With the new school year beginning we thought it would be fun to squeeze in a mini adventure and soak up the last of the summer by spending a 24 hours in London with Novotel. We were invited to stay in one of my favourite locations along the River Thames, at Novotel Blackfriars hotel, just a few minutes walk along Southbank.
When we lived in London we would spend funfilled afternoons strolling along this stretch of the city, drinking coffee outside, people watching and occasionally catching a film event at the NFT, so I was excited to explore this strip with F and show him the sights. We arrived early in the morning and were lucky to have the weather on our side, and with gorgeous sun streaming down we pulled into the drop off bay at the side of the hotel and checked in our bags. Paul went and parked the car at a handy secure overnight carpark at Waterloo station only ten minutes walk from the hotel. The foyer was very contemporary and well designed, just what I expected from a smart inner city hotel and we loved the adjoining Jamboree restaurant, celebrating flavours from around the world with fun and eclectic interior design and some fab neon signs.
With a few hours to kill before getting our room key and rumbling bellies we thought it would be a treat to head over to the OXO tower for lunch with a view, especially as Paul has never been, and also checkout the Mr Men exhibition below with an excited F only a few minutes walk from the hotel.
We enjoyed lunch as I savoured tasty scallops and F tucked into a hearty portion of fish and chips, memorised with the view of St Paul's cathedral. After we made friends with Mr Tickle – the kiddo's highlight of the day – we strolled a little further onto the outdoor book market stall under the bridge.
Southbank has really got it going on this summer with fabulous food stalls and trucks, an urban city beach by a Copa Cabana beach bar *swoon* and of course the stunning backdrop of the National Film Theatre and the pebbly banks of the Thames. We didn't make it much further along the river as F was having so much fun splashing in the fountains, watching the skateboarders and playing on the beach with other kids, all the while parents sat back sipping cold beers and cocktails in the sun loungers. In fact it almost felt as if we had been transported to a beach in Rio.
After spending hours of fun just chilling out and making no particular plans, it was great to stroll ten minutes from the vibrant strip back to our hotel. Of course we could have explored the Tate Modern, London Eye, Trafalgar Square and all the other great spots all within the short walking distance from the hotel, but there was so much going on just along Southbank that it was easy to pend time soaking it all in.
Back at the hotel we checked into our stylish room on the 8th floor and F loved the glass wall between the bathroom and bedroom where he was able to practise his 'magic' as he switched it between normal glass and opaque glass. We took a quick power nap on the comfortable bed before getting changed to meet friends.
The room had fabulous views of the city, with iconic landmarks stretching across the horizon and although it was a little on the smaller side, the design was very well thought out and had all the amenities you could need, plus the location is amazing.
In the morning we headed down to breakfast early as we had been advised it can get busy after 8am, and tucked into a hearty full english breakfast and hot croissants much to F's delight, before returning upstairs to pack and make use of the hotel pool and gym. F loved the pool and happily spent most of the morning jumping and splashing about with Paul while I used the sauna making for a happy mama.
Soon it was time to checkout, made so much quicker with their fast checkout key drop system, and we made our way across London stopping off at the Barbican before heading home. I love short stays like this as it really feels like a mini holiday and it's so much fun exploring new places with kids. A stay I would definitely recommend.
*Thanks to Novotel Blackfriars London for our review stay. All words and opinions are 100% our own.