Byron for proper hamburgers

It’s not easy to find good hamburgers in London. Unless you go to Byron.

Byron is a proper hamburger joint, hoping to ‘do a simple thing, and do it properly’. They source good meat from Scotland, mince it fresh every day, and then cook it medium so it’s pink and juicy. They then place it in a soft, squishy bun with minimum fuss and fanfare, and ‘serve it with a smile’. I love that.  They also serve great milkshakes, good French fries and other sides, and have a kids menu.  Byron now has several locations across London, so check their site to see which one is nearest to you.

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Bugs, Frogs and Fish at the London Zoo…Primrose Bakery — our favourite cupcakes in LondonThe London High Street

The London Eye

We took the kids to the London Eye a few weeks ago and it was a huge hit! It’s funny how sometimes these really ‘touristy’ things are actually quite nice to do (I feel the same way about the Bus Tour).  Anyway, it’s a fun way to see the sprawling city (25 miles, actually), and the kids really enjoyed the ‘ride’. The queue seemed long, but it moved really quickly, and before we knew it, we were up 135 meters in the air.  It takes 30 minutes to go around, which really seemed like the perfect time to be inside a glass bubble. I really recommend the experience!

Click here for visitor information and opening times.

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London’s Transport MuseumOrangery RestaurantRossopomodoro Pizza

The British Museum

The British Museum, founded in 1753, is dedicated to the history of the world’s different cultures. The collection includes a large and impressive section devoted to ancient Egypt, and it is here where you will find the famous Rosetta Stone, treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb, a piece of the Sphinx’s nose, impressive Eqyptian sculptures, and real mummies (which never cease to impress my kids!). We also love the Medieval Europe gallery and the section for Ancient Greece and Rome. The museum is absolutely stunning and certainly worth a visit. It’s also (rather surprisingly) very geared for families with a Children’s Multimedia guide, free activity backpacks and designated family trails. There’s also the Ford Centre for young visitors on the lower floor which has feeding and changing rooms for babies.

Check out the Family Visits section of the website, which lists all the different activities available for children, as well as the Young Explorers page which has online games and other interactive and educational activities. (more…)

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London’s Transport MuseumThe London High StreetBelgo — for mussels and frites!

Rossopomodoro Pizza

Sometimes you just feel like eating pizza. So easy, so tasty, so casual… and kids always love it! Rossopomodoro is a Naples-based pizza chain with three locations in London (Chelsea, Covent Garden and Notting Hill). All their ingredients come from the Napolitan region of Campania — even the water used in their pizza dough is rumoured to come from Naples! Pretty impressive for a Pizza chain. They also have highchairs and welcome children — they’re Italian after all.

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Hope for your feet…Daylesford OrganicDaunt Books

Konditor & Cook

I tease my husband that one of his requirements when picking a new place of employment is that there is a Konditor & Cook within walking distance. (There are 6 locations in London and my husband has worked near to 3 of them.) Their wonderful cakes and pastries are his (not so secret) indulgence and I can’t blame him — I am yet to taste something that K&C has to offer which doesn’t blow me away. Every cake, muffin, croissant is melt-in-the-mouth heaven.

Konditor & Cook was started by German-born Gerhard Jenne, who studied to be a ‘Konditor’ (pastry chef) in Germany before coming here and learning to be a ‘cook’ in London. Other than tasting good, Gerhard’s cakes look the part too and can be customised for any occasion (I love these mini-wedding cakes pictured). He has even written a book on how to decorate Wacky Cakes & Kooky Cookies. Everything the team bakes or cooks uses organic free-range eggs and natural butter, and if you need your whistle wetting further you can see their menu here. (more…)

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Hanover Gate Playground in Regents Park

The Hanover Gate playground, located on the west side of Regents Park, has just recently been renovated and now includes two different play areas: a traditional playground for younger children and a new timber tree-house section for older, more adventurous kids. It’s also a great little spot to spend a sunny afternoon because it’s right next to the boating lakes and boat house where you can rent pedal boats (both family-sized and single) and float around, taking in the beauty of the park.  (The children’s boating pond is only open on the weekends and is meant for kids aged 5 and up — they have to be able to reach the pedals.) There’s also a little restaurant in the Boat House with outdoor seating facing the lake. It’s a beautiful setting, especially when the weather is cooperating. (more…)

