We packed up again this morning - everything was dry!!  Hooray!  After breakfast, and with suitcases and carry-ons in tow, we set off walking along the canal and side streets to get to Cardiff Central Railway Station.

We weren't sure how early we needed to arrive or how long it would take to walk there, but we figured we'd grab a bite to eat near the station.  Well, there are really not a ton of food options right near the station.  We were expecting something like Chicago's Union Station - benches, food, etc.  We got there and walked to the platform to find few benches and one food stand.  We had 2 hours to kill.  Thankfully the girls had their backpacks and books to read.  At one point Chip got into a stare-down with a seagull and we spotted a baby seagull up on a roof just across from the tracks.

Just before boarding, we grabbed some sandwiches to eat on the train.  The trip was about 2 hours long and we reached speeds of 120 mph.

There were a few long tunnels as the train went under waterways and through hills.  During one of the tunnels, we started playing with reflection selfies.

We arrived at Paddington Station, grabbed some Oyster Cards (smart cards for London public transportation), and headed to our hotel.

We selected The Cleveland Hotel based on the recommendation of some friends who had stayed there last summer.  Not wanting to take a risk when trying to find a place that would sleep 5, have an ensuite bathroom, and be in a safe area near transportation, we decided to follow their advice and book our stay.  It was a wonderful place to stay and I would highly recommend it to anyone else looking for a place.  It wasn't cheap, but it was quiet, roomy, near several underground stations, near Kensington Gardens, and had a fabulously friendly and helpful staff.


We unpacked a bit, settled in, and then set out to visit the National History Museum, via the Underground, which was a treat for the girls.

We chose the Natural History Museum because it was free and we wanted a low-key activity for the afternoon of our arrival in London. We had about 2 hours to explore before it closed.

Animatronic T-Rex
Earth Hall Escalator
Tabletop of Ancient Roman Marbles
Jewel Collection on display
Giant Sequoia
A lot of birds in a tree
Dinosaur in the lobby
"Gargoyle" in the main hall/lobby
We hopped on the underground again and headed over to Earl's Court station, where we discovered the Tardis!

 We found a restaurant nearby and appreciated the activities on the kid's menu and the unique wall decor.

After dinner, we went over to Kensington Gardens to check out the Palace.


If you click on the photo above, you can hear the audio of the talking statue of Queen Victoria as she talks about herself and her statue.

Off to bed.  Tomorrow we visit the Tower of London and the Warner Brother's Studio Tour The Making of Harry Potter!
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