Tuesday 12 September 2017

Day in the life: our trip to London with London Midland #spon

Ethan finished preschool early so we could have two weeks together to enjoy the last of the summer holidays. We started our quality family time the other week with a visit to London aboard a London Midland train, who invited us to enjoy a trip way. The three of us ventured from Birmingham New Street to Watford Junction in search of the wizarding world of Harry Potter (Warner Bros. Studio Tour).

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Ethan has only been to London once before and hubs and I have only ever been to the studios once in the past, so we were all set for a couple of days of adventure - having booked an overnight stay in London to really make the most of our travels, courtesy of London Midland.

We left Birmingham on the 8.33am service on Tuesday, armed with snacks and our iPads too as we had heard all about the onboard entertainment system, Motion. It's just been updated with more content for the whole family, with titles such as Minions, Despicable Me 2, Secret Life of Pets, Thomas and Friends... and many others.

Seeing the signs for Motion, we had no sooner taken our seats than Ethan asked to "watch something!" and so our journey began. He had a look around at what Motion had to offer, watching some Peppa Pig and then enjoying a game where you play a cartoon frog and have to try and catch all the flies. Daddy quite liked that one too...!

It was a really good journey and Ethan managed to stay happy and entertained (whilst eating his way through everything we had brought with us), all the way to Watford Junction. Here, we hoped off our train, waved goodbye to the ticket man who called at us from the window, and set off to find our pick up for Harry Potter studios.

We arrived a short time later and had our photo taken in front by another helpful lady, before Ethan said "I can hear something - it's magic music!".

Now, I am the big Potterhead in the family, but Ethan has watched the first two films and hubs is on board too, so we were all excited to go on the tour. It really is a must if you are a Harry fan, or if you are into your movies like us, and it offers such a unique insight into the films. 

We wandered around, looking at all the displays, then queued to have our photos taken as wizards and then I hoped onto a broomstick and flew over Hogwarts and through the streets of London, before heading over the Quidditch pitch and celebrating like I had caught the Golden Snitch (albeit on a green screen, rather than in real life!). It was such fun, so we then had to stop for a refreshing Butterbeer before exploring the outdoor sets and the second studio. 

Ethan did really well for the most part, walking around and with so many people there too, and the rest stop gave him some more energy. We also loved the addition of the train (new since we last visited some five / six years ago) and all the added photo opportunities. We didn't have to wait too long for anything, and by the time we were on our way back to Watford Junction, we had spent a good three hours at the studio, picking up lots of photos, and a few souvenirs, along the way.

It was just a short train journey into London Euston (one stop) so we didn't really have time to watch anything on Motion, before we were in the Capital and heading for a rest at our hotel. It was nice to be away together, and we had a quiet evening, having found an area of restaurants close to Russell Square for an early bite to eat. We had a delicious meal at Las Iguanas (hubs had never been - the food was great and the cocktails even more so!) and then picked up some cheesecake to enjoy back at our room.

After a good night's sleep - little man slept through for 10 hours, and I too nodded off pretty early after a long but fun day - we had some coffee and toasties then headed for Oxford Street.

Ethan has never seen the big Disney store so we had a good look around and, as one of the staff learned of it being his first visit, a surprise was in store for him as they played music, flashed his name on the video screen and then gave him a bag filled with colouring paper, stickers and face masks. He was delighted!

We fancied doing some shopping ourselves too, so spent a couple of hours wandering around and ending up in Covent Garden, one of my favourite spots.

With our arms full and feet tired, we stopped off at our hotel to collect the rest of our things and then went to Euston to start our journey home. We were early for the train we had planned, but to our luck another London Midland service was due to leave in just 10 minutes (don't you just love it when there's an earlier train waiting for you?) so we hoped on and got ourselves settled in. 

The journey time was around 2 hours 15 minutes and it flew by. This time, whilst Ethan watched a bit of this, that and everything else, I had a look at the magazines on Motion and then enjoyed an episode of The Moaning of Life (I love Karl Pilkington) followed by The Face (never seen before, it's a modelling show with Naomi Campbell), both from Now TV and available to watch on the entertainment system. 

Did I mention, all of these shows, games and magazines are completely free? And can be watched on any device with connectivity? 

It really helped our journeys to fly by and to make travelling with our energetic, fidgety preschooler that little bit easier!

We got back into Brum for 3pm and headed home, just in time for our new TV to be delivered (hurrah, our last one stopped working so we've done without for three weeks!) and a night in, with some takeaway pizza.

It was a great couple of days, made possible, and all the more easier, by London Midland. But can you tell me, why is it that when you go away, even just for a couple of days, there's so much tidying to do when you come back?!

If you're setting out and about this summer holiday, or beyond, be sure to log in to Motion and enjoy the entertainment - from shows and films to books and games - to keep everyone happy onboard. That way, it's not just about the destination, it's about the journey too.

Here's some more information on what you can expect to find:

London Midland is the new entertainer on the scene, with Motion, their onboard entertainment service. And with the likes of Peppa Pig and The BFG for kids, and Alan Partridge and The King’s Speech for grown ups - it’s ideal for families. 

The content available has just been refreshed to include these new viewing options:

  • More TV:  E.g Bear Grylls, Humans
  • Cinema Trailer Channel
  • Bollywood Movies
  • Hollywood Movies: Mission Impossible (Rogue Nation), Dr Seuss’ The Lorax, Jack Reacher, Minions, Despicable Me 2, Fast and the Furious 7, Secret Life of Pets, Jurassic World
  • Family Entertainment: Thomas and Friends, Barbie Dreamtopia, Barbie and her sisters in a puppy chase movie, Mike the Knight, Team Hot Wheels

Visit London Midland for more information, to check train times and to book tickets online.

This post is kindly sponsored by London Midland.


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