Fun and Functional London Souvenirs

My family and I spent 10 days in London this summer and it was an amazing experience. We have loads and loads of photos to help remember - and share - our favorite memories with friends and families. And, of course, we had to pick up a souvenir or two to add to our growing collection of fun and functional mementoes that are just beginning to chronicle our world travel adventures together.

Being that we were in London just weeks after the birth of the Prince George, I had to get a royal baby souvenir or two. But, together, we had fun picking out a few other souvenirs that meant something special to each of us. While some are fun and some are functional, all of them will help us quickly remember the special times we shared in London this past summer.

Here is a look at some of our favorite souvenirs from our trip to London - plus a few others that are on my wish list for our next trip there:

photo 1Royal Baby Souvenirs: To celebrate the birth of the Royal Baby - otherwise known as HRH Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge - I bought a commemorative mug and a package of Baby Royaltea at Pylone's in London to go with it. Of course, I couldn't resist buying a magnet, postcard and souvenir magazine, too. I guess you can say I got caught up in Royal Baby fever... You can get a look at other royal baby souvenirs we spotted in London in this photo gallery.

LS2Football Player Pizza Cutters: Everyone knows that football is the sport in London, but it's what Americans refer to as soccer. My family is full of big football/soccer fans and we got caught up in the hype even more while we were in London. So, why not indulge in a football player pizza cutter - the perfect addition to any kitchen - no matter if you call it football or soccer. You also can find the pizza cutters at Pylone's stores across London.

LS3Soccer Jerseys: Starting with my own Italian honeymoon with the man of my dreams, we began collecting soccer jerseys from teams in each of the regions we visited. That tradition has been passed down to my kids so, of course, we had to pick one (or two...) up in ode to our favorite teams. My sons proudly wore their jerseys while we were still in London and got loads of comments on their favorite teams - which helped us really feel like we were in London this summer. You can pick up jerseys at the biggest soccer store in London, Soccer Scene. Or, at any of the soccer stadiums located across London.

LS4DesignHype's London Tube Cuff: Okay. So I cheated with this one a bit. I actually bought the DesignHype London Tube Cuff while I was still in Chicago. I recently sang the praises of the Chicago Metro Cuff - and I knew I needed one to help me navigate the London Underground, too. It's a functional accessory that still makes a fierce fashion statement even now that I'm back in Chicago.

LS8London Map: My family recently started collecting maps from the cities we visit so we can frame them and hang them up in our home. They're an inexpensive (and sometimes free) souvenir that can instantly bring you back to your favorite travel cities with just one glance. It still makes me proud to really feel like I know a city and have seen so many of it's amazing sites as I mentally cross off familiar destinations and sites on our collected maps.

LS10National Portrait Gallery Postcards: My husband had read that a great way to see the National Portrait Gallery with kids is to stop in the gift store, buy a few postcards, and then try to find them in the museum. It was a great way to see the museum - and walk out with an even more meaningful souvenir, too. By the way, this museum is an absolute must-do. The portraits are nothing short of amazing and offer something (or rather someone) for everyone. Plus, like many London museums, general admission is free.

LS6London Underground Posters: The London Transport Museum has a great store packed with lots of train and travel goodies. It's perfect for any train and art lovers. Now that my kids aren't so into Thomas the Train and Chuggington any more, we were able to settle on a few London Underground posters. Our sons wanted the standard tube map, which offers a colorful mix of intersecting lines and shapes. And, my husband and I settled on one of the Poster Art 150 prints, which showcases 150 of the best tube poster designs. It was a win for all! And, of course, the museum offer a special Royal Baby commemorative print, too.

LS7The Making of Harry Potter/Warner Bros. Studio Tour London Goodies: If you are a Harry Potter fan (or the parent of two fans like me), you must go to The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. It is chock full of props, stories and activities - and you can buy butter beer, too! It was definitely the highlight of the whole trip for our boys. So, of course, we had a get a souvenir. While my husband and I hardly ever buy the souvenir photos that places sell to you, we just couldn't resist the ones of our boys "flying" on their broomsticks over the Hogwarts quidditch fields. The pictures are adorable, but the smiles on their happy faces is priceless. And, of course, we had to walk away with a wand, too.

What are some of your favorite souvenirs from your travels? What helps instantly bring you back to a certain site or spot in that urban locale? Please share your stories in the comments below.

If you liked this tale from my family's recent travels to London, you may want to check out these stories, too:

- Six ways it hit home we were in London this summer
- Photos: Royal Baby Prince George souvenirs in London
- A wish for a Wagamama restaurant to open in Chicago
Why I love the Spice Girls - and I'm not ashamed to admit it

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