Stay a Little Longer: Our 2-day Getaway to London Ontario
08 Sep 2021
Disclosure: Our food and activities were covered by Tourism London. All opinions are my own.
I have only ever driven through London to get to Michigan, or to travel to campgrounds in Southern Ontario. I’ve never actually vacationed in London… and it was time to change that.
After seeing a friend post a picture of her and her kids on a mid-week getaway in London, I thought it would be awesome to spend a couple of days in the Forest City before the girls head back to school.
Stay a Little Longer in London
Tourism London has a fantastic promotion running from July 5th to November 30th, 2021 (for arrivals between July 5th and December 31st, 2021) that entices you to stay a little longer in the Forest City for an incentive. If you book a consecutive 2-night stay at one of the participating hotels, you will receive a $100 VISA card to spend locally (geotargeted to London). Now that is pretty awesome!
How it Works
It’s quite simple: You book a minimum 2-night (consecutive) stay in London (Ontario) at one of the participating hotels using the unique promo code for each hotel, and you get the VISA card. There is no maximum hotel booking required. Some hotels offer additional incentives, which you can find at the links below.
There are many accommodation partners throughout the city for the Stay A Little Longer promotion:
Best Western London Airport Inn & Suites, Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre, Best Western Plus Stoneridge Inn & Conference Centre, Courtyard by Marriott London, Days Inn By Wyndham London, Delta Hotels by Marriott London Armouries, DoubleTree by Hilton London, Four Points London, Guest House On The Mount, Hampton Inn by Hilton London, Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Hotel Metro, Idlewyld Inn & Spa, Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre, London Extended Stay, Motel 6 London, Quality Suites London, Residence Inn by Marriott London Downtown, Staybridge Suites, The Park Hotel London, and TownePlace Suites by Marriott London.
Program Terms and Conditions can be found here.
Where We Stayed
Wendy had a busy couple of meeting-filled days scheduled at work, so she stayed home with Storm.
The Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre
While browsing through the “Stay A Little Longer” hotel options on Tourism London’s website, the girls and I were intrigued by the amazing indoor pool at the Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre, which is the same hotel our friend stayed at with her kids on their mid-week getaway. We normally wouldn’t choose a hotel based solely on the pool, but this one looked amazing! We booked our 2-night stay and looked forward to our getaway.
The Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn has 172 hotel rooms and suites, with a beautiful pool in the glass atrium between the north and south wings. It has a great location, close to the highway, restaurants, and White Oaks Mall. It’s a great hotel for family getaways, business trips, and even has the facilities to be an amazing wedding venue.
Our Two Queen Atrium View Guest Room was located on the first floor, which overlooked the beautiful pool. There is no access to the pool from your balcony, but it is a great place to sit and relax and enjoy the sounds of the waterfalls.
• Sleeps 4
• 2 Queen Beds
• 434 Sq. Ft.
• North Wing
• Atrium View
These rooms are located on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors.
• Ironing Board
• Coffee/Tea Maker
• Clock Radio With USB Ports
• Large HDTV
• Cable Television
• High-speed Internet
This has to be one of the nicest pools I have ever seen at a hotel. Located right in the middle of the hotel, the indoor pool gives you the feeling of an outdoor pool, thanks to the beautiful glass atrium.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the waterslide and hot tub were closed. Guests need to reserve a 45-minute time slot in the pool. Reservations are every hour, on the hour. Between the 45 minute mark and the hour, the pool water is tested, and surfaces around the pool are cleaned. The staff are quite organized, with reduced capacity, and extra sanitizing being done.
Overall, we are very happy to have chosen this hotel, and glad we made time to use the pool a couple of times in-between all of our activities.
The Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre is located at 591 Wellington Road, just 4kms from London’s downtown core, and 4kms from Hwy 401.
Where We Ate
London has a fantastic food scene, with many awesome ethnic options. Here are the locations we ate at:
Our first meal in London did not disappoint. When Thaifoon Restaurant says they are “proud to deliver an experience centred around welcoming service + exceptional food”, they are not kidding around! This small family-owned restaurant in the heart of the Forest City uses local produce and authentic ingredients to create a true Thai experience.
The ambience is warm and inviting, and the staff is very friendly! When we told our server we were from out of town, he gave us some suggestions of things to do and places to visit.
We started off with the Crispy Fried Wontons appetizer, which were fantastic!
For our mains, I ordered the Red Thai Curry with Beef (red curry paste, coconut milk, Kaffi lime leaf, bell pepper, onion, bamboo). Rachel ordered the Street Style Pad Thai with Shrimp (rice noodles, garlic, egg, sprouts, chives, lime, crispy onions, cilantro, scallions, roasted peanuts). Lauren ordered the Sweet & Sour Stir-Fry with Beef (wok sizzled basil, onion, mushroom, green beans, fried egg, spicy signature basil sauce). All three dishes were delicious!
