15 Things To Know About City Parenting in London
5 things you love about being a parent in London.
Hyde Park has so much for a day out with kids, from the incredible Peter Pan themed playground to the Princess Diana Memorial fountain and the Serpentine. Victoria Park has a water park and an amazing playground with epic slides. Hampstead Heath for a day of picnicking and swimming and going wild.
The museums - so many, and most of them free! The Victoria & Albert is especially wonderful with kids and not as crowded as the more obvious choices.
The people - It is a total cliche but London really is a melting pot, and I love that the kids are growing up with friends from a zillion different countries, and that we have access to so many different cultures’ restaurants, shops, festivals, events and stories
The history - Everywhere you turn there’s a story, there’s so much to see and do and learn, you can feel it in the air and I love that.
The creativity - So many talented creatives live here, and are sharing their skills in all sorts of events for kids, from print-making to all day family raves to wonderful immersive museum experiences, any workshop you can imagine. London kids are so lucky to be exposed to creativity constantly, even walking down the street there’s so many great outfits and street art and interesting shops.
4 Places you love taking your kids too
The South Bank -Start at Borough Market for coffee and picnic supplies, and ogle the octopus at the amazing fishmonger stalls, the mountains of rainbow vegetables and mushrooms. Then walk down via a tour of Francis Drake’s galleon the Golden Hinde, along the river to the Tate Modern which always has new & often interactive exhibitions to explore plus old favourites. Usually a picnic on the grass outside and then on down the river via the Globe, the South Bank Centre & Royal Festival Hall. Theres always loads going on - different events, music being performed, street food, the river itself. We dip out after the Southbank Centre to avoid the touristy end with the London Eye, Aquarium etc
2. House of Vans - On the weekend they do free skateboard lessons followed by a movie, plus the fries are good. There’s a photo booth and usually a cool interactive exhibition. My kids love it.
3. Covent Garden - Kind of a tourist trap but the street performers are amazing & so engaging. The kids love just sitting and watching them for ages...plus our favourite toy shop, Benjamin Pollock’s and some free opera.
4. Granary Square - This big square up in newly developed Kings Cross boasts no cars and loads of fountains. We can spend a whole hot sunny day up here - there’s Dishoom for amazing paneer naan wraps for lunch, Waitrose to buy snacks and picnic bits, and fancy ice cream from Ruby Violet. The kids will frolic in the fountains for HOURS, and I can sunbathe with a book. There’s also the canal for a walk aand the skip garden for some veggie food in the sun.
3 things that you hate about being a parent in your city
The weather - We have some beautiful days but they are completely unpredictable, so planning is difficult. For about 9 months it is mostly cold and damp. I am a total sun worshipper so this is a pretty big deal for me.
Getting around - We are lucky to have a fabulous transport system, but it still takes a long time and a lot of train/bus/tube changes which can be a bit of a pain with kids. If you mis-time things and hit rush hour on the way home (we always do) you will end up squashed into a smelly corner of a tube carriage with exhausted kids, swearing. Add a buggy to the equation and you might feel like crying. Parking in town is often a nightmare so driving isn’t worth it.
The cost - There are so many wonderful things on our doorstep but many are prohibitively expensive - London Zoo, the theatre...
2 of your fav places to eat
Yard Sale Pizza - delicious pizza (including actually yummy gluten free options), super kid friendly, hot pink pizza oven, in our neighbourhood
Homies on Donkeys - for after school tacos, the best in London and conveniently in the same arcade as the vintage clothes, record and toy shops we love to browse
1 item that you cannot live without in your city