Christmas is coming. I can feel my Christmas senses beginning to tingle along with the dropping temperatures. The trees have shed their leaves and stand naked. We even had the first snow last week in Copenhagen. My thoughts wander back to last year and our family Christmas trip to London:
Four days of Christmas cosiness and many kilometers of walks through the lovely decorated streets of London. My brother in law and his family live in London, so it is a well-known journey for us. As always we stay at their place. They have two kids like us – we have a third on the way, so we are all in the same boat when it comes to children. Four days go by fast. We need to celebrate “early Christmas” and visit all cousin Emil’s favourite playgrounds (see below). Friday starts with a loooong walk to a playground by Highbury Fields. From there we take the tube to St. Paul’s Cathedral and walk over the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern. The kids are thrilled about the Christmas market outside the museum. They ride the merry-go-round and eat pancakes, roasted almonds and drink hot chocolate.
The kids are thrilled about the Christmas market outside the museum. They ride the merry-go-round and eat pancakes, roasted almonds and drink hot chocolate.
We have a tight schedule but it is very child friendly. The kids are excellent walkers but having a stroller/buggy handy is worth the hassle. We also bring the Ergobaby (link). Our youngest, Kai, loves riding on the famous double-deckers but when we need to travel far, we go underground and take the tube (see below). We mix our daily journeys with trips to the playground where the parents’ inner child also finds its toys.
While the kids play I get a chance to run off and shop for presents nearby, my favorite boutique is Brora on Upperstreet Islington (brora.co.uk – best cashmere knitware for the whole family). We cover lunch and smaller meals in cafes and eateries around town. Some of my favourite areas are Highgate (check out High Tea of Highgate they serve the best cream tea) and Church Street, Stoke Newington. Both out of ‘town’ but if you want a taste of real London areas away from the tourists, then these will give you a taster. So if you are longing to stock up on Christmas- mood and present shopping, London is well worth a visit during December. When we board flight SK1508 to Copenhagen after four days in London, we are all full of Christmas spirit and ready for the grand Christmas finale back in Denmark.
The Tube with Kids
I takes time to get around on the tube in London. You will need a good map (for example Tube-Map for IOS or Android) but you no longer need a specific card (Oyster) – you can just travel using your credit or debit card to check in and out of the stations. A good snack-
bag is required for the long train rides, a drinking bottle (for example Bkr) the kids’ favourite books and a good portion of patience.
If you are bringing a stroller or pram it is easiest to get on and off at stations marked with a wheel chair symbol as these have a higher section around the center of the platforms and also feature elevators. If you have one, it is worth bringing a carrying harness like the Ergobaby (link) as they make moving around the tube much easier. The London tube is very old and many stations have many stairs that go both up and down, over and under. It is also very common for the fairly rare elevators to be out of order.
Cousin Emil’s Favourite Playgrounds
Princess Diana’s Memorial playground