The Gruffalo And A Day Out In London

The Gruffalo And A Day Out In London

Myself and my biggest boy had a little Mummy/son bonding time on Sunday. I love spending time with him on his own as it’s something we rarely do these days and with him heading off to school in September, it’s going to happen less often.

I saw The Gruffalo in the West End advertised on Groupon months back. B loves the theatre and he loves The Gruffalo so I knew I was onto a winner booking tickets.

I was a bit nervous about going it alone with him in London as he can be a bit of a handful especially when tired! But, we got Daddy to drop us at the station and headed into London from the in-laws which made the journey considerably shorter.

We arrived at Picadilly Circus nice and early. Our aim was to have a wander through the shops but I forgot the shops don’t open until 12 on a Sunday. It was lovely and quiet though so we had a wander around, watched some street acts and enjoyed the fact the streets were closed to traffic for a 10k race.

The Gruffalo is currently on at the Lyric Theatre on Shaftsbury Avenue until the end of the summer holidays. It’s currently sharing the theatre with Thriller and B was quite taken by the huge sparkly sign above the theatre!

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We arrived just as they were letting people into the theatre and it was packed! Although they recommend ages 3+, it was nice to see children of all ages there and even a few adults without children!

We loitered outside for as long as we could before we went inside to find our seats. The show is only an hour long but I thought B might start to get a bit fidgety.

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We had great seats, really close to the stage but with no tiered seats B found it difficult to see when a lady sat in front of him. We did swap seats but maybe I should have gone for circle seats instead.

The show is performed by a cast of 3 actors and they were fantastic. One actress played the mouse for the entire show while the other 2 actors played numerous roles between them.

B was so engrossed in the show that he was shouting along with the characters and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him stay still for that length of time! He loved it.

I don’t mind taking the kids to these shows as long as I’m entertained as well and The Gruffalo really did that. With fantastic story telling, brilliant songs that the audience could join in with and the most over the top and flamboyant snake you ever did see, we both had a great time. I don’t want to say too much so I don’t spoil it but, I highly recommend going to see this. I enjoyed it so much I’m considering going back and taking O with me.

After the show we headed off to M&M World in Leicester Square. I promised B we would pop in here afterwards so he could get some chocolate.

The smell of chocolate as you walk in the door is just overwhelming! It makes you so hungry. Obviously a fab marketing tool! We had a wander around and B wanted to have a go on the huge London bus in the entrance. We did buy a few M&Ms from the pick and mix machines which were pretty pricey but don’t tell Daddy!

We had lunch in Leicester Square. Bad Mummy alert but, we had a Burger King! It was absolutely ram packed so we headed outside to the grassed square area. They have pavement fountains and we were enjoying watching other children play in them while we ate.

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As soon as we finished though, B wanted in on the action. It was all going so well until he lost his timing and ended up standing on a fountain as it sprayed up. I could hear everyone gasp as he got his soaking.

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I had to walk around for the next hour with a child who looked like he’d wet himself! We both found it pretty funny though. If you can’t do things like this as a kid, when can you!

After lunch I asked B where he’d like to go and his response kind of surprised me. He wanted to go see the Queen. So, we headed off towards Trafalgar Square where I showed him Nelsons Column and more fountains (although we stayed well clear this time).

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We continued our walk towards The Mall. I lived on the outskirts of London for the first 21 years of my life and I have spent so much time in the capital. But, I have never once walked up The Mall!

The road closure was still in place so we took the opportunity to walk right up the centre of The Mall so he could see Buckingham Palace getting closer.

He was pretty impressed when we arrived that somebody actually lived in the ‘castle’. We sat on the fountain for a while (notice a theme yet!) watching the world go by before going over to the gates to watch the guards and wave at a few policemen!

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By now, B was starting to complain he was tired and his leg was hurting. He fractured his femur about 18 months ago and if we do a lot of walking he still complains about it so we started to head home. We had a stroll back through Green Park to the Tube station.

We sat on the train eating our chocolate then B curled up on my lap! I forget he’s only 4 years old at times and I think I broke him today!

