Ok, so just about everything on this weekend could be bought, so the title isn’t strictly speaking true, but…..
Caity was 21 this month, and that gave us a bit of a (lovely) problem – what do you get a 21 year old these days? She’s moved in with her (also lovely) boyfriend so there aren’t really day to day things that she needs these days. Anything spotted online or whilst out shopping is easily affordable with her new job. The two things we knew she really wanted were a pug and a Fiat 500 but we weren’t about to fulfil either of those dreams either. You are only 21 once, so…. what to get?
We’re pretty keen on experiences as a family – objects break and memories can fade, but they’re always there somewhere. I’m certainly hoping for flashbacks in my old age, anyway!
Then T had an idea. What about a packaged weekend? In a city that attracts millions of visitors every year. A city with nightlife, serious landmarks, top restaurants…and all on our doorstep! A London Weekend with a smattering of luxury so that C could feel really special, that turning 21 is not just any old birthday. That she deserves to be spoilt and to feel special and also that luxury weekends are not stuffy or for us oldies.
The idea was born, it had legs, it was off and running. To London, in fact.
We have been fans of a restaurant in the West End for many years…it’s a wine bar on the ground floor with a restaurant-club below with a FABULOUS cheese trolley , bookable by members only and run by a very dear friend of ours, Jean-Yves. With the best steak and chips anywhere in the world
C had never been but has heard us talk about it for years.
So, a couple of phone calls later, and the first event was in the bag. Dinner, to be paid for afterwards. Nice and easy, apart from the bill. It’s here, but don’t tell anyone ok? It’s a secret.
Then T got to work big time, pulling together all the other elements to make this a weekend to remember. She wanted to do it all, so we needed to get them to London, not just look after them there. First Class train tickets and a 2Together railcard (so the trips to London could continue for the next year at a discount) followed, cash for cabs to the station.
But, nowhere to stay…..and then we remembered The Cavendish. We’d stayed there and been so thoroughly impressed (fabulous location for a London Weekend, wonderful staff and really nice rooms) that we thought that had to be the place. A luxury hotel where we knew Caity and Dan would be looked after perfectly but where they wouldn’t be terrified of using the wrong fork or having to buy a new wardrobe just to walk across the lobby.
Right in the heart of London’s West End it is walking distance from all that London’s theatreland has to offer but tucked just down a side street so you are sheltered from the noise. And affordable too as there are some amazing deals on their website and Facebook page.
We also threw in a trip to the Shard with Champagne for two to watch the sunset ahead of dinner. Everyone has raved about it (though we haven’t been yet) and we thought that mid June the weather might behave and provide the stunning 40 mile view they suggest is possible.
We’d mentioned this idea for a present to T’s parents and they loved it and asked if they might plan Saturday as they were stumped as to what to buy Caity but have similar views on experiences not things being the best presents. So we left it to them and they came up trumps with lunch followed by a matinee performance of The Play That Goes Wrong.
A play I can heartily recommend, particularly if you’ve ever done/seen any amateur dramatics. It’s really excellent and I would go again tomorrow if I could.
…..And that’s a rare thing to say about a play in my experience, Shakespeare aside….I mean we know what happens in Macbeth – you don’t go for the plot!
We would love to go along too, to see if the things are as much fun as we hope they’ll be, but this is about C and her man, so we’d just cramp their style. But we’re both looking forward to hearing the stories.
I guess we’re growing old!
Now all that remained was to package it all up which T did beautifully into a booklet, so each page revealed something new about the London Weekend, whether it was £20 stapled to the page (cab fares) or the Railcard, or dinner, or theatre.
Caity’s face was a picture – hopefully the London Weekend will live up to its billing – fingers crossed!
If only we could all be 21 again, huh?