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An American Family in London
Although we only had two days in the United Kingdom, #London was the perfect choice for our #family. We were able to stay in a very #affordable hotel and use our finances to see amazing historical monuments and castles instead, leaving a lasting memory for everyone. Our next international vacation will certainly include London again.
London was only supposed to be a go-between destination on our European vacation, a quick stop between the Unites States and the rest of our trip. Sure, we were excited to see such a world-famous city, but it was mainly chosen because it is so affordable to fly into internationally. We planned on booking an inexpensive hotel, seeing a bit of the city, and moving on afterward. London, a city made famous by countless artists, kings, and storytellers, soon totally captivated our hearts.
A city made famous by countless artists, kings, and storytellers, soon totally captivated our hearts
We arrived after an eight-hour flight from Florida, went through international customs, and were ready to change clothes and relax. Thankfully, the Hilton London Gatwick Airport Hotel was only a short walk in a covered walkway away from our terminal, connected to the airport itself. We didn’t need to rent a car, board a shuttle, or walk a long distance with heavy luggage and three tired kids.
Hotel Hilton London Gatwick Airport
Candle Making Class
The Secrets of Westminster Abbey
The hotel room was immaculate; it had a huge king bed as well as bunk beds that our boys adored. After a long flight, I would have been happy with a lot less, but luckily the Hilton delivered.
After a few hours of resting (we arrived in London in the morning after a red-eye flight), we set out to go and see some of what London had to offer. Even more convenient for this travel-weary family, the hotel lobby was a train station. We got our tickets, excitedly got on the train and started our journey toward the city centre.
To fully experience the splendor of London, we walked everywhere else we went. This includes quite a trek over the River Thames to get to the Tower of London. As an avid reader of medieval novels, this was the spot I was most looking forward to.
Changing the Guard London Walking Tour
Houses of Parliament Guided Tours
A very reasonable ticket price included access to the Tower and the Crown Jewels display, exhibitions including Coins and Kings and Line of Kings, the Yeoman Warder guided tour, live historical re-enactments, White Tower tour, children's activity trails, and even more we didn’t have time to do. Standing in the spot I had read about in so many stories was completely overwhelming, in a good way. We even got to see some replicas of three terrifying instruments of torture in the Wakefield Tower, something my kids got a real kick out of.
Standing in the spot I had read about in so many stories was completely overwhelming, in a good way
We spent a few hours at the tower, but had to keep moving to fit it all in. After a wonderfully British lunch, we arrived for our sightseeing tour on the Thames River. This was a great way for us to see more of the city that we didn’t have the time to stop and see individually. We particularly enjoyed being so near Westminster Abbey, without trying to get through the crowds of people. The abbey is home to the tombs of many kings and queens, so it was almost magical to be that close. It has been the location of all coronations since 1066 and several royal weddings too. That was enough to fill our day, and we headed back to the Hilton for a very-much-needed night of sleep.
On day two of our trip, we journeyed out of London and rode on a guided tour to Stonehenge. Stonehenge was built over 4500 years ago and has, over time, become the subject of many conspiracies and legends, many of which were told to us during the drive- bringing history to life for our family. I was blown away by how many other archeological findings had originated from the area too. The huge stones themselves are magnificent and a testament to the engineering prowess of our ancestors, something that is impossible to appreciate without seeing them first-hand. Pictures truly do not do Stonehenge justice.
The huge stones themselves are magnificent and a testament to the engineering prowess of our ancestors
Alas, after our Stonehenge tour, our time in London had come to an end. It was quick and easy to pack up again and walk back across the covered walkway to board our next flight out of Gatwick. We didn’t get to spend nearly as much time in the United Kingdom as we wanted to, and we will planning a trip to return as soon as possible.