted palace, journey round and find the hidden names of each of the princesses who have lived there whilst exploring all the prettyness of times past.
I went with my best friend last sumer and even at 19 we both loved it and wished we had gone when we were younger! This will unlikely be around on your next visit and is just beautiful – my greatest recommendation!

Also dotted throughout Kensington gardens until March 13th is an art installment of mirrors perfect for exploring what’s up in the sky and so intriguing!

Also, do visit Borough Market (nearest tube London Bridge) it is just by the hospital where I study and many happy times are spent just walking round enjoying the smells and the free nibbles! Also look up here! The tallest building in London is being built, called the Shard you will see it at varying points on your travels around the city but you can really see the glass panels it will be made out of here!


56 Sherry March 3, 2011 at 9:02 am

You’re an awesome Mom!


57 ClumberKim March 3, 2011 at 9:04 am

My husband is from England and London is my most favorite city in the world. We took the kids last spring and it was fantastic. The London Eye is my must-do. I love it early in the day, or right at dusk as the city lights are turning on but it’s not totally dark. If it’s not too cold, the boat on the Thames is fun too. It’s a totally different perspective on the city. My kids loved the aquarium that’s right next to the Eye too, but they are much younger than Maude.

I love shopping at Fortnum & Mason, and on Oxford St. Tate Modern is another favorite.

Happy Birthday to Maude!


58 bdaiss March 3, 2011 at 9:05 am

Wicked is definitely…wicked. *wink* But then I must still be a little girl – I always love a great musical.

Hurray for a girls weekend! Would love to go with. Never been to London and it’s up there on my list of places to go. I’m headed out tomorrow for a major road trip with my two littles and my mom. Should be interesting. And hopefully fun! : )


59 Kayla March 3, 2011 at 9:09 am

my husband hated musicals until he humored my pregnant self one year and went with me to wicked. he LOVED it [so did i]. hope you guys are a great time–HAPPY BDAY MAUDE!!


60 Heather March 3, 2011 at 9:09 am

Westminster Abbey is a landmark, of course. It’s pretty expensive to visit (16 pounds for adults, I think), but you can worship there for free. Plus, a service might be an interesting experience (I thought it was). I recommend vespers – lots of singing and the music in that abbey is just lovely.


61 Alyssa March 3, 2011 at 9:13 am

The very best thing about Europe – quick and easy travel to so many great destinations!

Loving the tote bags. What a great idea to make the straps adjustable. This would be a great every day and (most) every occasion bag.

Thanks for sharing!


62 Rachael March 3, 2011 at 9:17 am

I loved the Sherlock Holmes museum, but that was because I grew up reading his stories. Maybe you did too? And Harrods….the chocolate department!


63 Polly March 3, 2011 at 9:17 am

Wicked is my favourite musical in the world! I’ve seen it in London four times and would love to see it again!
I live in London and if it’s just the both of you going, then some girly shopping must be done! If you go to Oxford Street, be sure to visit Carnaby Street which is just around the corner. Covent Garden (not actually a garden) is a lovely area to wander around, with lots of street performers and chain shops as well as lots of sweet little boutiques and an amazing cupcake shop! (If you go there check out Magma and Sass and Belle, both lovely little individual shops I’m sure you’ll love).
The KIngs Road and Knightsbridge (very close together) are also touristy and nice to shop in – Knightsbridge and Oxford Street will both be very very crowded on a Saturday though!
Someone mentioned Pizza Express – this is a chain and there’s one around every corner, but it’s really nice and one of my favourite restaurants – also very cheap.
If you go to the Tate Modern, be sure to walk along the embankment by the River Thames afterwards – there’s always lots going on and you get a beautiful view of London’s amazing mixture of architecture on both sides of the river.
Have a lovely trip and email me if you want to ask any more questions! I’ll look out for you and Maude! haha x


64 Charlotte March 3, 2011 at 9:18 am

Haha I’ll second a trip to Marks and Spencers for underwear…only bras I buy!! (I know how to party!!)

I’d advice you avoid the Aquarium just up from the London Eye – pretty dissapointing and small!
Covent Garden is amazing, and don’t forget the market off to the side not just the main shops. Also the Transport museum is just behind the main building and has lots to see – especially if its raining!
Imperial War Museum – sounds dire but lots of activities and very interesting actually! (but agree with poster who suggested if saving for a return trip with all the children – sort of thing that is a lot more fun with someone to run around with) when I went a few years ago they had a child orientated talk on spies in the war which then turns into a hunt round the museum for the spy with the prize – but seem to remember its most fun for children under 8ish

We also love the London Museum (I think thats what its called) – its literally like walking through thousands of years of London – I love it!!

