Wednesday 30th April
A typical early start in the Morrissey household, saw us up and giving Keilyn her presents, just before Alysha arrived at 08:00. Then it was a last-minute check, that everything was packed, before we set off for our trip to London.
Due to the strike by the RMT Union, much of the London Underground was closed or running at just over 50%, so we headed to Watford High Street station, to catch the 10:04 London Overground train to Euston. The train remained fairly empty until we got closer to our destination, when it began to fill up. We arrived at a rammed Euston station and, after Emma had taken Erin to the toilet and Alysha had bought a burger, we headed out into the warm morning sun.
We crossed Euston Road and headed down the A4200, passing Tavistock Square and Russell Square, until we reached Aldwych. From here we headed down Arundel Street, which brought us to the Victoria Embankment. Turning west, we followed the River Thames until we reached the Hungerford Bridge, where we used a lift up to the Golden Jubilee Bridge and crossed the river.
The Southbank was crammed with tourists and hundreds of school children, all dressed in high visibility vests, that were obviously on a school trip to the London Eye, or some other such attraction. We found some shade in the Jubilee Gardens, where we could rest and eat some lunch and feed Keilyn. Alysha disappeared off to get a chicken burger and chips, while Emma had a pulled pork burrito and I had a grilled steak burrito. When everyone was suitably fed and watered we then headed in to Sea Life London Aquarium.
Having booked our tickets online, we didn’t have to queue, so we started our exploration without waiting.
The first thing that happened was that we had a couple of photographs taken, by a man in a lifeguard uniform. One of us all smiling and another of us all pointing at a pink starfish, painted on the wall. Informing us that these could be purchased at the exit, we followed the Shark Walk path which suddenly became a glass walkway, directly above the shark tank. We all thought that this was pretty cool, especially Erin who kept pointing down at some of the sharks and rays, that were literally a couple of inches below our feet.
The path then became ‘solid’ again and we were soon in a cave-like area, with various sized tanks filled with jellyfish, flatfish, octopus and many other exotic varieties. We then entered a lift, which took us down into the Atlantic Depths, where we got to see better views of the sharks (Blacktip Reef, Bowmouth, Zebra), rays (Blue Spotted, Blonde, Cow Nosed, Eagle), turtles and many species of smaller fish.
Then we were headed to the Ray Lagoon, which is a shallow glass tank that allows you to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures.
Then we were on to the Rock Pool exhibits, with crabs, urchins, starfish and the like, which led you on to the Ocean Tunnel, where we were completely surrounded by the rays, turtles and sharks.
The tunnel brought us out in to the Pacific Wreck and on into Nemo’s Coral Caves. At this point Erin was in her element, as she knew the names of these fish; Nemo, Dory, Gill, etc.. All this time Keilyn had been watching transfixed from her buggy, having got tired of walking.
Next, we were in the Seahorse Temple, where there were many species of seahorses, seadragons and other strange and unusual creatures.
Then we met a Cuban Crocodile, in the Rainforests of the World, along with Red-Bellied Piranha, Neon Tetra, Terrapins, Red-Tailed Catfish, a Freshwater Stingray, Poison Arrow Frogs and many more.
The next location was the Antarctic and the Penguins: Ice Adventure, where Gentoo Penguins swam and played, while everyone watched.
The Shark Reef Encounter, where we had some of the best views of the sharks yet, was the end of our journey underwater. Alysha said that she could have sat there all day, watching the sharks and rays. I have to admit that I could quite happily have sat there all day, too.
Then Alysha discovered a Hurricane Booth, which she decided to take Erin in to. Well, Erin lasted until the wind speed hit 60kph (38mph), before she left the booth, while Alysha took the full 110kph (70mph). We then passed on into the shop where we got to look at the photographs, that we had had taken earlier. There were seven photographs (two 5×7, two 6×4 and three small ones to fit in a key ring and a magnet), all packaged in a spiral-bound booklet. It included a link to download the images from the website, too. This was ours for £25. And, for a further £5, we could have another six photographs (two 5×7 and four 6×4). We bought them all.
On leaving the Aquarium, we had a bit more to eat and drink, before heading back across the Golden Jubilee Bridge, onto Northumberland Avenue, Strand, Aldwych to Kingsway, while both girls slept.
With the sun still beating down, we stopped for more refreshments a t the Russell Square Cafe, where Erin and Keilyn had a good run around.
We then headed back to Euston and caught the 17:14 London Overground, back to Watford High Street. Unlike earlier in the day, this train was rammed and we had to stand all the way back.
Once we were home my mum popped in to see the birthday girl, and to have a chat, before her and Alysha headed off home for dinner. We then got the girls sorted and off to bed, which was easy as they were both exhausted from the trip.
All-in-all it was a great birthday day out, which was enjoyed by everyone.