It does this quite a lot to me, and I have to admit to loving a trip to London.
The reason for this trip was to watch the England Lionesses in action at Wembley for their first ever competitive game at the National Stadium. Instead of just popping down for the match, I decided it would be great for the family to have a few nights staying at Wembley itself. Not something we've done for more than one night.
Could Wembley deliver more than a match day experience? The quick answer is a massive YES.
Have to admit that my wife was a bit perturbed by staying at Wembley, I think she was expecting a hotel stuck on an industrial estate, somewhere near the Stadium. Well, we were near the stadium, a stones throw, as we stayed at the Hilton Wembley. Location, tick, pool for the young one, tick, food, tick, and beers tick.
Arriving mid afternoon on a Wednesday, after a relaxing drive down to Jct 1 of the M1, and 10 mins on the North Circular etc, it really was a doddle. Parking is supplied next to the hotel. This is all a bit easy.
That evening the food on the 9th Floor was calling, or the Sky Bar, which allowed time for my wife to observe the industrial estate below. Which it isn't. The view across to Wembley Way is excellent, and I knew I had picked a good spot.
Also at Wembley is the London Designer Outlet. It has the lot. Shops & Restaurants galore, with the obligatory Wagamama, Frankie & Bennies etc. All perfect for the kids. My wife and daughter are in their element, with my brownie points stacking up.
Shopped out, we have a walk down Wembley Way, spotting the Boxpark on the left. Looks interesting from the outside, on the insdie it really is. In we went after downloading our passes, to be confronted by a large room, with a gallery around and so many food stalls, from Thai to German Doner Kebab. We were surrounded all around the edges on the ground floor, and upstairs there is another Bar, plus Pop Golf, Axe Throwing, Neon Pool and Table Tennis, plus a VR experience. Downstairs and upstairs are a plethora of benches and tables to eat and drink away at. There is loads of games scattered about like Uno, Guess Who, Jenga etc, to play with at your leisure! The place was fairly quiet at this point, so we vowed to return in the evening to see how it was at night.
P.S - It was £5 a pint or a Pitcher of 4 pint for a tenner. Rude not to have an afternoon pitcher. Bargain.
Back to the Hotel for an afternoon nap (I don't do this at work), while the girls checked out the Pool, Steam Room and Sauna. All included in the room rate.
P.S - The hotel is football themed being adjacent to Wembley, but don't let this put you off staying at this great hotel.
Being so impressed with Boxpark, we went back in the evening for food, drinks and games. It was Wednesday evening so pretty quiet, but the DJ span the tunes and it had a very friendly vibe.
Day 2 - Lets hit London Town. 15 mins on the tube from Wembley Park down to the very convenient Bond Street. The girls shoot to the shops while I soaked up the Autumn sunshine with a coffee and people watched. A top hobby of mine, I like to see what people are wearing and wonder what they are all up to.
The girls arrive back and the only shop in London central I do like to visit is Nike Town on Oxford Circus. A very cool store packed with inspiration. It always has a DJ spinning tunes too.
Back on the tube we head down to Bank Tube Station. Following FB recommendations, I had booked lunch at the Darwin Brassiere in the Walkie Talkie Tower.
Having booked, its straight past the queue and into the super fast lift up to the Sky Garden......The view says it all........ What a view.
The views are sky high, but the Restaurant price was quite reasonable to be fair. Well worth a visit if you're in town and thanks to you guys for the recommendation. After a walk around the City, it was back to Wembley, drop the shopping bags off, time for more beers and fun at the Boxpark. Being Thursday evening, which is the official start to the weekend, Boxpark was fairly busy. Music playing, we settled in for an evening of games and beers. "Are the kids allowed to stay late?" We left at 11pm, so yes.
Would we make it back for a bit of Saturday night Sauce?
I know what you are thinking. Staying at Wembley and no football yet? Its coming.
Day 3. Fully rehydrated from the night before, its time to have a walk in the City. South of the river today, landing in at London Bridge Tube Station. First up was a walk to Hays Galleria, an obligatory morning coffee and a pre Christmas Mince Pie, while soaking in the architecture.
We walked down by the river, a great place for the Tourist photo of Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast and the city on the other side. Continuing on it was snack time at Borough Market, another FB recommendation and what a great place. Continuing on with the Frogson tour we took a look at the Golden Hind Replica, Globe Theatre, Tate Modern and a walk across Millennium Bridge back to the City.
Next on the list was St Pauls, but we declined the entrance fee of £20 per adult. Pretty sure it used to be free! London is ever changing but you can still find the small alleyways, which you would probably not lurk about round in the dark. Images of Jack the Ripper and Lock Stock spring to mind. Love the fact that these places can still be found in the heart of the City.
With lunchtime looming, we headed towards the Pitcher & Piano on Cornhill. We have one of these in Nottingham in an old church, so wondered what this place used to be. An old Scottish Widows Pension Management Building was its original use. A beautiful building, yet again, very reasonable for the City of London.
Back towards the Tube and up to Covent Garden to check out some independents, plus a nosy in the coolest Apple Store in the UK. Zero purchases made.
The coolest shop of the day goes to No Chaos. A Skateboard Shop. Love popping in to see the artworks on the boards, and the owner said pop downstairs.
Christ! A mini half pipe in the centre of London. Way too cool.
Back on the Tube to Wembley Park, another well deserved coffee at Black Sheep Coffee on Wembley Way.
Reminded me of some cool coffee shop on the backstreets of Amsterdam. No, not one of those Coffee Shops.
Friday night consisted of Wagamamas, then back down to Boxpark. You may have guessed by now that Boxpark was ticking the evening box on a big scale. And on a Friday night, it was bouncing!
Day 4. It's Saturday. Football day. To be fair, it started as a very lazy day. We had done a lot to be fair and the step counter was on overload. Some Pool time, a steam and a sauna was the order of the morning. A lunchtime stroll around Wembley, avoiding Boxpark at this point as that would be dangerous pre-match. I'm with the family, not with lads.
Mid afternoon and we joined the 30'000 or so who had turned out to watch the Lionesses in action at Wembley Stadium.
A great game of football and the Lionesses continue onwards with a 4-0 victory over Northern Ireland.
So is Wembley just for Football? is the whole area around Wembley geared for Football? No, its geared towards having a good time, a hop, skip and a jump from the City itself.
Totally recommend Wembley as your host for a few days. We loved it as a family. The hotel, the area, the people we met (all friendly by the way, of every race, creed and colour, and not boxed off like our British media like to divide us all), and the location.
Loved every moment of our time.
Great read, you mentioned your trip to London when I popped in with my wife and young lad while I pestered you for camo stuff! Sounds great few days and the boxpark sounds cool only let down is Nike!? All about the /// for me trainers wise #asyouwere ✊