London - Day 1 | En
Updated: Sep 9, 2018
We were in England for a family party and decided to spend a few days in London. I used to live there so it was great to go back with the family and see the city from a different perspective.
We arrived at the train and our first stop was the Rainforest Cafe. I had always heard that it was a hit for families and Jude and Alba were so excited when we arrived it wasnt hard to see why. The entrance takes you through a shop and to get to the restaurant below, the only way down seems to be a large flight of stairs. There is an area to leave pushchairs at the top but for us, with Elio who can't use a high chair, it meant carrying the pushchair downstairs which wasn't ideal - I imagine parents with small babies would be in a similar situation.
We asked for a table with space for Elio next to it and were given a table with plenty of room for us all which was great. We found the service a bit hit-and-miss. They were very efficient when we first arrived but it was hard to get their attention later on which was a bit frustrating given that the restaurant wasn't terribly busy. We also noticed that, considering its a restaurant largely aimed at children, a lot of the staff didn't seem that « child friendly ». Alba tried to wave at a lot of the staff walking past the table and was rebuffed every time. The food was pretty good although relatively expensive for what it is. A meal of 2 adult burgers and two meals from the children's menu (we took Elio's food with us), a dessert to share plus drinks was more than £100.
The place itself is great, and we liked the fact that there is plenty to see from every angle. There are little animations at regular intervals which kept the children entertained — the elephants start to move, or there is the sound of thunder and flashes of lightening. Jude and Alba really liked the gorillas, and we encountered a big fish tank on the way to the toilets.
Speaking of the toilets — they were dirty with toilet paper on the floor and a general feel of grubbiness. The baby change area consisted of a cubicle with the door removed which house two large bins and a pull down changing table which, once flattened, came to about my shoulder height. I am not very tall and it was a struggle to haul Elio up there to change him. Again, this was a bit of a surprise for a restaurant aimed at the family market but overall we had a good time and would go back.
Later in the afternoon we hopped in a taxi and went over to the Natural History Museum.
I hadn't been there for a long time and dinosaur-mad Jude was beside himself with excitement, so we started with those when we arrived. There was a huge array of dino skeletons on display which was really interesting for all of us (except Alba apparently who slept during the entire visit ;-)).
Jude was completely in awe of the huge animatronic T-rex, so we spent a long time there for him to examine him from every angle.
We then passed through the mammals department before we decided we needed an ice cream.
The museum was rather warm and the children were getting tired, so we didn't see everything, but I am told from a friend who used to work at the museum that there is a great air-conditioned area in the basement which is a good place to stop for a picnic. The museum is free entry, so we didn't feel the pressure to see absolutely everything in one go and we will certainly go back.