Thaifoon Restaurant is located at 120 Dundas Street, in the heart of Downtown London.
168 Sushi Asian Buffet Bar
Why the name 168 Sushi? It’s because they have over 168 items on their all-you-can-eat menu, including Japanese, Thai, Korean, and Chinese items.
Ordering is done on an iPad system at your table. Dining time for AYCE is 90 minutes, which is more than enough time to enjoy a family meal. Some of the seating along the south wall is dimly lit, so if you are looking for a well-lit dining experience, best to ask for a mid-room booth.
We ordered a few of our go-to items, and a few we had never tried before.
We were delighted by taste and quality.
168 Sushi Asian Buffet Bar is located at 1130 Dearness Drive, on the south end of town near White Oaks Mall.
If you want a nice hearty breakfast, go to a diner where the tagline is “Good Food, Good Feelings”.
Lauren and I ordered the Peameal Eggs Benedict which came with toast, jam, and home fries. The eggs were perfectly poached, and the hollandaise was nice and creamy.
Rachel got the Angel’s Breakfast Poutine, consisting of home fries, mixed cheeses, gravy, strips of bacon, and hollandaise sauce. This is a big dish and is well priced for the amount of food you get. Good luck getting through it!
Angel’s Diner is located at 100 Belmont Drive Unit #1, south of the Downtown core, off Wharncliffe Road South.
It may be in a commercial area on the outskirts of town, but do not look past this hidden gem. This isn’t your average diner, though. They have classic diner menu items like burgers and fries, with a splash of Indian cuisine thrown in!
Trust me when I say this – it’s worth the drive!
Bubba’s Diner has the look and feel of an old school 50s diner, with classic black and red booths and checkerboard flooring.
The delicious milkshakes will take you back in time. We ordered vanilla, peanut butter, and mango pineapple. Yum!
We ordered crispy chicken wraps, butter chicken rice bowl, and chicken wings.
The food is fantastic, and the staff are truly happy to see you and serve you the awesome food they prepare.
Bubba’s Diner is located at 480 Sovereign Road, near Dundas Street and Veterans Memorial Pkwy.
MexiCactus Bar and Grill
When we arrived at MexiCactus Bar and Grill, we were surprised at how small the parking lot was. As I drive a bigger truck, it was very tough to find a parking spot. I ended up backing up all the way to the back of the lot, which in the dark, was quite tough. Luckily we didn’t give up and go elsewhere, as the meal we were about to enjoy would be one of the best meals of our getaway.
For appetizers, we ordered Breaded Pickles and Battered Mushrooms. They really hit the spot!
For our mains, Rachel ordered the Chimichanga with Chicken (12” tortilla wrap with onions, tomatoes, peppers, cheese, and sour cream) served with rice and refried beans. The portions here are quite large, and she could not get through more than half. However, it was packed with flavour, and she thoroughly enjoyed it.
Lauren and I both felt like having fajitas, so she ordered chicken fajitas, and I ordered steak fajitas (meat/chicken sautéed with onions and peppers), served with flour tortillas, salsa, lettuce, and a three-cheese blend. They were absolutely delicious! We also could not finish ours, so it’s a good thing our hotel room had a mini-fridge.
The girls decided to get dessert. Rachel ordered the Apple Crisp Cheesecake, and Lauren and I shared the Deluxe Brownie with Ice-Cream. Oh em gee… so good!
Overall, our experience at MexiCactus Bar and Grill exceeded expectations. If you do go, don’t be intimidated by the tight parking lot. Drive in on the right hand side and there will likely be a spot at the back. As far as the food goes, it’s authentic and tasty. You won’t be disappointed!
MexiCactus Bar and Grill is located at 1392 Trafalgar Street, just east of Highbury Avenue North. Parking is very limited.
Shelly’s Tap and Grill
As this was going to be our last meal in London, we decided to eat at Shelly’s Tap and Grill, the restaurant located within our hotel.
Entry access is through the inside of the hotel lobby, and they open at 7:00am, so you can get an early start to your day.
I ordered the Classic French Toast with a side of sausage links.
Rachel wasn’t feeling overly hungry, so she ordered a side of bacon and a side of home fries.
Lauren ordered the Homestyle Pancakes with bacon.
Shelly’s did not disappoint! It was an awesome breakfast, and a great end to our mini getaway in London.
Shelly’s Tap and Grill is located at 591 Wellington Road, in the Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre.
What We Did
There are so many family-friendly things to do in the Forest City.
