Yes, I know I haven’t finished advent, or written much for a few weeks. I’ll do that soon… honest…
Post Christmas we’re house sitting / visiting some family in Enfield the same as we did last year, when we had A first adventure on the London Underground. Today we’ve had another go!
We started off the plan with the Victoria & Albert Childhood Museum as our destination and walked from where we’re staying to Bush Hill Overground. This station is technically step-free, but it is quite a long way (and pretty steep) to walk round the road from one platform to the other. I didn’t notice any indication of what to do to get from one platform to the other, it seemed to just assume local knowledge. We also learnt that under 11’s travel free across TfL; rather different to the under 5’s at home. I can rant for some time about London vs not London when it comes to the provision, or lack thereof, of public transport so best leave that for another time 😉
We took the overground to Cambridge Heath, knowing this was not step-free, but not the finer details. It has about three flights of ten steps, so fairly easy to pick up a pushchair and go up or down. When there’s both of us anyway. Wouldn’t have wanted to be doing that one on my own with the three wise monkeys (currently aged almost two, almost four and five and a bit) From there we walked to the V&A, which was really straightforward.
After our time there we decided to be adventurous and have a spur of the moment change of plan! Kamikaze needed a nap so the husband opted to walk to our next destination – Hamley’s – which took him about an hour and a half. For any other person it may well be nearer two hours or more. I took the older two on the underground, from Bethnal Green to Oxford Circus on the Central line. Both of these stations involve escalators and steps, but I managed fine with only the older two with me. The only slight trick is getting through the gates, because you’ve got one scan of a card with under 11’s travelling free, to get everyone through a single gate. You have to use the pushchair / luggage gate really. On the tube someone offered their seat to the two children (who just about fit on one seat), which made it rather easier too because I’m not sure they’d have coped very well standing.
From here we walked to Hamley’s and later met the husband outside. Eyes like saucers is probably the best description of the small people inside Hamley’s. Though Fuddle’s Keeper did struggle a bit with the sheer number of people in there at points.
We checked out Google’s thoughts on getting back, putting “wheelchair accessible” as one of our criteria. Google and I have widely different opinions of what this means. It suggested Oxford Circus was accessible. It is not. To be fair, the tube map doesn’t claim anything else, but for future reference, don’t trust Google! The husband carried the pushchair down a short flight of steps (15 or so?) to the main entrance point, and when asking one of the staff there about a lift he simply gave us instructions on how to take the pushchair on the escalator. He didn’t seem in any way concerned about taking a pushchair down an escalator. The husband however was definitely unsure and I got the task of pushchair control. Kamikaze thought it was amazing! No shock there. She had the widest grin she could muster all the way down! And there are two escalators to get to the Victoria line.
We got off at Tottenham Hale, which we knew from last year, and got the bus back from there.
All in all, an exciting day, and now just hoping they all go to sleep nice and early for a fully night…