And shopping in London is of course ALWAYS a yes :)

And if your train gets into Kings Cross or St Pancras take 5 minutes to find platform 9 and 3 quarters if your Harry Potter fans – just a fun photo :)


65 courtney March 3, 2011 at 9:22 am

I lived in London when I was 13, and I miss it dearly!! Definitely check out Ordning & Reda, a fabulous Swedish paper goods/bags/office accessories store. And my favorite place to eat was always pizza express– their house salad dressing is to die for. Hyde Park and Green Park are my favorites, and there is great shopping on both Kensington and Hampstead high streets. What a fun way for Maude to spend her birthday!!


66 Cheryl Burchett March 3, 2011 at 9:22 am

Go see the mummies and the parthenon sculptures at the British Museum. By all means stay to see more if time allows, but for a short trip it is the ONLY place to see teh Parthenon statues in the world (the Elgin Marbles) and their collection of mummies is FASCINATING. I think a young adult would especially enjoy them. There are SO many different KINDS! Who knew? Even mummies of Greek people living in Egypt so they are a total mishmash of Greek gods and Egyptian gods. My FAVORITE place ever!


67 Jennifer March 3, 2011 at 9:23 am

We are going to London this month too. My husband is English and this is our first trip where our oldest is old enough to appreciate being in a different cultue (7). He is going to a (real) football game with his dad and then to the Imperial War Museum (it is really good but I can only do so many war museums and we’re going to Paris first so I’ll do the Invalides) and I’m having a girls only day with my daughter and a girlfriend who lives in London. My daughter is only 2.5 but we’re going to a high tea. I think I would do the Dorchester if she was 12 instead of two. But she is excited to pick out a hat (must) and pretty dress and of course if full into the ceremony of it all.
We also always go to Wagamama because it’s good, inexpensive and very family friendly. They are all over the city.


68 Cathi March 3, 2011 at 9:23 am

Envy here!!!
What a wonderful time you and Maude will have. I’ve yet to visit London however my husband goes all the time with his American Airlines job. He LOVES London, the theater, the history, buildings, people…
As soon as my passport comes back from renewal I’m going with him.
Have Fun and…
Happy Birthday Maude!!!


69 courtney March 3, 2011 at 9:24 am

(and another plug for Covent Garden as well– the outdoor market has the BEST shopping!)


70 Amanda March 3, 2011 at 9:33 am

I hope the weather warms up a tad for your visit! I agree with Mary above, London is a fantastic walking city and a walk along the Thames seeing all the famous sites always strikes me.

Someone mentioned Primrose Bakery which is darling and the perfect place for a birthday treat. Primrose Hill itself is a quiet little village with lots of neat little boutiques and restaurants. If you make it to Primrose Hill, make sure you walk to the top of the hill (in Primrose Hill Park) for some great exercise and a fantastic view of London. All of the parks in London are amazing and the daffodils just came out! Yes, spring is coming! Camden town is also just a quick from Primrose Bakery if you are up for some people watching and just pure craziness.



71 Cindy March 3, 2011 at 9:34 am

What a fun birthday trip! I love that city and Wicked is such a great musical. What a lucky daughter you have!

I would highly recommend taking a hop on/hop off bus tour to see the city. Try to get a live guide, or take one that has the recorded kids tour. You should also definitely visit the British Museum and the Tower of London. And if you are a Harry Potter fan and happen to be near King’s Cross Station, you have to find Platform 9 3/4. They have a platform sign on the wall and part of a trolley sticky out of it. We stopped there for a few minutes with our kids in 2008, and the photos of some of our favorites.

Have a great trip!


72 Clyde March 3, 2011 at 9:37 am

For two stylish girl a stylish trip to Harrod’s – it’s a must do. The guards change a the Buckingham Palace is a free entertaining thing to do AND to take a picture of. Go to the Victoria and Albert Museum for a dash of culture. :)


73 Ashley W March 3, 2011 at 9:48 am

Unfort I have no awesome ideas for London since I have sadly never been there. BUT, I will say Wicked is awesome! I took my mom to see it in San Fran (where it originated) last year for her birthday. SUCH a great mom/daughter date!


74 mary March 3, 2011 at 10:04 am

Hooray! We are headed to England the first week of April and will be in London for 4 of the 7 days we’re there. I can’t wait to read through these comments. Have a GREAT time, and I can’t wait to hear all about it!