Tourism London Welcome Centre
I always like to stop in at Welcome Centres. It’s a great place to look at maps of the area and ask questions from the staff. They can give you a more personal and customized answer than you would find in the reading material provided.
It was great to see that Tourism London was using solar panels to power the Welcome Centre.
Welcome Centres are also a great place to buy souvenirs. We picked up a couple of shirts for the girls, and used the Tourism London VISA card to pay for them.
The Tourism London Welcome Centre is located at 696 Wellington Road, between Commissioners Road East and Southdale Road East.
East Park truly is the place to play in London! This indoor and outdoor recreational park has an abundance of activities for every member of the family.
Did someone say bumper cars? My favourite! These are not your traditional bumper cars. These cars are completely round, which allows you to spin around in circles! You must be at least 40” tall to ride.
Looking to test your physical fitness and rock climbing skills? You can try your luck on the 40’ climbing wall, with 2000 square feet of climbing space. Comfortable clothing and proper footwear is recommended.
For kids who want to win prizes, or adults wishing to relive their younger years, there is an awesome interactive video arcade, including ticket reception games. You can redeem the tickets you win for awesome prizes at the redemption centre.
For kids under 12, there is a two-story jungle gym. Adults are allowed to follow their younger children into the climbing apparatus at their own risk.
One of our favourite outdoor activities is go-karting. The go karts at East Park did not disappoint. The girls had a blast racing around the 1800 foot race track. You must be at least 4’6” tall AND 10 years of age to drive a single go-kart. Restrictions apply.
Put me in coach! For those looking to test their batting skills, there are 4 batting cages that feature various pitching speeds, ranging from 45 miles/hour to 75 miles/hour. Only one person is allowed in the cage at a time, and helmets must be worn when batting.
The two mini golf courses at East Park are fantastic! Harry’s Goofy Golf is a traditional family-friendly mini-golf course that was built in the 1960s. The Golf Zone is a more modern and realistic mini-golf course that is kind of like putting on a real green, thanks to the sand-filled Omni Grass® carpet seamed right into the natural grass surface making the golfing experience very much like putting on a regulation golf green. It is super realistic, and a little challenging at times!
Fore! If you are looking to work on your drive, try your luck at the driving range, featuring both mat and grass tee hitting areas. Purchase tokens at the clubhouse. Purchase balls in jumbo (approx. 105 balls), large (approx. 60 balls), and small (approx. 30 balls) buckets. You can also redeem tokens at the Back Range Ball Dispensing Machine. 1 token gets you approximately 25 balls. Great value!
The waterpark has 7 waterslides (single and double tube, mat slides, and 2 speed slides), and an accessible splash pad with a big water tipping bucket. There’s also a giant wave pool with a shallow entry for a realistic beach feel.
East Park is located at 1275 Hamilton Road, just a 12 minute drive from downtown London.
White Oaks Mall
You can’t travel with two daughters right before school starts and not go shopping! It’s a good thing London has an awesome mall just south of where we stayed.
We were able to use our Tourism London VISA card to buy some toiletries from Shoppers Drug Mart, a back-to-school outfit for Lauren at American Eagle, and a Cobra Kai shot glass from Spencers for me.
White Oaks Mall is located at 1105 Wellington Road, between Bradley Avenue and Exeter Road.
Covent Garden Market
Covent Garden Market is London’s original market. This venue of commerce and community has been serving London since 1845, which is older than the City of London itself!
Not only will you find an indoor market with restaurants and unique gifts, there is also a Public Square and regular family programming (including an ice rink in the Winter), and a seasonal outdoor farmers’ Market where you will find the very best fresh produce, meats, and baked goods.
There are so many vendors selling everything from deli meats and fresh honey…
… to pastries and breads…
… to restaurants and juice bars.
The Outdoor Farmers Market runs every Thursday (Mid-June through October, 4pm to 7pm) and Saturday (April through December, 8am to 1pm). The vendors selling at this outdoor market “grow it, raise it, bake it, or make it”. Gotta love that!
The girls were happy that Tanakaya Japanese Restaurant had strawberry bubble tea, which they absolutely love! A great place to use the London Tourism VISA card!
Covent Garden Market is located at 130 King Street, in a very walkable part of downtown London. There are lots of public parking lots available.
Stay A Little Longer In London!
The girls and I had a great getaway in London and wished we could have stayed a little longer. This was a trip that was planned quickly, and with the help of the Tourism London website, we were able to take advantage of the “Stay A Little Longer” promo at the Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre and receive a $100 Tourism London VISA card to spend locally. It was a win/win, that allowed us one last getaway before school started, and another chance for us to enjoy a road trip with my girls. Next time we visit London, Wendy will be sure to join us!
Be sure to check out our London getaway Instagram stories!