wapping with children

We fancied a London adventure this weekend, so we hopped on a train to London Bridge (12 minutes!), and went for a wander.

It was Open House weekend, where hundreds of buildings and places open their doors to the public. When looking online at list of participating places, we found ourselves spoilt for choice and got a bit flummoxed by the options.

So, we set off with no plans save for the hope that our wander might see us stumbling upon a few extra things as part of the Open House London festivities, and we weren’t disappointed.

poppies tower of london

Our first stop was the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red poppy installation at the Tower of London.

More and more ceramic poppies are being added to the installation each day, until the number totals 888,246 – the number of British military fatalities during the war. It’s a very poignant tribute to mark the centenary, and something that I’ve been wanting to visit since it began in August.

(If you are into World War One history, another centenary commemoration well worth visiting is Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace, which is a street gallery exhibition in St James’s Park, depicting the battlefields as they are today – and it was put together by my Aunt and Uncle!).

We followed the river along to St Katherine’s Docks, which is great for a potter, with its cafes and picturesque setting.

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Continuing on towards Wapping,  there are pedestrianised stretches of the river with high walls and no cars – perfect to let toddlers loose for a run around.


We came upon the Hermitage Community Moorings , which were open for us to go down and have a look, yay!

hermitage moorings


Wondering through Wapping in search of a pub, we came across the Captain Kidd and had a drink overlooking the Thames.




At Wapping Station we hopped on a bus that would drop us directly under the Gherkin. And from there we conducted our own little walking tour of the city’s high rises – the cheese grater, the walkie talkie…and Dada’s office. All buildings that Arlo is obsessed with, but had yet to see up close.

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Then it was back over the bridge to look up at the Shard (for the millionth time) and get our train home from London Bridge station.

I really love exploring London with the children. It’s like a giant playground, there is always something interesting to see or do, and a lot of it is completely free of charge. Bar our travel and our drinks at the pub, we spent nothing on our day out, and this walking route was about as child and buggy-friendly as London goes.




  1. Hi Chloe, how do you navigate not having a buggy with Rory on your London trips? I have a 16 month old and I’m sure he’d love something like this, but I often find days out in busy locations with him to be a real stress – if he’s out of the buggy he loves it, but wants to walk in the road, or lie on the pavement, or a temper tantrum breaks out and he tries to knock himself out on something! The other day he was on his reins and made a beeline for some traffic – when I wouldn’t let him go there he got very angry and lay down on the pavement, trying to hit his forehead on it! Maybe not all toddlers are as cheeky, but I’d be too scared to take him into central London. Even if I take the buggy he gets fed up and wants to get out – I feel like I can’t keep him happy. Any tips gratefully received 🙂 (and if you have any tips on dealing with tantrums I’d love to hear those too – I feel a bit clueless about what to do when they kick off sometimes!)

    1. We did have a buggy with us! It’s out of shot as I was mainly pushing it whilst taking pics. And also Arlo was in it half the time – he doesn’t appear to have his little brother’s eagerness for walking. Everything you’ve described sounds very typical for a 16 month old. Rory is exactly the same, I read this out to Sam and we both laughed as your description of the tantrums and lying on the pavement in despair was exactly how Rory was behaving on our day in London (and how he behaves a lot of the time!) It’s just too young for them to understand that they can’t run everywhere because it’s not safe. We only let Rory walk in non-busy pedestrianised areas, and if he refuses to hold our hand then we pick him up or he goes back in the buggy (reluctantly!) It’s a phase, but it’s very normal. RE tantrums – honestly, I just ignore them/get on with things until they get over it. A lot of the time there is not much you can do to appease a tantrum, it’s just an emotion that they need to work out of their system – not a reflection on our parenting.

  2. Looks and sounds like a fab day! I remember when I used to go all out for Open House Weekend, booking things, and planning in a route to get everything done! It’s not been that way for a while, obviously, but I think there is something to be said for just wandering around London, and it’s one of the things the Thomas has been responsible for teaching me to enjoy properly again. In the final years of living in London, I’d definitely tended to become one of those “rush, rush, rush” people. Now, we sometimes travel in just to ride the transport and explore the streets!

    It’s interesting too that Arlo loves buildings so much. I was chatting to a “mum friend” last week about her older son who used to be completely obsessed with trains and transport, and this gradually grew to encompass architecture. She said he used to drag her round London just to look at the buildings. I’m just starting to see the very beginnings of this with Thomas now. As Arlo is just over a year older, sometimes I feel like your world gives me a glimpse in to what might be coming!

    1. The architecture thing started with a sudden interest in ‘things that can touch the sky’ like church steeples and the Crystal Palace antennas. Then it morphed into a HUGE love affair with the Shard (I suppose it’s because he sees it so often, London Bridge is a very well travelled station for us!) Another current obsession he has is listing all the car makes and models he can spot on the road…. sometimes I get nostalgic for the “Thomas the tank” days.

      1. Ah, car makes and models was my brother’s thing as a child! I think I’m a wee bit sick of “Thomas the tank engine” right now. It’s still pretty non-stop, along with everything about trains in general! We can’t go anywhere without pretending to be a train (“On the rails mummy” – the rails being any random bits of the path that have previously been dug up and filled in! Then we have to open our doors, and blow our whistles. And woe betide us if we come off the “rails” or try to walk in a different order to the one he puts us in – I’m always at the back!) and looking at trains. He’s obsessed with reciting train routes, watching trains, and model railways on YouTube, asking questions about how they work…. It’s endless! Much as I hate Peppa Pig, she is light relief at times!

  3. I’m amazed that you manage to get out buggy free and envy your trips into London. We live just slightly too far out to make it an easy trip and any train journey ends up stressful!
    Beautiful photos as always x

    1. Oh no, we weren’t buggy free – I’m not that mad! It’s just out of shot, hehe. I should have added the photo I took of Arlo sulking in the buggy, he didn’t want to walk anywhere!!

  4. Ah thanks, I’m pleased I’m not the only one, I find tantrums so hard as he gets so mad – the other day one happened because he wasn’t allowed to carry around a dirty nappy!! We will have to brave a London trip, and like you say, carefully pick the areas for running around. Thanks!

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