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Taking a tween to London

Usually once a year, we like to pop up to town with the boy, taking in a few touristy things and educational visits. Natural History Museum, check; Science Museum, check (boring); Eye, check; Buck Palace, check etc etc. This year, we've taken a tween. Someone who didn't want to go to the Star Wars virtual reality gaming experience in Stratford, much to his dad's disappointment I fear. Someone who is hard to please at home, never mind on holiday if we don't have wifi or an X Box.

Day 1 - Good Friday - Shopping. Messrs Humdrum both love shopping. Master H has a new found obsession with shoes, which would be fine if he wasn't still growing. Our favourite mall is Westfield at Stratford and we spent the most time/money in Foot Asylum, checking out clothing from a new brand, not called WKD as we teased, by KWD. To be fair, he did spend his birthday money from January in there!

Our hotel was the Hilton Double Tree by the ExCel, where we've stayed before on our own. Unfortunately the pull-out bed wasn't that comfy, but wrapped up in his duvet, he managed it. The food is great there, in the restaurant and the bar. Breakfast is always a hit with us, and Master H discovered sausage sandwiches were the way to go. We rigged up our DVD player in the evening to watch the first of the Inbetweeners films.

Day 2 - Using our Tesco vouchers, we visited The Dungeons and were really impressed! I think anyone under 10/11 would've been either scared or bored, so 12 was a good age to take him. We'd never been either and didn't quite know what to expect. The queueing to get in was annoying, but once in, albeit shepherded rather quickly through the rooms, we did learn quite a bit about London history. Master H had studied some of it so it was relevant for him too. I must have one of those faces as I got chosen twice to go up "on stage" - once in the dock for dancing naked across Westminster Bridge singing about the devil, and once in the torturer's cage! Master H was a little freaked by the Jack the Ripper part - firstly because he hadn't realised he was real, and secondly, when the lights went off in the pub and Jack appeared for a split second with a slasher knife, then disappeared again. We thoroughly enjoyed it and did learn a few things.

The Tate Modern was slightly disappointing as I realised I'd have to pay to see the Picasso exhibition. Master H wasn't really that keen on what we saw, but did take in the enormity (size, presence and importance) of the Monet we saw. I liked the Matisse ones too.

Early evening, we caught the river bus (clipper service) back to Woolwich Arsenal, which took an hour. It was fascinating seeing the buildings along the Thames from the river itself, especially Canary Wharf. Definitely worth doing, just for something different. After disembarking, we went to Dial Arch pub, where I had a delicious steak and too much prosecco!

Day 3 - Easter Sunday - We'd decided to do Madame Tussaud's today, but the queues were too long, so we changed our minds to take in the Tower of London instead. Ambling through Regents Park was lovely, even if Master H didn't enjoy the walk! The Tower was around £70 but in my opinion, worth it. We queued for 50 minutes to see the Crown Jewels, which were interesting to all of us. Master H hadn't realised there was more than one crown, and the Crown Jewels meant more than crowns. Outside, we'd have liked to have seen more of the towers, but time wasn't on our side. We did visit the White Tower and the Tower where Richard III's nephews were kept - this fitted in with what Master H has been doing in history recently so he liked that, albeit the munitions side wasn't that much of a pull to either myself or him. We'd wanted to return the following morning to walk across Tower Bridge, but we could see Master H was tired so we gave him a choice - he chose shopping again!

Day 4 - Bank Holiday Monday - Back to Westfield we went, buying Master H a new WKD coat for being a sport on holiday. He hadn't whined, moaned or argued with us. He put up with a walk for me and walking around the Tower tired, and he amused us more this time, having grown up since the last trip away.

However three hours after getting home and back on his X Box, we did question whether that had been a good purchase!

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