Having done the sensible thing of sheltering away from the crowds for the entirety of last years school summer holidays we felt like this year we should dive right in and see what all the fun is about.
Not being one for ever enjoying a crowd I thought our plan for the day of a Southbank donkey ride followed by the London eye, a picnic in jubilee gardens before walking down to the Newport street gallery for the Jeff Koons exhibition and a cuppa and slice of cake in the Pharmacy 2 was potentially a but optimistic. We had been warned about queues and gangs of children, buggy accidents and all manner of horrific things that could happen when taking on a tourist spot during the six weeks of summer but I can confirm it wasn’t as bad as it had made out to be and we are still alive to tell the tale, Alice + Nanny + Etta + Me 3 tourist spots and 12km of walking later.
First up we had some petting of 4 of the most well groomed and cared for donkeys that I have ever met, Sony + Trooper + Sally and one other whose name escapes me were amazing well natured beasts who usually hang out on margate beach but live up in the Yorkshire moors.
Our wee gal was initially terrified but warmed up pretty easily and once a few of the older children had taken a ride she mustered up the courage to wear a helmet………. and wore that helmet for the next 10 minutes or so before telling us she wanted to have a ride.
So off she went with her mum by her side, it was so plaint to see that not only was she concentrating so hard but trying to be such a big strong brave girl just like the children two or three times her age.
I guess you could notch this up as one of those amazingly proud moments as a parent that I know I will look back on with such amazing memories. In reality it was that positive type of peer pressure that spurs you on to conquer a fear or push yourself a little harder, it really was the first moment when I realised that she is a strong independent little girl.
Next onto the main event and the London Eye, priority boarding was a godsend, a queue of 15-20 people over maybe 300 – 400 and probably 25% less of us in the capsule for only about £6 more. Believe it or not those capsules are air-conditioned and moved slow enough to not give Alice’s pregnancy induced motion sickness any issues and my incredibly irrational fear of heights any worries. E charged around the outside of the capsule bumping into the glass and anyone in her way and we were fortunate enough to a crisp blue sky afternoon to enjoy the view. A word of warning, the queue was a further 300-400 people deep to book on the day so get those tickets online before you go to save yourself queueing twice.
All done and dusted at 1130 we pitched up a blanket on the surprisingly quiet Jubilee Gardens and tucked into our picnic, being up well before six and already having walked quite some way we were all to hungry to pause for pictures but it was delicious and the pictures would have been awesome, trust me.
Bellies full and the food coma about to set in we hotfooted it down the south bank of the river thames towards Vauxhall and Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery and the Jeff Koons exhibition. I am a fan of Koons and was enthralled by all of his sculptures particularly the blow up pool animals set into the stacked chairs but the rest of the work was less memorable against the backdrop of what is truly a beautiful building and an amazing gallery space. I do hope that they keep bringing in artists to do the space justice.
We stopped by the Pharmacy 2, a collaboration between Hirst and Chef Mark Hix for tea and cake but alas again we were too hungry and thirsty for pictures. Huge thumbs down and negative points on the blogging front I know but must try harder to bring you screen lickingly good pictures of food for the future.
So there we are, home……….Alive and well worked out with 12km under our belt and a fantastic day of memories. If you are hesitating about heading down then i would say just do it, you wont be making those memories sat on your ass indoors and besides we have the winter for that.
In the interest of full disclosure we had priority access on the London Eye Courtesy of the guys at Merlin and Exposure PR and Etta didnt walk the 12km, do you think we are monsters?