75 Jane March 3, 2011 at 10:09 am

I have been surrounded by musicals for my kids’ lives! They have performed and, more recently, been involved on the instrument side. We listen to soundtracks endlessly and my daughter’s college essay was on the order of, “Everything in Life I Learned Because of Music.” I was not eager to see “Wicked” as I had read the books, which are not really for children. Everyone assured me I would not be disappointed. We saw it in NYC as a family and we loved it. At one point, my teenage son had tears in his eyes. As with most musicals, I think I would love to see it a 2nd or 3rd time because as you later listen to the music you gain a greater appreciation for the story. Have a great time!


76 Talya March 3, 2011 at 10:10 am

I second the oyster card idea. Waaaay cheaper than buying individual tube tickets.

I’m from England, and as a teenager I thought the coolest place ever was Camden Market (I still think it’s pretty cool truth be told.)

Last time I was there I took my children to the Victoria and Albert Museum and then for tea in their beautiful cafe. It’s such a quintessentially English museum. I also like the National Portrait Gallery.

The vintage book shops on Charring Cross Road.

Oh, I could go on and on… have a wonderful time!

p.s. if you end up going back with your younger children, be sure to check out the Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington.


77 Shelley March 3, 2011 at 10:17 am

M&S sandwiches are bliss and Wagamama dinners – just the thing after a day of walking round London!


78 Sharlene March 3, 2011 at 10:21 am

Have been there twice and there are just so many, many “must-see” places. Most of them already mentioned. So let me just mention Hyde Park–church history. Or wait to take the whole family there.


79 Kelley March 3, 2011 at 10:28 am

I literally just came with a meeting with my advisor where he gave the OK for me to study abroad in London next year. So I am incredibly excited for you and Maude. Have a blast!!


80 cupcakes for clara March 3, 2011 at 10:29 am

Oh how exciting! I wish I could come to London too, but I’m up in the north of England – in Cheshire. A beautiful place to visit if you want to see some lovely Pride and Prejudice countryside.

The Natural History Museum is amazing – and free too. And you have to at least see the outside of Buckingham Palace. Give the Queen a little wave! Like others have said walk, walk, walk. Have a full on touristy day – its so much fun. And of course Hamleys – a toy shop for big and little ones!


81 Jess March 3, 2011 at 10:30 am

Have the full tea at the Orangery at Kensignton Palace! You can subsitute hot chocolate for the tea, but no matter how tempting the chocolate cake looks, go for the original orangery cake. So yummy. I have been searching for a similar recipe for 10 years now.


82 Sabrina Visser March 3, 2011 at 10:32 am

Hummingbird Cupcakes in Notting Hill – a MUST!!!!! Expensive, but very delicious and adorable design….


83 Sabrina Visser March 3, 2011 at 10:33 am

Hummingbird Bakery in Notting Hill – a MUST!!!!! Expensive, but very delicious and adorable design….http://hummingbirdbakery.com/


84 Marci G March 3, 2011 at 10:48 am

Saw Wicked in San Fran and husband who is also not a fan of musicals
was teary eyes by intermission! HE LOVED IT!!! He was ready to see
it again the next day if it wasn’t already sold out!
I would LOVE to see “Love Never Dies” if I were in London!
Have tons of fun!!


85 julie r March 3, 2011 at 10:56 am

oh i’m jealous, what a BLAST you’ll have!! wicked is a FABulous show (but the book is NOT, so don’t read it…). my favorite things to do in London were going to shows and the museums (I believe they’re free!). the Tate Modern is amazing. i think you have to pay to get in Westminster Abbey, but it’s worth it. the ceiling is beautiful! and there’s so much history that’s happened there.


86 Janey March 3, 2011 at 10:58 am

You already have lots and lots of suggestions, but I’d probably say Hamleys, it’s a fab toy shop, even for bigger kids. There is so much to see, and loads of people demonstrating all the best toys.

And yes, Wicked really is that good. I didn’t fancy it before I saw it but then I went, and I immediately wanted to go back in and see it again. So good!


87 Janey March 3, 2011 at 10:59 am

Oh, forgot to say that I’m looking forward to seeing your photos, I always love seeing touristy photos of London!


88 Sarah March 3, 2011 at 11:12 am

I loved the V&A and the National Gallery.


89 Bridget March 3, 2011 at 11:16 am

I love reading your blog! I’ve lurked for a while, this is my first comment! Happy Birthday to Maude!
We were in London in 2008, for about 3 days. We managed to do indoor tour of Kensington Palace & it’s gardens, inside St.Paul’s Cathedral, inside The Tower of London, a Thames boat ride w/ views of Tower Bridge & more, walked outside at Parliament & Big Ben, outside of Westminster Abbey, outside of Buckingham Palace, inside the Imperial War Museum. We utilized public transportation to it’s fullest, along with lots of walking (happily!).
I agree with other commenters’ suggestions of the Oyster Card.

