Wheel Deal; HYWEL TREWYN AND FAMILY HEAD FOR LONDON
MOST couples would welcome a two night stay in London - but organising a family break takes a bit more doing. This was to be the first visit to England's capital by our boys - Sion, 11, and eight-year-old Dafydd - and they loved planning the itinerary thanks to brochures from the London Tourist Company.
Wanting to make the most of our stay, we caught an early Virgin Voyager train from Bangor and pulled in to Euston at 10.45am. Feeling extravagant, we'd gone first class, which meant a complementary bacon bap and Fair Trade coffee with juice for the boys.
Our accommodation, the 138-room London Bridge Hotel, is in the historic borough of Southwark near the Globe Theatre, and handily located next to an underground station.
Our L-shaped deluxe double room in the hotel - once a World War II telephone exchange - was tastefully decorated in brown and cream and had a bed for the boys and a large TV screen to keep them happy.
However, the constant humming of the hotel's generator during the night led to a complaint from friends who were coincidentally staying there at the same time.
Our first port of call was the London Eye. The boys enjoyed taking photographs of the sights from all points of the capsule, and as an attraction we thought it definitely outdid the Eiffel Tower. One tip for booking tickets though: it's well worth paying extra for fast-track boarding to avoid the long queues. If you're feeling flush, you can book your very own private capsule and champagne flights. There are also sunset and night-time trips.
We followed that by hopping on a boat off a pier nearby for a fantastic cruise of the River Thames down to Tower Bridge, with our guide Victoria providing an entertaining and informative commentary, stopping afterwards for a coffee on the Embankment before heading back to our hotel.
We dined very well at the hotel's Londinium restaurant on such delights as poached creamy salmon and dill timbale, and king scallops wrapped in Parma ham with sauteed cucumber for starters. For mains there was sea bass fillet, duck breast stuffed with apricots, and goats cheese pancake with spinach, mushrooms and fresh basil.
The food was excellent and the staff professional. …