London Report

July 20, 2011


Picture 1 of 32


My goodness. We really packed it in during our London Trip.

We rode around on a double-decker bus tour to get an overview of the city. Took a ferry up the Thames from Big Ben to the London Tower. The older kids saw Shakespeare’s Alls Well That Ends Well at the Globe Theatre. We rode the London Eye. Visited Big Ben. Got familiar with the London Underground. Saw Harry Potter at Leicester Square. Took Afternoon Tea at The Orangery at Kensington Palace. Went shopping on Regent Street. Swam at the hotel. Saw the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Met up with our brother-in-law (and Shakespeare Professor), Bruce Young. Toured the Tower of London. Saw the White Cliffs of Dover. And walked through lots of rain! rain! rain!

Today, I thought I’d share some photos we took while we ran around town. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the Tower of London — it was right by our hotel!

P.S. — Note to self: next time, pack wellies.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 juliagblair July 20, 2011 at 7:27 am

What a totally delightful tour! I could feel the rain! But mostly I felt the
excitement and joy of really being there and being with FAMILY!
Thanks millions for sharing.


2 Barchbo July 20, 2011 at 8:00 am

London is one of my favorite places in the world – I love reading/hearing about everyone’s visits there!

I’ve never been on the London Eye – I think I definitely need to check it out next time I go!


3 Ana July 20, 2011 at 8:04 am

Oh ow dreamy! I love double deckers.


4 hyzen July 20, 2011 at 9:53 am

I don’t know if it was intentional, but because you left the H off of “how”, I was forced to read this in a Cockney accent in my head, a fitting complement to reading about the Blairs’ trip to England.


5 Rebecca - A Daily Something July 20, 2011 at 8:42 am

What a trip! Sounds like so so much fun. :D Your pictures are incredible, as always!!


6 Design Mom July 21, 2011 at 2:52 am

Thanks, Rebecca! I have the hardest time narrowing the images down. : )


7 Kathleen July 20, 2011 at 8:49 am

Last time we were in London we saw Harry Potter too. It’s the right place to see it, I think.


8 Jennifer O. July 20, 2011 at 8:54 am

Interesting. Thanks for the ideas. My family is going to London for a week beginning Saturday, and i have been having a hard time figuring out what to pack, since the forecast is for high 60s/low 70s, and it’s hitting 100 here. I’ve forgotten what to wear in such weather!


9 Michelle July 20, 2011 at 8:58 am

Perfect! What were yours and the children’s favorite “bits” of the trip?


10 Design Mom July 21, 2011 at 2:53 am

I think each child had a different favorite part. Oscar and Betty thought swimming at the hotel pool was the best! : )


11 Diane @ kitchen-dreams July 20, 2011 at 9:11 am

What a great itinerary! how wonderful for your kids. sun and London just don’t seem to go together!


12 Amy Guillont July 20, 2011 at 9:24 am

Your trip to London looked like so much fun! We headed there in October with our kids that are ages 9 and 12. We are having a hard time coming up with a good musical or play to take the kids to when we are there. What did your kids think of All’s Well That Ends Well? Was the Shakespeare to hard for them to follow? Thanks.


13 Design Mom July 21, 2011 at 2:55 am

Good question, Amy. Our 9-year-old stayed at the hotel with me, but our 12 and 13 year olds really enjoyed it. My husband went over the story with them on the way there, and then they read the synopsis in the handout at the theater. They said it was hard to get used to the language at first, but that after awhile, they understood. Which is exactly the experience I have when I’m watching Shakespeare. : )


14 Amy Guillont July 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm



15 Maria @ Busy as a Bee in Paris July 20, 2011 at 9:24 am

love that rain photo! it captures the essence! just read a wonderful article on you about how you balance your life work family. i was inspired and think even more that you are amazing! bisous!


16 Design Mom July 21, 2011 at 2:56 am

Thank you, Maria. I’m glad you liked the article.


17 debbie m July 20, 2011 at 9:49 am

We were there 2 weeks earlier and it was warm and sunny. England sure changes quickly. We also did the London Eye/boat ride. It was awesome. We even got to see Tower Bridge closing. There is so much to do in London. sounds like you packed in alot.


18 Cathi July 20, 2011 at 10:19 am

Love your London photos Gabby!! What kind of camera(s) did you use? I can’t wait to visit London with my husband. He goes often and he just now decided to ride the London Eye next trip! ;D How long does the London Eye ride take? We’re looking forward to reading more about your exciting weekend.


19 Design Mom July 21, 2011 at 2:56 am

The London Eye takes awhile. There is some standing in line and then the ride is about 40 minutes around.

I use a Canon 50D for my camera.


20 Liliana July 20, 2011 at 10:22 am

So completely – London!

The children seem enraptured.


21 C July 20, 2011 at 10:25 am

Haha, i flew home from a 39 degrees Hungary on Saturday – our London summer was definitely a shock. Everyone here is saying it’s the worst summer for 20 years.


22 Joy July 20, 2011 at 11:21 am

What a fun trip! Just curious – how do you handle baby gear and naps for June when you travel? My daughter is a few days younger than June, and I don’t even know how I’d manage London with a baby!


23 Vicki July 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Glad that you enjoyed it. I live in London and I did feel for you coming to visit in such miserable weather. It’s been so changeable recently but the last week has been horrible, weather wise! I’m pleased to see that it didn’t stop you in your mission to pack as much in as possible. I hope that we can dish up better weather on your next visit!

