No matter how much planning I have put forth prior to any trip, there were always things that we just could not fit in due to the limitation of time. Since we are traveling with children, I strive to find the right balance between seeing/doing as much as we can each day and being able to still take our time to enjoy the journey.
When I think back to our time in England, I realized that there is still so much we didn’t get to do. And 5 days in London is just not nearly enough time to fully appreciate what this amazing city has to offer. In no particular order, these are some of the things that come to mind that I wish we had the time for during our trip.
Hearing Big Ben Chime at Noon
The couple of times we were right by Big Ben, we only got to hear the quarter bells chimed. And I really wish I could’ve planned to be there at noon to hear the full hour chimes and the 12 strikes by the Great Bell of Big Ben.
Watching Tower Bridge Lift
There were actually a few bridge lift times scheduled while we were in London, unfortunately we were either on the other side of the city, or the time was too late in the evening for us to be able to make it.
Seeing the Horse Guard Sentry at Whitehall
We not only saw the Horse Guard Parade during our first morning in London, we also went to see the 4 o’clock Dismounting Ceremony one afternoon. The plan was for us to get there to see the Horse Guard Sentry prior to the ceremony, but we were literally one minute too late in arriving at Whitehall. As we approached the gate, we saw the horse guards marched out from their sentry duty to get ready for the ceremony. This was certainly disappointing as it was the one chance for us to get up close to those beautiful horses.
Seeing a Musical at West End
I absolutely love Broadway musicals and it would have been such a special treat to be able to see a show in London’s West End.
Visiting the British Museum
One thing that’s really great about London is the free admission to their awesome museums. British Museum is definitely one of the most iconic ones, and it was supposed to be our one stop on our last day in the city, before getting on the 2:30pm train that afternoon. Unfortunately earlier in the week, I had apparently tried to fit too much into our schedule for one day: Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Sky Garden, and all with pre-purchased tickets (or reservations in the case of Sky Garden). I ended up having to skip the Tower Bridge Experience that day, as their tickets were the only ones not limited to a specific date of entry. And this meant that we had to push it back to our last morning in London instead.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Our original Airbnb flat was right by the Olympic Park and we were all excited for the chance to see the 2012 London Olympic Stadium, to swim in the Olympic Aquatic Center, and to ride the slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit. But since that reservation was cancelled by the host 2 weeks before our arrival, and our re-booked flat was in a different zone closer to the city center, logistically it was just no longer feasible to fit it into our schedule. 😭😭😭
To Actually See Oxford
I have mentioned previously in this post about my untimely severely sprained ankle in Oxford, literally 5 minutes after we completed the 2-hour walking tour. I was really looking forward to visiting this one of the oldest and most famous universities in the world. I wanted to go inside Redcliffe Camera, to admire those amazing historical buildings and to walk around the beautiful grounds inside various colleges and imagine what it would be like being a student there. I especially wanted to stop by Christ Church College and New College to see where some of the famous Harry Potter movie scenes were filmed (or inspired). But that all went away as I stumbled down the stairs in front of Hertford Bridge.
Spend More Time in the Cotswolds
There are so many adorable fairlytale-like English villages/small towns in the Cotswolds region. I could easily spend the entire day just aimlessly walking around in any of them. Unfortunately our limited time only allowed us to stop by Bibury and Bourton-on-the-Water. If time were not an issue, I would’ve loved to stay over a weekend in a little bed-and-breakfast somewhere to really explore the area.
*Speaking of adorable towns, the Roman city of Bath is another very charming place that we did not have time to really enjoy. We had left later than expected that morning, and with the help of some traffic jams here and there, by the time we arrived at Bath from Stonehenge, it was already late in the afternoon, quite a few hours later than originally planned. With hungry people in tow and the threat of rain, we ended up quickly give the town the once-over before jumping back to more traffic to return to Hinckley. 😫
Do you now see why we have a problem here? I obviously need to make another trip to England, pronto! (and I can already see my husband’s eyes rolling) 😜😜😜