Spend a week in London

by Heather Flett on January 27, 2008

in A Week in...,Europe,Free/Cheap,Mommy,Outside

Swinging LondonWe recently “met” Courtney from Babyccino — an excellent blog in which moms in 4 European cities hold an online conversation about life, kids, and style.

She is an American from Seattle living in London with her husband and 2 lively sons, Easton and baby Quin (near the same ages as mine!).

She shares some of her favourite mum and baby activities.

Monday: Burgers and Electric Scream
Head to “Babes ‘n Burgers” on Portobello Road for a quick lunch. They have a play area in the back for kids, and the burgers are decent!

After lunch, walk a few blocks south on Portobello Road to the Electric Cinema. They have a 3:00 screening slot set up for mums and their babies under 1-year-old. You buy a ticket, “valet” park your buggy, take your seat, and your baby sits on your lap (or the ample floor space in front of you). No worries if they scream — it’s actually called “Electric Scream” because it is to be expected! This way you can stay up-to-date on recent films, and maybe meet some other mums while you’re there. (Buy your ticket early on Monday, because it always sells out)!

Tuesday: Kid’s Zone and delicious pasta
Take your kids to the (free) National Army Museum in Chelsea. They have a Kid’s Zone for interactive learning and a play space with a forest, castle, board games, a construction corner, and a reading area. The Zone is meant for kids under 10, including a soft-play area for babies! After the museum, head to the nearby King’s Road for lunch at Carluccio’s. They have a great kid’s menu, loads of highchairs, changing tables in the bathrooms, and the food is good!

Wednesday: Trendy boutiques and butterflies
Go shopping in Primrose Hill (yes, really)! Most of the trendy boutique shops on this quintessentially hip London street have a basket of toys in the back to keep your kids entertained while you shop (or even try things on)! My kids are always amused with any toy that isn’t their own, and they can stay happy in these stores for at least 15 minutes! The following stores have a kids’ corner: Elias and Grace, Adam Simmonds (sunglasses), Pamela Shiffer, and Anna.

When your kid’s get bored with shopping, walk 5 minutes toward Regents Park and visit the Zoo. (It isn’t the best zoo in the world, but they DO have a petting farm for children, a whole exhibit dedicated to bugs, and a REALLY cool butterfly house where loads of butterflies fly around freely). My boys love the butterfly house with all the different colors and sizes of butterflies flying around and landing on their buggy!

Thursday: Farm animals and dinosaurs
Visit a city farm. (Yes, a farm right in the middle of dense London)! Put wellies and farm gear on your little ones, and bring apples and carrots to feed the animals. They have pigs, cows, horses, sheep, chickens, rabbits, ducks, etc. My favourite city farm is the Kentish Town City Farm in the heart of Camden.

In the afternoon, head to one of London’s famous (and free) museums! We have a great Natural History Museum with a T-Rex in the Dinosaurs gallery and a blue whale in the Mammals gallery. The science museum is also great. They have a “launch pad” and a “garden” with hands-on exhibits in the basement for younger kids.

Friday: Music class and a pirate ship
Attend a “Monkey Music” class! This is by far my favourite class for babies and toddlers. It isn’t overly commercialized and cheesy, and their venues are usually in beautiful, old churches or community centres. Kids sing songs, play instruments and dance. They offer classes across London and on every day of the week.

In the afternoon take your kids to a playground! (On a sunny day, London is the most amazing city — with loads of green spaces and great playgrounds). Some good ones in central London are: The pirate ship (Princess Diana memorial playground) in Kensington Gardens, the playground in the northeast corner of Regents Park, St. Luke’s park in Chelsea, and the Parliament Hill playground in Hampstead Heath. If it’s a windy day, you can always fly a kite (remember Mary Poppins?). Walk up to the top of “Kite Hill” in Hampstead Heath (where you’ll also find great views of London).

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Cheers to Courtney for sharing her fun activities with us. It makes me wish I could jump on a 10 hour Virgin Atlantic flight with my baby for a playdate and enjoy the charm of London right now.

More fun things to do with babies in London from my friend Val: A week in Hampstead.

And go visit Courtney and her friends at BabyCCINOblog.com/ and let’s keep our fingers crossed we can hear about some of the best activities in Paris, Amsterdam, and Milan in the future!

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.

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