Jennifer – I’d pack lots of layers – it can be quite warm – and also very cold and wet! July has been bizarre – I’m sending the kids out to nursery with raincoats and sunhats and everything in between at the moment!


24 Lola July 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Next time you visit, I’m going to have to send you my recommendations – now that you’ve got the basics ticked off! And I promise it wasn’t raining like this until last week – we do have summer weather sometimes, honest.


25 Design Mom July 21, 2011 at 2:58 am

I’d love to hear your recommendation!


26 Chantale July 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Your London trip posts are amazing! I recently went to see HP myself and was caught in a severe lightning/rain storm on my way back home. Very scary. lol. These London pics are gorgeous! So glad to see everyone having so much fun.


27 Alex Chell July 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I find it so surreal that I’ve followed your blog for such a long time with you thousands of miles away and even in France it’s still a rather large distance; but while you were in London you were less than 30 miles away!! ;-) So glad you had fun and got to see so much! I’d apologise for the rain but without it, it just wouldn’t have given you the ‘proper’ English experience! ;-) xx


28 Design Mom July 21, 2011 at 2:58 am

It would have been fun to do a meetup in London. Maybe next time!


29 Amy July 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Sounds fab! I think I would have stuffed all that in, too. I am having my hubby bring wellies back from his next business trip to Norwich. And the obligatory chocolate and cheese…any suggestions on what to bring from Poland? BTW… I took a class at BYU from your fabulous brother in law. Jealous that he is in England. And I am not.


30 Ann Marie July 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm

oh my goodness! I was at that very play at the globe this weekend? Which night were you there? I was there Sunday night. FANTASTIC!


31 Design Mom July 21, 2011 at 2:59 am

Yes! Sunday night. It was Ben Blair, Zella, Ralph and Maude. What a fun coincidence.


32 Ann Marie July 21, 2011 at 6:58 am

Fantastic! Didn’t you just love it?! It was a nice break from all of the tragic and disturbing Shakespeare plays I’ve been seeing for school this summer (don’t get me wrong, I have loved them all). This was a nice lovely little comedy. Anyway, wish I could have been on the lookout for y’all :)


33 Andrea@FancyThat! July 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm

A quintessential London-y time! Including the rain! Sounds fabulous.


34 Rachel July 20, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Alrighty, I officially want your life ;) Looks like a magical time had by all. London is my fave city in the whole world. I daydream about relocating my family of four to the hip hood of Islington. Some day.


35 CMN July 20, 2011 at 4:52 pm

I’m so impressed with everything you managed to pack into a quick trip… more especially because of the entire gang being involved! Exceptionally well done. :) I think it’s great that you did a mix of activities for all ages — and a mix of things that are “we did it once” and “we’d do it again!!” too. Because, let’s admit… Changing of the Guard is cool once, but not something you’d want to do every time you visit London. However, the Tower? I HAVE done that every time! And Tea at The Orangerie? Yep, that’s on my must do frequently list too – love it! The only better scones are at the V&A Museum (of all places!). I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone thought of the Tower too… I’ve always thought it would be the best for kids, even though I’ve yet to take anyone that small to London. {hmmm… begins to scheme…} Well, let’s just say… next time? Sign me up for gratis kid-sitting duties! :-)


36 Design Mom July 21, 2011 at 2:59 am

I’m dying to see the V&A museum! It’s still on my list.


37 Melissa Yoder July 20, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Sounds like an awesome trip!! I am seriously so jealous. Even if it’s been raining nonstop.


38 jan July 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm

you all amaze me! how you do it with 6 children is beyond me. what a great experience for the kids!


39 Simone @ Fresh*Paperie July 20, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Love the pictures – your kids are TOO cute! :) Looks like the West coast isn’t the only place experiencing a rainy summer this year…


40 Design Mom July 21, 2011 at 3:00 am

It’s been rainy and chilly here in Normandy too. We turned on the radiators yesterday!


41 hayley July 21, 2011 at 4:04 am

So glad you enjoyed London. It’s my last couple of weeks here: I was born and bred and now am leaving with my family to live in Ann Arbor where my husband has been offered a Chair – so big changes for us!
We close on our house very soon and need to find a central London hotel – not something we’ve stayed in before, naturally, in our home city. I skimmed your report as there is so much to do, but couldn’t see where you stayed. A hotel with a pool TofL sounds great – where was it? The Tower Thistle? Glad you are enjoying al that Europe has to offer: hope I don’t miss it too much, but I do intend to get back here between 4-5 times per year!


42 {plum} July 21, 2011 at 5:16 am

um. yeah. Shot 16? Your hair couldn’t be any more perfect!! add navy and white stripes. sooooo casual chic!!

best – d.
post script: don’t forget, today’s the day.


43 Katie R July 21, 2011 at 10:47 am

OH! You are wearing sweaters. And jackets. And it is raining…and the sky is overcast. That’s it…I am going to vacation in London in the summer. I am ready to escape this heat. This time of year I long for autumn, and start dreaming of burnt orange, and cable knit tights, and cool grey skies.

I also agree with the previous commenter: your hair looks so nice! Did you lighten it just a bit?


44 Kay Miller July 25, 2011 at 6:24 am

I feel like I just visited there myself! Thank you for this awesome blog!


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