It was fun! Great! And something completely different, visiting a city like that with the priorities of a ten year old. ;-)
First we had Mdm. Tussauds - and yes, despite Ryanair, we made it.
We landed 15:25 in Stansted, probably at the place with the furthest walking distance to the Stansted Express station, where we watched our train leaving at 15:45. The tickets for the house of wax have been valid for 17:00, with half an hour tolerance for entry, and they close a half past six. And the next train was scheduled for 17:03. So counting started again. Three quarters until Liverpool Station, finding a place for the luggage, getting a subway ticket and a tube to Baker Street - a tight schedule.
At Mdm. Tussauds we arrived 10 minutes after five, after I've spend £ 13,- at the left-luggage office. I forgot, no lockers anymore, the luggage was even x-rayed. :-/
But we had still plenty of time. Who is Humphrey Bogart or John Wayne? "Dad, lets go to Spiderman, and look, there is Captain Jack Sparrow." As said before, different priorities. ;-)
After some fast-food in Liverpool Station and picking up our luggage again we arrived finally in our hostel, the Balham Lodge. A bit outside of the city, in the South West of London, but only a 15 minute ride and very reasonable priced. And wifi all over the building [Dad's priorities 8)].
Next morning, after a plenteous mix of English and Continental breakfast, we headed for more adventures.
The London Eye! If you are into observation wheels it is a must! And even if you are not! And it pays of to buy the tickets in advance. So we even avoided the short queues at the tickets booths. We have been extremely lucky with our tickets at all. No queues, we just walked in at every place.
After the flight with on the Millennium Wheel we took a ride with the boat down the Thames to Tower Bridge and landed at the Tower embankment. There we appraised the Crown Jewels and examined of course every cannon in the armoury in the White Tower. Next we went to the Tower Bridge and the engine rooms there. That machinery making the bride move is still a great piece of engineering art.
Knackered as we were we could only manage a walk-by visit of St. Paul's and headed back to the hostel and had a great dinner at an Indian restaurant nearby.
For Saturday I had arranged a sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus tour that brought us around the city. This gave us enough time for Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, the Horseguards and Westminster Abbey. A police operation blocking a black mini-van the and barricading of the street by armed police men and the following personal search of the occupants and their luggage was the diversion during out our ice cream break at the upper end of St. James. Not that amusing for the people of the car who have been able to continue their journey after whatever that action was. Something similar on our way down Whitehall and the blocking of Bridge Street due to a bomb alarm had already some touch of normality.
Actually there haven't been any five minutes in the city one hasn't heard sirens or has seen police cars heading high-speed down the street. It's thought-provoking.
We ended that day, after a detour at Covent Garden, with a traditional Fish and Chips take away at Fish Central.