A Cheeky Chocolatey Weekend in London

The day started out well – well, as much as it can when you wake up and realise you are another year older, which contrary to the children’s excitement at being a year older, does not feel like a good thing. In my twenties I was always hankering to be thirty, it sounded like a proper grown-up age, I’d be able to cope with anything once I was thirty, I thought. I was happy with my age for a few years, but now I’m thirty-seven, I’m back to hankering to be thirty again!

Hubby and the girls spoilt me with tea and gifts in bed and then it was off to London for a weekend we had been waiting for…last year Father Christmas rewarded us for another year of hard work with a gift-certificate for a family weekend trip to the big city. FC has a tradition of doing this for us, we’ve been everywhere from Harry Potter’s studio tour right through to Paris thanks to the big man with the long white beard. It’s certainly proving to be a great incentive to staying on his ‘nice’ list each year!

Unfortunately it was raining and we fell at the first hurdle when the taxi didn’t turn up to take us to the station. Rescued by a our wonderful neighbour we made it though, and despite forgetting the packed lunch we had made for the journey we were in fine fettle playing eye-spy on the train. My favourite ‘spy’ was a rather entertaining ‘W’ for wig, but we’ll say no more about that Sir.

The rain stopped and the first port of call for our cheeky chocolatey weekend was One Aldwych, a very clever hotel just around the corner from Drury Lane that has coined in on its proximity to the theatre and is providing a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed Afternoon Tea.

The hotel itself is very modern, and the girls seemed about the right age to be making a ‘posh’ afternoon tea debut, any younger and I would have felt a bit nervous in the surroundings of so much beautiful glass and so many polished surfaces to be honest. This is a great place for a ladies night/hen party too, there were lots of groups of women dressed in their finery for a special day.

Joined by our friends, ‘tea’ began by heading straight for the cocktails, and one in question was top of the agenda – Smoking Cocktail Charlie. It lived up to its strong name, and the girls even had an alcohol free version (which in truth was actually a bit too sour for them so they moved onto lemonade once they had enjoyed playing with the smoking pots) and we moved onto some bubbles soon after too :o)

Smoking Cocktail Charlie, ONe Aldwych, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Smoking Cocktail Charlie

The food is a feast for the eyes and senses, a special (and cheaper) menu was produced for the savoury part of tea for the girls (if you can call jam sandwiches savoury…there were ham, cheese, egg and chicken sandwiches on request for them too though thank goodness), we had a fine mix of sandwiches and savoury pastries, topped up to our heart’s content.

The savoury course was followed by the sweet main event; scones, chocolate madeleines, blueberry brioche, various compotes and a selection of beautiful sweet novelty treats including a mango cheesecake styled as a Creme Egg and candyfloss of a secret flavour variety (we had to guess, and it was amazing once we did), all washed down with a selection of hot teas for the adults and hot chocolates for the girls – in the words of Roald Dahl, it was scrummydiddlyumptious!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea, One Aldwych, London

Guess the flavour of the candyfloss – it’s not what you think!

After tea there was time for a mooch around Covent Garden to watch a bit of street theatre and gaze in shop windows before the main event of the day, you guessed it, we were off to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the musical.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea, Drury Lane Theatre, One Aldwych, London

Let the show begin…

The show was incredible, from the performers to the set, the script to the music, every part had been thought through carefully so that the audience couldn’t get bored for a second. Our seats were in the Grand Circle, row E, and the views were great, and when the tall man in the row in front switched seats we just got a cushion for our pocket-rocket Amelia and all was well again.

I won’t ruin any surprises for anyone who might be planning a trip to see Charlie, only to say that it kept closely to the film we all know and love (the 1971 Gene Wilder version of course) whilst adding its own charm. The actors were fabulous, Willy Wonka was outstanding, Charlie was a gorgeous little Scottish boy who was so endearing, and all the characters were mesmerizing.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea, Willy Wonka, Theatre Royal Drur Lane, One Aldwych, London

After a very exciting day out we all said we would happily see the show again if we ever had the chance. We all loved the tea too, it was a great novelty, and definitely a one-off treat, but walking past a steak restaurant on the way home I think there was one of us who could have eaten something a bit more manly that day…luckily we had a little midnight feast planned…;o)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea, Willy Wonka, Theatre Royal Drur Lane, One Aldwych, London

Looking for another golden ticket!

Visiting the theatre with your children is a wonderful opportunity for them and a real privilege, alongside the general enjoyment there is so much to learn about the acting, musical score, set creation, theatre history, location etc etc, but it is an expensive treat and it’s so nice when a show really pulls out the stops like Charlie did. Look out for special offers and Kids go Free to the west end tickets that come out in the summer. Tesco’s clubcard is now also linked up to Ticketmaster so you can save a huge amount and get double the amount of tickets when you exchange your points.

We had a brilliant day and one that will stay with us for a long time. Thank you Father Christmas for a magical day out in London.  x

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