We hope to get there 2 or 3 times a year; my daughter needs to use a wheelchair so I need to book and plan well in advance. Most of London, including theatres is very accommodating, and good with Cherie, although there are many hills and big steps to try to conquer..
The Day arrives, have to be at station 30 minutes before boarding, they put the ramp on the train for us to get on, it is only 2 hours and we’re there. Journey good and soon arrive at Kings Cross, really big station although being renovated at the moment. Get off the train and make our way to the taxi rank. Everyone around us dashing and in a hurry. The taxi is trying to get through the mass of traffic with cycles ducking and diving in between. Shops going past in a blur, we are we thinking must go there. Just 20 minutes and we arrive at our hotel. We have never stayed at this one before; the concierge is waiting at the door to greet everyone. Wow, what a hotel, the receptions beautiful and when we get to our room, never seen a bed so big, this hotel even does room service, we’ll try that later.
We’ve planned 3 theatre trips this time, 2 evening shows and a matinée and a tour of Buckingham Palace staterooms.
Hit the shops bought a few more souvenirs, had to go in the massive M & M World store, it was heaving with people but still managed to buy our chocolate (and a couple of T-shirts) after all this shopping we thought we’d stop for a nice cup of tea / coffee at the Criterion restaurant, we’ve been past it many times as it’s near the Eros Statue in Piccadilly Circus.
The outside just doesn’t do it justice, go through the door and wow. It’s very elegant and beautiful inside the colouring is gold with a full size grand piano and chandeliers. We take a seat in the bar area and order our drinks, we asked if we could take photos and they said yes.
Now to Buckingham Palace, difficult as taxi drops us of at the wrong place, try to make our way through the crowds ( its changing of the guards soon so people are gathering, police are trying to move them into position ) finally make our way to the front gates we have to go in the front way because of wheelchair.The guards and police look at our tickets and let down the barriers, a golf buggy comes to pick us up and as we go through the courtyard into the quadrangle we feel like there’s thousands of eyes’ watching us, next have to be searched and given stickers and an audio guide. We go up the front steps (my daughter on stair lift) that we’ve seen the Royals use on the TV and into the Palace. Looked through the magnificent rooms and finally got to “the dress”. Kate Middleton's wedding dress. It's displayed in the big ballroom, also saw a replica of the (very big) wedding cake; once again a beautiful place to visit would like to come back next year.
'Shrek' at theTheatre Royal Drury Lane – Never been to this theatre or seen this show. Nervous, where are our seats, will it be good, will we have a good view of the stage? Yes a few rows back in stalls but great view. Show starts, never sure if you’ll like songs as haven’t heard them before, but do and lots of laughs. A few surprises in the show and really enjoy. Get our coats and quickly go to stage door, Wait patiently for cast to come out, feel awful as don’t recognize a lot of cast as not got costumes / make up on but the leads / stars come out. Get excited as they come to you. Have a little conversation with them, tell them how you enjoyed the show, have photo taken and programme signed and wait for the next one. When everyone’s left its time to get a taxi and go back to the hotel, still buzzing from a great show and talking about it until go to sleep.
Wicked Apollo Theatre, Went to see the show last year, and really enjoyed and love the songs (bought the Broadway Album) so decided to go back this year.
Know where we’re sitting (have to have access seats because of wheelchair). Seats are quite high up so it takes a while to get used to the height. Once the show starts forget about fear of heights. Once again, it’s an amazing show; the 2 leads were the same as last year and sound even better. The new cast is great too. Again we rush to the stage door and meet the cast. It’s so nice meeting and talking to the people you’ve just seen performing on stage and there all so nice and friendly.
Our last day and show of this trip. The Railway Children at Waterloo Station, a matinée. Spend the day exploring the South bank, eat fish and chips while watching The Thames River and have an ice-cream, make our way to the station but get a bit lost, find our way there in the end. Wondering what it will be like watching a play in a train station (it’s where the Eurostar Platform is – the Eurostar goes to St Pancress now). How can there be a theatre around the Platform? Get to our seats – the front row – great seats and there is the train tracks and platform in the center, with the audience seats either side. It’s smaller than the theatres we’ve been to but has about 1000 seats. It was hard to imagine how they would stage this play.
All of a sudden there were people on the platform in old-fashioned clothing; they came to talk to us. We didn’t realise they were the main characters of the cast. Then the show started it was amazing how they did it. There was a small stage that kept moving for the different scenes, and then just before the end of Act 1 the steam train came it was magnificent, we got covered in steam but loved it. Act 2 started and the sound effects and vibrating floor were great, felt like a fast train was coming. We have to admit that we love musicals but thoroughly enjoyed The Railway Children. And that was it, get bags from hotel and time for home.
Another trip done. Can’t wait for the next one.
©Lorraine M 2011