In 1975 a film was made that captured my imagination as a tot. It was Disney’s One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing and from the moment I saw it, all I wanted to do was visit the Natural History Museum in London.
While the image of that dinosaur skeleton on its unforgettable journey on the back of a truck around the countryside has stayed with me, I was actually 25 before I got to see Dippy in all its glory.
Another 19 years on and with Cyrus loving Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures on CBeebies, I wasn’t going to have him wait another 65 million years or so before I took him to my favourite free museum.
H and I booked overnight accommodation at the Mecure London Kensington which was just a stone’s throw from the Natural History Museum.
We travelled from Newcastle on Saturday morning and within four and a bit hours (including a couple of Motorway pit-stops) we had arrived by lunchtime at our location.
We were met by a very friendly and hospitable reception team, who arranged parking for £30 for the night at the hotel. Our Superior Double Room cost £250 which included breakfast and there was also a fridge full of complimentary soft drinks in our room, which was a nice touch.
As Cyrus was starting to get grouchy, we headed straight out to grab a light bite to eat at Baalbakis in Cromwell Road, Kensington. The staff were really pleasant and our order was delivered swiftly.
I can certainly recommend the falafel wrap which was delicious, H and Cyrus meanwhile indulged in a cheese omelette, fries and salad. All together with tea, the bill came in at less than £20 which was really good value.
Next stop was the Natural History Museum and despite a sudden downpour and huge queue that snaked around the grounds of the establishment, nothing was going to stop us getting inside this time.
We queued for around half an hour before we were able to enter the huge stone archway, but the museum’s architecture is a beautiful sight even on a rainy day.
Once inside, Cyrus made a beeline for his first dino encounter of the day. It wasn’t his last either. There was so much to see that we realised we probably needed a full day rather than a half day to see everything.
The whale bones in the main hall made a lasting impression with little C, as did the two Velociraptors and mighty T-Rex in the dinosaur encounter. All in all, a great day was had by all and to his delight, he came away armed with a new dino sippy cup.
Outside the museum, C spotted the Christmas carousel and couldn’t wait to get on it. As it was still raining, H and I grabbed a mulled wine and Cyrus enjoyed a chocolate brownie before having a quick photo with his first Christmas tree of the season.
Following this, we took a walk to Harrods for a spot of window shopping before letting C loose in the toy department. Our hearts melted as he fell in love with the things around him and we laughed as he really didn’t know what to pick up or point to next. We were less impressed however when he decided to have a meltdown on the way out of the department store!
Once he’d calmed down, we ended the afternoon with some chocolate ice-cream and coffee in Harvey Nichols in Kensington. Needless to say that he polished off every scoop without any help.
After a busy day, we headed to Earl’s Court for our evening meal at Orjowan Lebanese Restaurant in Kenway Road. A meal for three of us cost £130 with a bottle of decent French red wine. While a little pricey compared to our usual child-friendly establishments, the food was delicious, the waiting staff were really hospitable and the ambience was good too. Fake candles were also a great touch for that family-friendly feel.
After a great night’s sleep, we packed everything up for our trip back up north. A lovely break in a beautiful city and Cyrus didn’t have to wait as long as I did before his first dino encounter!