Did you know that if you travel to London by train, you can get two for one tickets to a host of attractions? I didn't until Great Northen and Thamelink told me all about it.
It's actually really simple, you just hop over to thameslinkrailway.com, buy your tickets, and then visit thameslinkrailway.com/destinations/london to grab a 2-for-1 voucher for your chosen attraction. There's LOADS to choose from, from a ride on the London Eye, to aquarium and zoo tickets and more.
We planned our own action-packed family weekend in London to try the offer out, selecting the London Transport Museum as our chosen attraction. On Friday evening, we all piled onto the train, arranged our snacks on the table, and chatted away happily until we arrived into London just in time for dinner.
Our family suite at One Aldwych
One Aldwych is situated just two blocks from Covent Garden in the heart of theatreland.
A gorgeous 5 star hotel with stunning amenities, One Aldwych is a great family option as they offer the option of adjoining rooms so that everyone can get a good night's sleep.
Our room was up on the third floor and was frankly breathtaking.
Suffice to say, we were a bit excited...
Down a hallway we had the children's bedroom to the left with twin beds and en suite, the master bedroom to the right, also with ensuite, a well-stocked kitchenette to the side of the corridor, and at the end, a spacious living area with dining table and views right over central London. Wow.
We couldn't have been more comfortable or more well looked after during our stay. This is a wonderful hotel for a family trip to London. Visit onealdwych.com for more information.
An incredible dinner at Indigo, One Aldwych
Almost reluctant to leave our lovely suite, we headed down for dinner at Indigo on the mezzanine floor at One Aldwych. The service was excellent, with the staff bringing out colouring pencils and colouring sheets for the kids, and taking the time to crouch down to their level and listen intently whenever the kids had something to say.
We were brought gluten and dairy-free samphire bread to enjoy with an oil dip as we perused the menus and we were relieved to see that children are well catered for. J opted for flatbread and houmous with crudités, while JD opted for the battered fish and chips.
I selected a beetroot salad starter, followed by gnocci with girolles, peas, broad beans and Parmesan. Both excellent. Mark chose a pork salad with crackling and truffle dressing, followed by lamb rump with samphire and smoked aubergine and capers. A flavourful, comforting selection.
To finish, JD chose a generously fruit-filled knickerbocker glory while J opted for marshmallows, which came with a generous jug of chocolate sauce (a rich, creamy ganache) that she poured on for herself before running out of energy and curling up happily on Mark's lap.
Unable to resist dessert, Mark and I decided to share a bowl of orange polenta cake, which came with delicate slithers of rhubarb. Divine!
Check availability and book your meal at onealdwych.com/food-drink/indigo.
Breakfast at Indigo, One Aldwych
In the morning, we woke early to enjoy our gorgeous suite before heading back to Indigo for breakfast, which is included in the room price for most bookings.
Alongside a fresh basket of pastries and plenty of hot tea/coffee and juice for the kids, we were presented with a good range of options on the menu.
I enjoyed an excellent vegetarian cooked breakfast, while Mark opted for the meaty version and the kids enjoyed cereal and pancakes.
Well stocked with carbs for the day ahead, we left our bags with reception and headed out to explore the area.
Shopping and sightseeing around Covent Garden
We hadn't been walking long when we spotted that J had rather covered herself in maple syrup, so we took a detour to GAP Kids and soon had her kitted out in the outfit, which I think she carries off rather brilliantly.
We strolled about, taking note of our theatre when we spotted it, then headed into the piazza to enjoy some live performances and a bit more shopping. The kids loved and J didn't want to stop watching the man who put his whole body through a coat hanger!
Fun at the London Transport Museum, Covent Garden
On the other side of Covent Garden, we reached the London Transport Museum. Using the 2-for-1 voucher we'd printed was easy. Children go free, so we just presented our voucher along with our train tickets, and paid entry of £17 instead of £34. Brilliant!
JD and I had visited the London Transport Museum before, but it was J and Mark's first time and it was wonderful to see how much everyone enjoyed it. Across one main floor and two mezzanines, there are a huge number of exhibits and most are interactive, from buses to taxis and tube trains and even a horse and carriage!
Each child who visits is given a 'Stamper Trail' card, which allows them to collect 13 stamps from numbered points all over the building. It's a brilliant way to keep kids interested right through the trip, and ensured we visited every corner of the museum.
Find out more about the London Transport Museum at ltmuseum.co.uk
A Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed afternoon tea at One Aldwych
The kids weren't all that excited when I told them we were nipping back to the hotel for lunch. That is, until they discovered it was a Charlie and the Chocolate factory themed afternoon tea, their expectations were instantly raised sky high..and One Aldwych exceeded them!
We started with these stunning bubbling dry ice cocktails, delivered in glass teapots, they completely captured our imagination.
Then it was time for the savoury course, little sandwiches and quiches, divided into plates to suit Mark (a meat-eater), the kids, and me (a veggie). It was all perfect - especially the crumbly heritage tomato tart.
Next came the sweet course, and the children's eyes were as round as saucers as treat after treat appeared, from blueberry loaves, to conserves and scones, to gingerbread cake pops, candy floss, golden eggs filled with cheesecake, and more! Everything tasted exceptionally good - in fact I'd say this quite possibly tops the list of my very favourite food experiences to date.
With full tummies and happy hearts, we rounded off this magical treat with hot chocolates, before dashing off to the theatre.
Book your One Aldwych afternoon tea at onealdwych.com/food-drink/afternoon-tea. Prices start from £37.50 (or £27.50 for children under the age of 12).
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Theatre Royal Drury Lane
The kids had never seen a West End musical before so we were so excited to head back into the heart of London's theatreland to see a full performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The sets, characters and performances in the show were loud, proud and larger than life. We enjoyed every second of this clever show, which boasts original songs and dialogue you won't have seen in the movies, expertly performed by a highly skilled, pitch perfect and completely engaging cast.
The ending, without giving too much away, was beautifully done. I highly recommend going to see this show - the kids loved it and are already talking about going to see it again before it moves to Broadway in 2017.
On a high from a truly wonderful weekend, we whizzed back to the hotel, grabbed our bags and then made our way to the station for the train ride home. The children both slept on the journey north, as did Mark and I!
We'll definitely be having another London adventure soon and will certainly take advantage of the Thameslink 2 for 1 offers. It's a brilliant way to get the most of a trip to the big city. What's more, the 2 for 1 offer is also available across Cambridge & Brighton, so that's lots more reasons to hop on a train.
This is a commissioned post for Thameslink & Great Northern, who provided train and museum tickets.We attended the show and stayed at the hotel as guests of the press offices. The final three Charlie and the Chocolate Factory images are official production images reproduced here with permission.
Also thanks to VisitLondon.com for helping us plan the trip. Do check them out for lots more ideas for London family fun.