A few weekends ago (the last weekend before the girls broke up for the summer holidays), I got home from my Sunday shift at work and hubby asked me if I definitely had the following weekend off. I said that I did and he then said that I'd got plans for that weekend. "Oh, are we going somewhere?" I asked. He then told me that no, we weren't, but DD1 and I were. He'd decided that we might like a night away in London. We could either stay overnight on the Saturday or the Sunday. As he's been away for work so much in the last nine months, he'd amassed a fair amount of Hilton loyalty points and so we looked at hotel availability and it came down to a choice between the Hilton at Marble Arch on the Saturday night, or the Hilton Tower Bridge, which is the one he usually stays at as it's close to his office. We decided on Sunday night at the Tower Bridge hotel (hubby stays there so often, the staff know him and give him good service). So, the hotel was booked and hubby even pre-booked first class train tickets for us (which worked out the same price or possibly even cheaper than buying standard class tickets on the day).
What did I immediately do (other than give him a thank you kiss of course!)? Went online and checked Loop London's opening hours!
Sunday morning, DD1 and I left the house at 9.30 with our little wheelie case and off we went. Once at Liverpool Street, we left the station and walked to Moorgate tube (much quicker than getting the Circle/Hammersmith & City line one stop and then switching trains) to pick up the Northern Line northbound to Angel. Why did I want to go to Loop? Because it's the only yarn shop in the UK that stocks Brooklyn Tweed yarns. We were there more or less as the shop opened and I had a good squish (while DD1 looked a bit bored). This yarn looks very nice online and I can confirm that it looks and feels even better in Real Life. So nice, in fact, that I bought a bit more than I'd planned (but only two extra skeins):
After Loop, we took the Tube to London Bridge station, walked along Tooley Street, went through Hays Galleria and had a little wander along the river and then went to see if we could check in to the hotel (which we could - it was a Sunday; the hotel wasn't very busy). Hubby had stayed at the hotel the previous Thursday night and had confirmed that we'd be upgraded to an Executive room, which meant access to the Executive Lounge, which was very nice as well.
We took advantage of our upgrade to have tea and snacks in the Lounge before walking along the river again, seeing how much it's been developed in the 14 years since I worked in London full-time. We had pre-dinner drinks and nibbles in the Lounge and then dinner in the hotel restaurant and then I made DD1 come with me for a long-ish walk along and over Tower Bridge, along the north bank to London Bridge and then back down the south bank to the hotel. A nice break away from home - a mini-jaunt with yarn purchase as a bonus.
I took quite a few photos while I was there (some of which I've used in my 50 words photo challenge, which I'm doing again this year). Here are some of them:
|The White Tower at the Tower of London|
|New developments on the north side of the Thames|
|The Mayor's office, with The Shard behind|
|View down-river to Canary Wharf |
(I lived for a while in a warehouse conversion flat not far from that building with the blue bits on it!)
|The Tower of London from the North bank|
|St Pauls from the Executive Lounge|
|The Thames at night|
(HMS Belfast on the right; our hotel is a short walk from it)
|Tower Bridge all lit up (taken from London Bridge)|
On Monday morning, we got up, had breakfast in the Exec Lounge and then went and got our bags, dropped off the check-out slip and walked to London Bridge tube from where we got the Jubilee Line to Stratford and spent the morning at Westfield shopping centre (which I found almost too big). We spent a bit more money (including buying a pair of ceramic hair straighteners to try and tame DD1's hair - but not for everyday use, she's been warned), had some lunch and then went back to Stratford station to pick up our train home (I'd phoned hubby the night before and he'd confirmed that the train we were booked on stopped at Stratford, so we didn't have to go back to Liverpool St first). And then, after a short walk from the station, we were home again and back to reality!
All in all, a very pleasant day-and-a-bit, thanks to hubby. I think I'll keep him!
I've also worked out that 'popping' to Loop on a day when the girls are at school is very do-able (I could spend at least and hour and a half in there and make it back home on time). Might start saving my £1 and £2 coins in a jar for a future visit.