Thursday, October 4, 2007

Little People's London

The posting has been a little slow but the travel has been heavy around here. Let me tell you about our little trip to London. We stayed at the Marriott Maida Vale (not the Marriott Gloucester Square that we usually do). Our stay was NOT very pleasant. We had requested 2 things: a crib and a babysitter. On arrival we found a typical old play pen with a plastic floor jammed between two beds. Do they really think that babies don't need or use sheets? So we had to call down for some. As for the babysitter they couldn't find one -in all of London or should I just say they didn't really try. The concierge "service" has A LOT to be desired (to top things off they gave us bad directions on more than one occasion). Did I mention that our view was of a shady boarded up building? The Gloucester Square run much more professionally and cleanly.
Now for the fun stuff!

in fun for the Little Man was the Museum of Childhood. They had a large indoor sandbox with all the accoutrements, Play+Soft large riding/climbing soft toys (be warned that they had to take away a lot of the pieces because older children were throwing them), exhibition of photos Dreams of Flying by Jan von Holleben, various science toys for the children to play with and they also had cool displays of child rearing through the ages (scary!). This is a child friendly and stroller friendly place with baby changing in both men and women's bathrooms! Did I mention that admission is FREE?!

#2 Hyde Park
In all of my travels I have never seen a park so organized, clean, accessible, interactive, tranquil, fun, historic, beautiful and with delicious places to eat. The photo of the willow elephant was a special exhibit that the Little Man enjoyed -'packed' full of fun. Also, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain is a fantastic interactive meditative sculptural circle of flowing water. You can cool your feet here (the Little Man loved this) and it is completely wheelchair/stroller accessible. Who ever designed it did a fantastic job it is beautiful. Admission FREE.

#3 Hamley's Toys
This is the Mecca of toyland. The Little Man was overloaded and I think his eyes may have popped out. A good value is their wooden toys and the blow up garden toys. The sales clerks can be found everywhere and are very helpful and knowledgeable, you often find them playing with the toys! If you do get tired there is a cafe on the top floor where we saw Captain Hook hanging out. Admission FREE however breaking is not.

#4 Victoria & Albert Museum
Running through the Bamboo sculptures by the Brazilian designers Fernando and Humberto Campana was a riot for the Little Man and gave me a chance to see The Art of Lee Miller -which I recommend. Also in the center garden there is a cute outdoor cafe and seats. Admission to the V&A is FREE however admission to the Miller exhibit not free.

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