Virgin Trains released another of their cheap £10 each way tickets so the Willbennetts decided on London for a quick trip away. (If you don’t know about these then click on the hyperlink and sign up so you don’t miss out in the future).
Now, having lived and worked in the city for a number of years and then spending many days visiting clients and having team meetings over the past 7 years – you do lose a bit of love for London. So when you finally get to go as a tourist it just highlights what a great city our capital is.
Working in the Travel Industry I do get a few good hotel deals from time to time , so with a bargain bagged at the Marriott Regents Park we decided that a couple of days in North London was on the cards for this trip down south.
I did my final year of my degree at the University of North London and bagged myself a cushty part-time office job in Chalk Farm so I knew the area pretty well. I had a plan and was going to show my family some of my old haunts as well as discovering some new ones along the way.
However, a trip to London with a 7 years old who has some Christmas and Holiday money still in her purse cannot be complete without a trip to Hamleys. So it was straight off the train at Euston and down to Oxford Circus. We then had a stroll down Carnaby Street and popped in to some of the lovely shops there before embarking on plastic hell (or heaven depending on your age).
An hour or so later, a happy girl with a bag of goodies emerged and Mummy and Daddy decided it was definitely time for a drink. We walked the back streets to find somewhere and as the sun was shining, it seemed, so was everyone else but we found a “nice little boozer” and enjoyed a quick cold one before heading to the tube.
After a quick journey we then dropped off our bags at the Marriott and jumped on the bus to Camden Town. I had shown Ella some pictures of the shops, markets and people in advance and she could not wait for her first Mohican. Camden didn’t disappoint and we had only just turned on to the high street and the weird and wonderful of Camden were out loud and proud. Then with all the wild and crazy shop fronts, clothes, shoes and then the market she was in her element.
Our tummies told us it was time for some food and so we headed to Camden Market which is just wall to wall stalls of pretty much every type of street food you can imagine. Sensory overload is an understatement but we finally settled on a Columbian platter (one for Daddy and one for Ella and Mummy to share). It was delicious but there was still room for a fancy ice cream. Chin Chin Labs is a super cool ice creamery. It had queues out of the door and you are able to see the “technicians” make the ice cream with Liquid Nitrogen. They only offer a few choices and serve it a few ways so with our Warmie and Chocolate Cookie Sandwich in hand Ella and I were totally satisfied.
We then spent the next hour or so ambling around the stalls, from bric-a-brac, leather goods, metal plate decorations to vinyl records it was all there and we just enjoyed the great vide Camden always offers. A quick cocktail at Gabeto in the courtyard whilst listening to some live acoustic music finished off our afternoon of chill.
We headed back to the hotel so Ella could relax for a bit. At 7 years old and being a dinky one her feet do get tired so we know when to call time (before the crazy tired meltdowns proceed). A little play with her newly acquired toys and then she was ready for some more dinner.
So when Chalk Farm was my, albeit part-time, place of work we visited a lovely Greek restaurant on a few occasions and was never disappointed. So, I booked us in to Lemonia in Primrose Hill (my most favourite part of London) for dinner. I am pretty sure this restaurant is an institution around these parts having been around for almost 40 years. It was packed and the atmosphere really jovial. A proper family place and no issues with children being in at all.
It was a balmy summer evening so, whilst we were hungry, we did not want to be rolling up the street back to the hotel so opted for a number of small plates and shared it all. It was all pretty good and we even ordered a little more (to satisfy the little one’s Lamb obsession). A nice bottle of rose and mezze and we strolled (piggy backed) to the hotel which was only 15 minutes walk and to our beds.
Now as for the hotel I would definitely recommend it. Staff lovely, room lovely, great facilities and a very busy Carluccios restaurant on-site. With the added bonus of a swimming pool for families it is an ideal choice and the area is lovely. Not directly on a tube line but only a 15 minutes walk/5 minutes bus ride away.
So in the morning we headed to the pool for an splash around and then packed up, stored our bags and headed back to Primrose Hill to find a café for breakfast. There are plenty of options to choose from but Sam’s Café took our fancy and it was a great choice. My obligatory Sunday Avo on Toast was available and I was happy. Ella opted for a full English (small size and whilst it was not on the menu they did accommodate her choices) and Nigel the Smoked Salmon and Scrambled Egg. All was delicious with local and quality produce used – plus a kick ass coffee to set me on my way.
Another 15 minute walk passing the already busy and infamous Primrose Hill, which has fabulous view of the city, and we arrived as London Zoo. I mentioned in last years blog about the 2-4-1 offers you get by travelling by train so definitely look what is on offer. We had a plan for a wet and dry day and there really is a wide range to choose from. So with a decent saving received which always pleases our pockets and Yorkshire mentality we were already happy.
We spent the next three and a half hours in the zoo enjoying everything it has to offer. Despite always feeling a bit sad when I see animals in small places that should be roaming the plains of Africa I still love to see the animals too. A real ying and yang experience. Ella is animal bonkers though and just loves to see them all – so I enjoy what she does. She has recently just completed a rainforest topic at school too so loved seeing some of the animals she has learnt about. Particularly the piranhas.
So when our feet were tired we called it a day jumped in an Uber and picked up our bags but not before stopping for one last cheeky cold one at the Pembroke Castle just a quick walk across the bridge near Chalk Farm station.
We headed back to Euston grabbed a quick bite from our favourite train food provider – Leon (it is as close as you get to healthy and tasty fast food) and then sat back and relaxed.
We were well and truly spoilt this weekend. The weather was amazing and London in the Sunshine is just a great place to be. It’s days like these I realise how much I love the big city.
Thanks to Virgin for starting this promotion and encouraging us to visit more often