After we went to the Louvre in Paris I decided my kids needed a little art education. I wanted to start simple, so I bought a book called 13 Paintings Children Should Know. Three of the 13 paintings in the book are located in the National Gallery in London so during the last half-term break we took a trip to the National Gallery. Before we went I showed each of the paintings to the kids and we read about them. Unfortunately, two of the paintings were in an area of the museum that was closed on the day we went, which was really disappointing. So we found the painting that was available – The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck in the year 1434. (Van Eyck was from the Netherlands and he painted mostly in Bruges.) We looked at many of the other paintings from the 15th century and then left the museum.
We ate a packed lunch at Trafalgar Square in the warm sunshine and then walked around to see all the buskars and street performers. There wasn’t anyone too impressive, but the kids did really like these chalk drawings of flags from around the world.
After we left Trafalgar Square we walked around Chinatown and Picadilly to spot more Shaun the Sheep statues before walking to St. James’s Park.
Sometimes people seem really impressed when I talk about taking all four kids into the city, to which I always say “It’s not that hard.” I’m not sure why I say that, because it IS hard. It’s intense. I just can’t imagine NOT doing it. I can’t imagine living here and not trying really hard to fully experience it. I still don’t get out as much as I wish we did. And I still think that I romanticize our outings before-hand in a way that they never quite measure up to. They rarely go as planned and I almost always end up feeling sweaty and stressed at some point. But then when I lie under the trees in St. James’s Park on a gorgeous spring day, while Mim picks flowers, the boys play football and Simon collects sticks, I get my payout.