The most bizarre thing was that I barely noticed the protesters - the roads had all been closed, so there were no cars anywhere in sight, and I was awestruck by the architecture, the juxtaposition of ancient stone buildings with shiny new ones with their almost daring use of colour and glass.
I fell in love with London, and over the next couple of years I spent my free time exploring all the hidden nooks, sprinting up the 317 steps of the Monument to take in the view, and running along the South Bank and through the City with a smile on my face.
Somewhere along the line the endless tube journeys, then grime, the overcrowding and the rain got to me. I forgot all about the London I had fallen in love with.
Last weekend I had the most incredible opportunity to rediscover that magic, with a mini weekend break on the South Bank for our family. I really want to pass that opportunity on to someone else, whether it'll be their first time visiting London, or a rediscovery like mine.
For your chance to WIN a free weekend break in London with your family, all you need to do is head over to my Facebook Fan Page or my website and share an embarassing parenting moment by midnight tonight! There are bonus entries for sharing the competition on twitter, facebook and your blog.
While you think about your embarassing moment, let me show you some photos of our little holiday...
We wandered across Millenium Bridge and then explored the South Bank. The kids were absolutely captivated by the street performers, especially a young dancer / gymnast called Alan M Francis, who performed a mind boggling side-flip over a line of children. The picture is of him flipping over 4 children. I've posted a You Tube video of him flipping over 10 children. Wow.
|Mads and Danger Boy on the South Bank|
|The kids amusing themselves for free for about 15 mins!!|
|Amazing side-flip over line of kids by street performer Alan Francis|
|Preschoolers captivated by this street performer's limbo|
We stayed in a studio room at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge - easily the most beautiful hotel in London. It's a purpose built hotel, lovely and spacious, with breathtaking views. I cannot tell you how incredible this place is - you have to see it for yourself.
|Running around the lobby of the stunning Park Plaza Westminster Bridge|
|Check out the view from our lift lobby!|
|Check out the view from our bedroom!|
|and the view from our living room! Wow!|
|Oh yes, and another view from our bedroom, looking over to the right|
|enjoying an excellent dinner at Yo Sushi|
|Mads trying salmon nigiri for the first time ever|
In the morning it was pouring with rain, so we sprinted the 100 metres or so to the London Aquarium. We had bought our tickets online in advance so didn't have to queue up! The kids easily spent an hour looking at the stingrays - they look a bit like that stretched-face character from Doctor Who.
I got a kick out of my ticket for the London Aquarium and am saving it for that next tantrum-filled day. I wonder who or what they'll trade my child for.
Next, we met up with Nana and Grandad for a scrummy lunch at Giraffe, and then headed on to the London Eye. Danger Boy was fascinated by this unique aquarium and by the London Eye 4D experience.
Back at the room, we did a little London-themed colouring, and got a real laugh out of London's ridiculous road markings...
|Imagine Children's Festival - cool decorations!|
|Danger Boy enjoys the Childrens Festival in his own way|
Want a magical family weekend break in London too? Make sure you enter my competition before midnight tonight!!!
Remember, you can get bonus entries just for sharing this image on your blog or on Facebook. (but tell me you've done it!).