Last week I posted on Se7en things to do in Wales and a while ago I did a series on What to do in London with a couple of kids. There is so much to see and do between London and Wales and really we only drove there and back once. We will have to go again! So only two things to see instead of my usual Se7en.
Anyway this post is our link between London and Wales… On the way out we went to Legoland and on the way back in we went to Bath. I can understand that you may not be mad about Legoland (turned out reluctant me had a ball) and we have absolutely nothing like it at home so in the name of life-experience we dived in. And then Bath well there is so much to see and do in Bath and frankly it is one of the prettiest cities I have ever been in… with beautiful buildings chartering the timeline of man… there is just so much to look at it is awesome.
Trip 1 – From London to Wales and Legoland:
Firstly we had friends to visit in Wokingham, which is a town South West of London… and they booked us into a place called California Park. You can see why its on a beautiful lake and brilliant ambles and wildlife. Our friends were very happy to tell us that California, U.S.A. was named after this spot. Hmmmm – whahahaha!!! Well California it wasn’t at 4 degrees Celsius (that’s less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit), in May, and colder than it ever ever gets in Cape Town even in mid-winter. Luckily at the last minute I packed their winter jackets (all the while thinking I was quite mad!)
Spot the South African child on the swings in shorts – what were we thinking… a tepid sun was out and so we had the (stupid) idea it would be warm! So here are a couple of pics of the lake and the swan that came right up to our door. So this is our cabin… a freezing damp cabin with water streaming down the walls. If you walked across the carpet then water seeped into your socks (euch). And there was a machine that you had to stuff coins into it every other hour (throughout the night) to keep the heat on. The bath was so full of spiders that we just shut the door. So apart from the ‘threat of invasive wildlife’ us wild African types nearly died of exposure and will forever refer to that California as… the bog.
Moving on… the aim of this pit stop was not just to visit friends but to visit Legoland, Windsor. Myself I was not exactly dying for this outing but hay I do live with a couple of Lego obsessors, and boy was I pleasantly surprised!!! Friends told us that you couldn’t possibly see everything there was to see in Legoland in one day – and that set the challenge…
We thoroughly researched and plotted and planned, no random wanderings on the day. Visit the web-site there are lots of hints and ticket specials – believe me you need them. We arrived at the gates bags packed with snacks (trust me their food prices were astronomical), diapers, changes of clothes (there is ‘controlled’ water play!). We figured out how long we needed to stop at each ride and with great discipline we were on the move from the moment it opened until the moment it closed, we didn’t waste a second and we did it… The father person was very busy dashing from ride to ride and coaster to coaster. He went in fire engines and boats, on safari and hot air balloons. I observed the fun and entertained people that were too short for a particular ride or had to wait their turn.
Legoland is everything a child could possibly dream of. I have to say that I loved every second of it. I thought it was totally not my thing – but it was heaven for our kids and so was heaven for all of us. Every detail has been thought of to make it kids heaven, for instance next to the stairs down the hill they have slides for the kids to whizz down.
Not to mention the chance to get their own drivers license. The boys were surprisingly conservative drivers, stopping for stop lights and so on. And then that girl child well she hit every curb en-route and I guess we should be saving for drivers-ed as we speak!!!
And apart from all the wild animals, pirates and dinosaurs to see we were pleasantly warmed up for a trip to Wales with a heap of castle events and dragon rides.
And as the gates closed at the end of the day so five (then it was just five) kids collapsed into the car and we didn’t hear from them until we were deep into Wales.
Trip 2 – Wales to London and a stop in Bath:
And then a week or two later we needed a stop on the way back to London… and Bath was it. Do yourself a favor find yourself a place to park (you will have to pay for parking everywhere) and then walk everywhere… Everything you want to see is walking distance apart and you don’t want the bother of a vehicle! This is another spot to do your research beforehand because there are so many things to do here. For example if you are friend of Jane Austen then Bath is the place to visit for a free audio walking tour, you can just download the tour to your ipod and off you go…
We started with a wander through the Abbey, one of the last great Medieval Churches built in England. We read our way through hundreds of ancient tombs and stood transfixed by the practicing choir.
From there we went on to the famous Roman Baths of Bath… where everyone wanders around holding their audio guide in their own language to their ears! Hood #3 spent three hours intrigued and transfixed!!! While this is definitely an adult site to visit and one of the best museums I have ever been to, it is brilliantly equipped for kids… without intruding on the adults! In fact I am sure most adult visitors don’t know that their is even a concurrent kids scavenger program. As my kids arrived they were greeted by a museum official (not a special kids program person with a clown face – they were official and looked like the real thing and made the kids feel important!) and they were presented with their special kid guide… the fact that we had plentiful kids was no problem – each guest was a special guest and got their own personal attention.
At each spot on the tour where the adults stopped to listen to their tour guide there was a challenge on the kids tour and somewhere in the room hidden a stamp or a punch to fill in on their own form. At the exit if their form was complete they got a certificate of ‘Mastering the Baths’. Fun! Now this is a very busy spot to visit with thousands of tourists trailing through but nowhere did we feel rushed or like we were on a conveyer belt. It really was a brilliant outing and a great way for all of us to learn about Roman Life. I would do it agin in a flash.
That’s it. After that we had a plane to catch! Enjoy the trip, wish it was me!!!