It was my wife’s 40th birthday back in June (which I’m sure she won’t appreciate me announcing here) and, as her present, she wanted to see a West End show. We booked tickets to see Wicked in August, which we now just back from.

When booking, I decided that a made rush down to London, a show and then rush back wouldn’t be the nice, relaxed day out my wife was hoping for, so I made an early decision that we should stay in London for one night.

So, on Wednesday, late morning, we (my wife, my youngest daughter and I) walked down to the local train station with just a back-pack each to hold what we needed. Pre-booked train tickets meant that we had reserved seats and the 1.5 hour journey to London was painless.

Upon arrival we made good use of the M&S Simply Food to grab sandwiches at St Pancras before finding the tube to Victoria Station, Wicked is at the Apollo Victoria which is literally over the road from the station. We ate our lunch nearby…

With some time still to kill, we walked over to Buckingham Palace, returning about 45 minutes before Wicked was due to start.

We had stall seats, a little to the left and not too far back either – we had chosen this particular day to come too as it had a matinee and also because, this week, children were free.

I really am not the best person to give feedback on the show as I’m not a musical theatre fan (yeah, I know, it’s complicated). However, it was staged very well and the story, in particular, was very good – a real twist on the original story. No complains from me anyway and I’m hard to please 😉

After, we got a further tube to Belgo in Covent Garden for a meal. It was a brick-and-sawdust style of burger place, which is all the rage these says. Jen had a discount voucher so we all ate rather nice burgers and chips before heading off again.

Having sat most of the day, and now full of burgers, it was time to do some walking. Our hotel wasn’t too far away but I didn’t take into account Lucie’s slow pace of walking, so it took longer than I expected. We walked across Waterloo bridge – it was evening now so it was beginning to get dark – and passed the London Eye.

Our hotel was the Premier Inn, which is part of the massive County Hall building by Westminster Bridge. We got a family room, which is a double and single bed.

For the location and money the hotel was okay.. it was a bit scruffy outside of the rooms but the rooms themselves were decent and, most importantly, clean and comfy. We paid extra for breakfast which set us up nicely for the second day.

We walked across Westminster bridge with the intention of seeing some of the obvious sites. Such as Big Ben and the House of Commons…

Westminster Abbey (and surrounding area)…

And then we moved onto Downing Street…

But, enough of the site seeing – now for the shopping, as we moved (again by underground) to Leicester Square and Oxford Street.

The Lego store was first…

This was followed by (it had to happen) Cath Kidston and then we went to Selfridges for afternoon tea and more shopping. Whilst Jen and Lucie went to the toy area I found the even-more-massive technology section. Lucie and I were both in our respective elements.

Lucie tried on some new trainers in JD Sports (although, sadly, they didn’t have her size) before we had to leave for a final trip back to St Pancras. A final tea in McDonalds happened first (this was the one by King’s Cross which I went to during my last trip to Big WP

Now, the return train – Midland Mainline has a nasty habit of not uploading their reservations for the return trips so, although I’ve technically always had a reserved seat, they’ve never been honoured. Not knowing if it would be the same this time, and not liking the idea of the 3 of us standing for 1.5 hours, I made sure I was ready as soon as the platform was announced – as soon as it was, I near-sprinted to the train (and the second person to get there, only beaten by a man who waited whilst stood directly in front of the barriers). However, Midland Mainline, as modern as always, had rolled out one of their most elderly trains (think slam doors) and this required cards to be stuck on top of the seats for reservations which, in this case, had been done. Seats reserved and another gently trip back home.

Kind of.

Signal works at Derby means we couldn’t get back to our local station but had to get off at Beeston. A bus was laid on but this was going direct to our station, where there was another (20 minutes) walk ahead of us – by this time Lucie’s legs hurt. So I cheated, and called an Uber, which took us directly to out front door.

And it’s no wonder Lucie’s legs hurt. On Wednesday I walked 12k steps and 15K the next day. Lucie has shorter legs than me so would have walked even more.

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