We had planned on doing the London Eye after our tour of St.Paul’s Cathedral, but while we were standing outside on top of the cathedral’s dome, we realized the Eye was no longer necessary. The Eye is expensive (well, at least on our budget at that time), and the small price we paid to tour St.Paul’s tombs, sanctuary & 2 outdoor platforms high-up on the dome were a much better value. And the view from the top was spectacular! Only drawback (for little feet): lots of stairs!


90 Jocelyn March 3, 2011 at 11:17 am

The War Rooms and the Churchhill Museum under Whitehall. Amazing.


91 Ashlea Walter March 3, 2011 at 11:42 am

Lucky Maude, lucky you. What a beautiful memory: just the two of you. How often does that happen?!


92 Ann March 3, 2011 at 11:56 am

Walk, walk, walk… my favourite route is to take the tube to Westminster and pop out outside Big Ben and Westminster Palace – then walk up Whitehall past Downing Street, cut through Horse Guards and up through St James Park to Buck Palace. Then you are just minutes to Picadilly, Regent St and Hamleys toy shop, Covent Garden, Neal St and lots of other goodies. The blocks are tiny (much smaller than NYC) and it’s all very, very close together. Enjoy!! A x


93 Ceri March 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm

The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) is my favourite place in all the world. Anyone remotely interested in design or the visual arts has to visit there. The permanent exhibits are worth a dozen visits at least, but there is so much not on show which most people don’t realise can be viewed on request. One of my most precious memories as a design student was wandering up to the archive room and requesting to see the ORIGINAL Shepard drawings of Winnie the Pooh. A little while later, no questions asked, I was handling (with gloves on!) some of his original drawings up close and personal in a quiet little room all to myself. They were breathtaking. Have fun and happy birthday Maude! I now have a six year old daughter and will soon be taking her for the first (of many I hope) pilgrimages to the V&A.


94 whitney March 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Make sure you grab a Pasty to eat while waiting at the train station. If you get outside of london I love guildford castle- about 25 miles s.w. of london (built in the 1000′s)


95 nichshee March 3, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Maybe not this trip but when you come back with all the kids, a great day out is London Zoo, in Regents Park http://www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/

Also recommend sandwiches and coffee from ‘Pret a Manger’ a British Starbucks and they are everywhere…


96 Kelly March 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm

oooh I am so excited for you! I’m taking my son there this year too. Here’s my top 10 for what to do with beautiful young lady :) because I can’t recommend just 1 thing:

Tea at Orangie at Kensington Gardens, Queensway tube stop; walk around Kensington Gardens and see the outside of the Palace where Diana lived (don’t pay to go in, not worth it), walk over to the river on the far left side of the park and see the famous Peter Pan Statue

V&A Gallery to see the History of Fashion on Exhibition Road, just up the way from Kensington Gardens, you could even walk easily or grab a cab (this is a free museum), note the Hyde Park Chapel on the way.

Then go to Harrod’s at Knightsbridge stop and have dinner in the food halls, yummy selection, be sure to visit the children’s department and teen, amazing!

Go to National Gallery at Leichester Square, get a treat at Crypt Cafe under St Marten’s in the Fields Cathedral * Amazing yummy food there too!

See Big Ben, Parliment at night, grab some Cadbury’s chocolate to enjoy while you walk around the Thames

I also love Wagamama’s in Leichester Square for cool Asian cuisine, hit the Royal Ballet if you can and walk around Covent Gardens.

Yes, I love Tate Modern, but if you can’t get to it, I think you’ve seen similar art in NYC, go next time.

Can’t wait to hear what you chose to do!


97 Mara March 3, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Love these bags! I am going to buy one :)


98 Victoria March 3, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Great bags. Wishing you a fabulous time in London, ,my home town.


99 Inka March 3, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Tate Modern is Great and to walk around it’s Free. Covent Garden is great because of all the little shops and the big market. By the way Wicked Rules. I didn’t really like musicals until wicked. A-MAI-ZING :)


100 Beth March 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I love musicals. My husband? Not so much. Well, he decided to be sweet and took me to see Wicked and He. Loved. It. He has since asked me if there were any other musicals like Wicked that we could check out. Just sayin’.


101 Juliana Chan March 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Gotta get some dessert at Harrod’s cafe! So luxurious… That is seriously one of my favorite things to do in London.


102 Olivia March 3, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Happy Birthday to Maude! What a special trip!

(And love, love, love the totes featured. Perfect for a weekend away.)


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