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Alton Towers

Alton Towers

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I am a massive rollercoaster junkie. My husband knew he was onto a winner with a trip there for my 30th birthday.

The day started early with a buffet breakfast at the hotel before heading over to the monorail station to get to the park entrance. The monorail station is less than a 5 minute walk from the hotel so very easily accessible.

We already had our tickets courtesy of The Sun offer (£1.50 bargain) but we had the option to purchase them as part of our hotel package at a reduced cost of £30 per person for 2 days entry.

Hotel guests are entitled to enter the park an hour before normal guests to ride certain rides. We were never challenged and asked if we were hotel guests so anybody who had prebooked tickets could get into the park an hour early. Today’s choice was Nemesis, Air, The Runaway Mine Train and the whole of Cbeebies Land. We know that both Nemesis and Air can build up quite long queues so headed straight over there.

Nemesis is an oldie but goodie. Given it’s 20 years old, it’s still going strong and also still considered one of the best rollercoasters in the world. There was no queue at all and we walked straight on to seats in the back row. I love riding in the back row as you get pulled along rather than driven which I think gives a better thrill.

Alton Towers are currently running the Big 6 competition. The idea is to ride the Big 6 coasters (Nemesis, Air, Rita, Thirteen, The Smiler and Oblivion) once each and scan a barcode on their app to receive free entry to the park on 4th November.

We gave this a go and scanned every time we went on one of those rides. It turns out that by the end of the day, we had travelled quite a distance by coaster! We weren’t even trying that hard as our old people brains can’t take it any more!

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We rode Nemesis and Air several times and decided to head on over to The Smiler for park opening time. I love The Smiler! I think I actually cried a little bit when we last visited Alton Towers as I couldn’t go on this and everybody else could! It had been raining pretty hard by this point and we had to wade (literally) our way through the enormous queue line almost straight to the front. We waited 15 minutes and this was the longest queue all day. While on the ride it started to hail. That stings at 60mph!

We followed The Smiler with a go on Oblivion thankfully just as the rain and hail finished. We then headed on over to complete the Big 6 challenge with Rita and Thirteen.

Big 6 challenge under our belt, we decided to try something we’ve never done before – Ice Age 4D. We waited outside in the rain for ages and it was unfortunately really disappointing. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the new 4D film being released the following week but the effects we completely out of sync.

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While over in the area we had a quick go on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I haven’t done this since it opened and it lacked excitement for me as a teenager but, having just read this story to my kids, I have a new love of it. The boat ride takes you through the story and then the glass elevator simulator takes you up and out!

We had a quick burger and chips in the now Alton Towers owned burger restaurant which was really nice. There was a good vegetarian option which the Mr said he was a bit jealous of when he saw it. The chain restaurants have been kicked out the park in the past few years and now Alton Towers have their own versions of them instead.

We hopped on the Skyride back over to the rear of the park again. The Skyride takes you over all the beautiful gardens which nobody (except my mother) has ever had the time to visit.

We rode Nemesis and Air again then started to head back towards the front of the park. We skipped Nemesis Sub-Terra as I pooped my pants the one and only time I’ve ever done it. I have honestly never been so scared!

We popped in for a good old husband and wife battle in Dual then back over to The Smiler for two last goes. The queue was even shorter this time but no less flooded! Not a great time to discover a hole in your shoe!

Our final stop of the day was Sonic Spinball. The queue was so short that they were only loading cars on 1 side meaning we were getting some serious spin!

Exhausted and all coastered out, we headed to the monorail and back to the hotel to collect the car. If staying in the hotel, make sure you keep your hotel card handy when leaving the resort. We were asked to show it to get out the car park and it was buried in our bag in the boot!

We had a great couple of days and I think Alton Towers still ranks as my favourite UK theme park. I loved spending quality time with the Mr as it’s something we very rarely do these days. It’s spending time together like this that reminds me why I married him. He’s a keeper!

Just as an extra, this is my Fitbit report from my day at Alton Towers. I guess I earnt my burger and chips at lunchtime! Neither of us guessed we’d walk anywhere near this distance.

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