Eckington Gardens and the London Eye – 06/04/17



I’m starting to repeat myself. It’s inevitable at my age, but also when you’ve been blogging for almost six years. Both the places we’ve visited today have featured before, in 2011 and 2013 but they can take a revisiting. Especially Eckington Gardens, which I didn’t even name all those years ago. So that’s where we started off today.

Well, actually we started off in Highams Park, catching the train to Walthamstow Central and changing onto the Victoria Line to Highbury & Islington. I mention all this only because Reuben planned it and I’m really quite pleased with how my proto-tube geek is coming along. It wasn’t the ideal route to New Cross Gate but it wasn’t bad at all. And he wasn’t the one who got confused about platforms at H&I like I did. In the cold light of day, it seems obvious that Platform 1 and Platform 2 are in different directions, even though they both seem to serve the same routes. But it was a bit confusing and we ran down one set of steps and back up again before we figured out where we were meant to be.


But we got to New Cross Gate, which seemed to be twice the size that it used to be, and found a far less ambiguous sign. Want Central London? Same direction as Sainsburys. Obviously.


It was a beautiful sunny day and we spent the next few hours hanging out at our friend’s flat but also in the park. The yellow slide of death seems a lot less scary when you have an almost 8-year-old rather than a 2-year-old: Didn’t stop him trying to jangle my nerves by fashioning a pair of wings out of some cardboard he found lying around. He didn’t fly, but not for lack of trying.


Eva spent her time chucking gravel down the slide and at one point deposited a small piece of green glass in my hand, telling me she’d found something beautiful. These kids keep you guessing, don’t they? And then on to the London Eye.

le11   This part of the trip was entirely the kids’ idea. When I’d asked them what they wanted to do on a sunny, free Thursday Reuben came up with “the London Eye” and Eva enthusiastically joined in. Now, it’s not my idea of fun. I don’t like heights and a glass capsule on a hot day, crowded with tourists seems like an unpleasant thought. Plus, it cost a lot. But then I cashed in some clubcard vouchers, which paid for a fair chunk of it. And we were in South London anyway, so I went with it. Why not? I did book for late in the afternoon though – 5pm – so the bulk of the tourists would be gone. Any excess time we had was rapidly eaten up b y the playground anyway. le10

They also found a model of the London Eye with Easter baskets and bunnies:


And they enjoyed the 4D cinema experience that comes free with the Eye ticket. Eva jumped when the dragon came out and Reuben tried to catch the seagulls. Though it’s essentially an advert for the Eye with an extra chance to spend money on a green screen photo, it was worth going to see. The effects are pretty cool and it gets them hyped for the Eye itself.


First though, some queuing. Only about ten minutes’ worth, which I think is down to the late-afternoon lull but enough for the kids to complain about being hungry and badger me for snacks from the little kiosk that tries to sell you Coke in the middle of the queue. No opportunity is missed round here. One thing they didn’t complain about was needing the loo, as I’d made them go more than once before we got in the queue. You don’t want an emergency when you’re trapped in the capsule. Plus, check out the amazing taps with built in hand driers:



So, the Eye. It’s great for people who like views. It’s not ideal for people who don’t like heights, but I coped. My children didn’t fling themselves against the glass walls as much as my niece and nephew did the first time we ever went on it., back in 2003ish. That was nervewracking. Instead, they let me sit on the bench in the middle and gently wibble to myself while Roo kept up a running commentary about what sort of angle we were at. I calmed down by the time we got past the acute angles.


Reading my last post about the Eye, I realise I mentioned my niece and nephew before. I told you I was repeating myself. It seems that Reuben tried to grab the seagulls on the last visit too. Some things never change.

Roo remembered our last trip, with cousin Nat and he’s been with his school as well. So he was a bit blase about it all. But it was Eva’s first time since that 2013 trip when she was a babe in sling. So she was excited:



If you’re wondering about the inside out Disney dress, it’s her “SuperFast Girl” outfit. Obviously.

Of course, the main thing to do on the Eye is to take photos of the views so prepare yourselves for a whole load of them. It was a glorious day to be on there and by 5pm not too roasting. Just look how pretty it was:




And with that, we were back down to land. It may have been a pricey half hour but the kids really enjoyed it and they’re still talking about it almost a week later. So, if you’re struggling with ideas for this second week of the holidays, you can do worse than a little sky cruise…


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