London with a 9 Month Old Baby!
We couldn't leave Europe without visiting London, the sister city to NY, where I'm from. We only had a short time frame for the trip and were only able to spend 3 days there. I would suggest staying for at least a week. We felt a bit rushed and with a sippy cup sojourner in tow, that adds unnecessary stress to the vacation. Even with the time crunch, we had an amazing time! Talk about a city of delight! There is always something happening on every corner!
We started our trip by plane. We flew in from Germany. Navigating an airport is hectic, if possible, check your stroller at the front desk, throw a the baby in a baby carrier and give your partner the backpack, and head out! We use a backpack diaper bag for traveling. Everything we need for the trip goes inside. That way we aren't juggling several bags and a baby between us.
Sam was still young enough to sit on our laps for this trip. She may have meet the age requirement but our big baby was a handful sitting on our laps. If you can splurge for it, I would suggest getting the sippy cup sojourner a solo seat at 9 months plus. Thankfully we were able to keep her occupied with a bag of new toys for the flight and taking her around the airplane on mini "field trips". The flight attendants were delightful and even brought over a little toy for her. *Warning: The airport security made us remove Sam from her baby carrier at every security check point (even when she was dead asleep). Thankfully we were able to remove the carrier without her waking up, shuffled through the metal detector and got the carrier back on without her waking up! I've made it a point to fly without the slightest metal on me. No hair clips, jewelry, belts, buckled shoes, and anything else that might set the thing off.
We arrived at night and it was raining. We checked the weather before we left so we made sure to have all the rain gear for the stroller and carrier in the suitcase. I found London in general to be a very stroller friendly city. While we were there the subway... sorry the "Tube" was under major construction and left us frustrated to say the least. Once we gave up trying to navigate around the detours and elevator closures we discovered something wonderful; the taxi cabs fit a stroller, fully erected inside!! Once we discovered this we were free! We hopped in and out and got around with the simplest of ease! The London Eye was high on our to do list for the trip. Strollers are not permitted on the London Eye. If you bring one they will ask you to collapse it, carry it through the 9875240395802 person line (which moves very quickly for such a long line) and then store it under the seat inside the pod you ride in. We took the stroller and then quickly regretted it. Sam was in her carrier happy as can be but daddy was stuck lugging around the stroller and all the stuff you end up stuffing in and on it. The sights were amazing and I'm so glad we took the opportunity to go! *Warning: you must book your reservation a few days ahead of time so make sure you look into that before you leave home!
Sam fast asleep for her nap.
We also headed over to Shakespeare's Globe Theater. I thought it would be fun to share these photos and memories with Sam when she's in high school and has to read Romeo & Juliet! At the entrance we were told there were no baby changing stations in the theater. The first bathroom inside the museum does have a handicap bathroom that leaves enough space if you are able to lay your stroller completely flat. There is another bathroom outside the theater that is much larger and has enough counter space for a diaper change.
The theater requires that you pay for a tour of the theater in order to enter. Our tour guide was one of the theater's actors and was very entertaining.
After our tour we asked our taxi driver to suggest a good resturant in the area we were headed next. He sent us over to Potter's. The food was delicious, they had plenty of high chairs, they custom made food for Sam, and there was a baby changing table in the ladies room. They were even willing to store Sam's stroller so we could eat in the downstairs area.
I had to stop by the Apple Market while we were in the area. There were live musicians playing and vendors everywhere. I was successfully able to fill my shopping need all in one place!
Some of the best memories we made on this trip were inside the coffee shops we frequently stopped in to rest, have some play time, have a snack, nurse, and change Sam. We meet some great people just sitting around on the couches and drinking coffee. This is one aspect to traveling we never got to enjoy before Sam entered our lives. Although there are challenges to having a child, she has managed to add a little bit of Sam sparkle into every aspect of our lives, traveling included.
We took a walk around London's TIme Square area. We were delighted by this bear and Sam fell in love with him! The great part of traveling to a city is that there are wonderful things happening all the time.
For this trip we rented another apartment. It was nice to be able to cook for Sam, have her crawl around the house, have a bathtub to give her a bath, and a room to put her to sleep so mom and dad can enjoy our evenings on vacation as well! Here Sam is doing some research for our next day's adventure!
On our last day we stopped by Buckingham Palace. I was fully prepared for the Queen to call us in for tea but unfortunately it didn't happen. Perhaps it was a good thing, considering Sam decided to nap for our entire visit. :)
We stopped in a Westminster Abbey to show Sam all the famous scientist! She gave them a friendly pat and a "da-da" and we were off.
The airlines on the way home had organic baby food available on the flight! This is also the flight Sam went through 3 different outfits in her need to experiment with her water and food. The most important part is- WE MADE IT! :D Without a doubt we could have spent a month there and never run out of things to do. There are countless things to do with older children (check out my link below) we will have to come back when Sam is older!
Where and How
Subway: Baby Carrier (elevators are hard to find and sketchy to say the least)
Taxi: Stroller (our bugaboo bee fit perfectly inside fully erected with Sam inside!)
London Eye: Baby Carrier
Markets and Downtown: Stroller
Buckingham Palace: Stroller
Westminster Abbey: Stroller
Time Outs: Activities to do with kids in London