Becoming tourists in our own city – a belated birthday treat

For Paul’s birthday this year I paid for him and a friends husband to shoot things and to throw weapons, buying him 2 Virgin Experience Day vouchers for a place which was around an hours drive away. They would be able to shoot targets with various types of guns, throw throwing stars, axes and a few other things which I have forgotten – it was something I knew he would love and by paying for a friend to go along too I knew the experience would be enjoyed more; it’s not something which appeals to me and I would have been bored.

It took a while for them to free up dates where they were both free and unfortunately by the time they were near ready to book up the venue had closed down, luckily I had purchased via Virgin Experience Days and they sent they equivalent value in vouchers so he could choose something different. I left the choice to Paul as it was his present after all and he chose to exchange for an experience day for the both of us. The view from the Shard and a 2 course meal for two in the Hard Rock Café.

We managed to tie this in last weekend with when the children were staying with their Grandad and we had arranged a hotel review staying at the Mercure Hotel in Kensington.

We dropped the children off early in the morning with their Grandad and headed into London, being a little early we jumped off at Hyde Park Corner and became tourists in our own city, taking selfies outside Buckingham Palace, wandering hand in hand through Hyde Park and taking a long and leisurely stroll to the hotel.

Once checked in we grabbed a cab to the Shard – after walking for 2.5 miles I didn’t fancy another long walk or even jumping on the tube. I had already booked our time slot for the Shard and we had printed off our tickets so it was just a case of joining a line, heading through security and awaiting our turn for the lifts – 2 lifts in total take you to the top, well almost the top they go 68 floors and you walk the last one.

The view was absolutely amazing. London, although a very big city never seems so big when you spend a long time there, we can venue from one part to another via tube or on foot rather easily, too easily at times as it is hard to forget just how big it is. From the top of the Shard we were reminded of the sheer size of this beautiful city, and although it all looked so very small from that view point you could see just how crammed in all the buildings actually are.

Spending quality time together as a couple was long over due, with the kids and work for us both we are often ships crossing in the night and although I work from home the evenings are spent working as I can’t do this in the day with the kids around.

We spent quite a while just taking in the view, having a drink and just chatting away. After we had our meal booked so jumped on the tube and wandered around killing time, picking up some T Shirts for birthday gifts while we saw them on offer.

Strangely enough we haven’t been to the London Hard Rock Café before but had been to those in other countries we’d visited. It’s not somewhere we will be rushing back to in a hurry sadly, the atmosphere was totally different in London, and although the staff clearly loved their jobs and the friendly banter lovely between them all the feel was very rushed, tables packed so closely together that you bump into them walking through if not careful. The food was nice but the menu very limited as it was a set menu due to the voucher, we skipped the dessert having just the main and headed out. Too noisy and rushed inside to be able to talk and enjoy properly.

We then wandered back to our hotel, another 2.5 mile stroll through the city.

Looking in the shop windows, people watching and reconnecting before having a few drinks in the hotel bar.

A very needed and welcomed time together doing something we had wanted to do for a while but knowing the kids wouldn’t appreciate it or enjoy it.

We are now planning our next adventure together as even if it is just wandering around the park or having a meal it meals we can reconnect, unwind and relax.

This weekend, although only a night we actually relaxed…..until we got home and saw water flooded over the kitchen worktops and the boiler pissing water from the bottom that is!


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