In partnership with CityBase Apartments
We're proud East Midlanders (that's a region in the middle of England, for our American friends). However we find ourselves in London a lot, particularly with Tom's work as the
snake oil salesman from Pete's Dragon (he's actually the account director for a tech firm but it needed swishing up a bit) and of course our extremely important Daddy & Dad business trips with the kids.
Central London's only 55 minutes on the train from our home town. But its diverse landscape is totally different from ours and we adore its architectural extremes, transport system and parks.
One part of London that leaves us in architectural awe is Canary Wharf. Manhattan's underrated little brother. We usually speed through the middle of Canary Wharf while pretending to drive the DLR to Greenwich; glaring up at the top of the enormous buildings and counting the helicopters as we rush by. But before now we haven't actually stopped to explore.
Last Saturday Lyall and Ritchie were attending the press launch of an ingenious laser tag toy in an underground bunker just along the river from Canary Wharf. More about that next week, by the way. To make a weekend of it we looked for somewhere among the skyscrapers to stay overnight, so we could get a feel for what it might be like to live in the big city.
We've spoken before about our issues with hotels' 'family rooms' because we can never be quite sure what kind of sardine like arrangement they'll expect us to attempt to sleep in. So, this time we looked for alternative accommodation with two bedrooms and extra facilities.
Citybase apartments are promoting stylish serviced apartments within one of Canary Wharf's superstructures so we thought we'd try out a two bedroom apartment. Citybase suggested their 'Native Apartments' right in the centre of Canary Wharf, within a high-rise residential district called Millharbour.
On Saturday after the boys' toy launch in Greenwich, rather than suffer a boiling hot DLR train, we walked along the riverside from the Thames Barrier all the way along to Canary Wharf. It was an easy two hour's walk, except Daddy decided to wear his flip flops which meant stopping at a riverside London boozer for a feet break half way. Honestly you've never seen such filthy feet as Daddy's flip-flop London feet.
As we approached the Native Apartments we were totally dazzled by the size of the skyscraper (we love skyscrapers - can you tell? 😜). We all daddled with excitement about the prospect of staying over in one of the tallest, most imposing modern buildings we've ever seen... it is ENORMOUS! Take a look here - it's the building straight ahead on Streetview: https://goo.gl/maps/CSmMcwQguEo
Up on the 18th Floor, we were allocated a corner apartment with two balconies. "That's the new naughty corners sorted then!", was my first thought (Daddy speaking).
The apartment was big - well, huge compared with a family hotel room. It had a large open plan living and kitchen area with balconies off each side, a big modern family bathroom with hotel style toiletries, two comfy double bedrooms, one with an ensuite. It was immaculate; if only our house was this stylish!
Here's a slideshow of some apartment pics!
We all agreed the apartment's crowning glory was the 'big balcony'; the full width of the apartment and decked with chunky wooden flooring. Lyall and Rich spent hours sitting on the balcony floor, spotting aeroplanes, DLR trains and boats and waving at people on the ground.
Also the balcony made a great place to eat dinner (takeaway chicken) in our pants, as you'll see here! 👇🏻
Check out the view from the big balcony!
The weather was hot and sunny so in the evening before our takeaway dinner we wandered around Canary Wharf to find a pub and an ice cream.
As we looked around Canary Wharf, we realised despite the enormity of everything, Canary Wharf is actually a peaceful, well kept place. It's dotted with fountains, planters and clean pavements (something Tom and I like to judge a new place on). The roads were very quiet. I expect it's bustling during the week but at weekends it's a very pleasant place with a similar vibe (for lack of a better word - can't believe I said vibe) to Geneva or Zurich - two of our favourite cities.
Wandering alongside the marina, we came across a lovely All Bar One restaurant with a terrace so we sat for an hour and proverbially ticked ice cream and beer off our to-do list. Yum.
Here's some pics of our wander and icecreams.
Back at our skyscraper, we discovered there's a secret rooftop garden up on the 15th floor, in between two skyscrapers. It's a pretty space with plants, trees and flowers and another fantastic view. Lyall and Rich sat and chatted for half an hour in the roof garden (without a single poke or punch, I might add - that's unheard of).
In the evening, the boys watched a movie on the telly while Tom and I enjoyed a glass of champagne together on the big balcony; a private moment we wouldn't get in a hotel with the kids.
Once Sherlock Gnomes had finished (surprisingly excellent film) the boys had a nice deep bath and went off to bed - in Lyall's own words "This is like the big double bed at Grandma and Grandpa's house" clearly getting the thumbs up!
After a lovely 9am lie in we had oven-baked pastries for breakfast - not strictly Slimming World friendly for Daddy but we were on holiday (any excuse!).
We felt a little guilty because the oven looked as though it had never been used before! We didn't make a mess - we promise!
In essence, I think we've stumbled onto the ultimate alternative to pokey hotel rooms. Citybase apartments are a little more expensive than a hotel (two bedroom apartments start at around £175) but the location, extra space, the two bedrooms, the kitchen, the privacy and the view are, well, AMAZING for a family with kids.
Coming up next week... Lyall and Rich's LazerMAD experience!! You'll love this one!
Here at Daddy & Dad we supplement our adoption content by collaborating with family-friendly brands and businesses. We were lucky enough to receive the accomodation featured on this blog post for free in return for an impartial review on our blog. We'd like to say a huge thank you to Grace from Silverdoor and Freya from Citybase who assisted us with our stay. Thanks - Jamie & Tom Xx