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The London Duck Tours

london duck toursIt’s not until friends or family visit that you think to go to some of the more obvious places the Capital has to offer. I love those weekends when I become a tourist in my own home – I’m constantly surprised by how much fun some of our ‘tourist’ attractions are. Over the years we’ve built up a list of some of our favourite things to do with visitors, but since we now have kids (and so do many of our guests) we have a sure-fired winner: the London Duck Tours. A vehicle that not only travels on land but also on water – the splashdown (when you enter the water) is worth the ticket price alone!

The tour takes in some key London highlights (Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and The London Eye) but it’s the tour guides who make it (ours got the whole ‘duck’ quacking when it saw another duck – the kids were in hysterics and couldn’t stop talking about it for days)! It is cheesy but brilliant — but you have to be the sort to throw yourself into these things — not for those who embarrass easily. (more…)

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The London High StreetBlossom Mother and ChildBelgo — for mussels and frites!

Paddington Street Gardens and Playground

The playground in Paddington Street Gardens is one of my favourite in Central London.  I love that it’s tucked away off the beaten path in Marylebone, slightly hidden unless you know it’s there. It means that it never usually gets too crowded, and you get the sense that all the kids there are from the neighbourhood. The playground has been recently renovated so all the equipment is new and the grounds are well looked after. In redesigning the playground they did a good job of catering to both babies and bigger kids as they have a variety of toys to play on. Plus, I love when playgrounds are covered in that rubbery flooring — it’s nice for babies to crawl around on, and means safer falling for the older ones.  Not to mention… it’s located just off my favourite street in London — Marylebone High Street. So it’s a great spot to take a break/have lunch/let the kids run around whilst visiting the many great shops on the high street. Just turn off Marylebone High Street onto Moxon street and walk to the end (or you can access the gardens from Paddington Street.) For more details, click here.

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Inn the Park!Byron for proper hamburgersBelgo — for mussels and frites!

The Charlotte Street Hotel

charlotte street hotelMy experience with hotels in London is actually quite limited, as we’ve never actually ‘vacationed’ here.  But the Charlotte Street Hotel is one hotel we’ve become very familiar with over the years as its located literally next door to my husband’s office. It has become a go-to spot for breakfast/lunch/coffee/tea/drinks, etc., and is where many of our friends and colleagues have stayed when visiting.

The hotel is small but charming, the staff always friendly and the location could not be better — Charlotte Street is lined with one good restaurant after the other, and is located just north of Oxford Street and Soho and within walking distance to many of London’s tourist attractions. (more…)

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Inn the Park!Konditor & CookLondon’s Transport Museum

The London High Street

popFollowing on from Emilie’s recent post about places in Paris to find chic clothes at less-than-chic prices I thought I’d let you know about some of my favourite spots on a typical London High Street. Now most Mums in London will know of these national treasures but if you are visiting London they are worth checking out.

I’m a huge fan of Swedish kids clothes shop P.OP (Polarn O Pyret) which sells playful and colourful kids clothes and a small selection of maternity wear. Think lots of stripes and lots of colour. They have 4 shops in and around London (Brent Cross, Westfield, House of Fraser (Oxford Street) and Kingston) but a further 10 or so stores around the rest of the UK.

Next up: Zara Home (no, not Zara Kids): A very small selection but I love their quilts and blankets for kids and they always have a tiny rail with really sweet sleep-wear/snuggly-wear. I have had some great finds there. (more…)

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The London EyeBrunch at The WolseleyDaunt Books

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Kidsen

Hope & Greenwood

DSC_0095I used to keep a picture in the front of my diary of an old-fashioned sweet shop. You know the kind: shelves stacked with glass jars brimming with brightly-coloured sweets. The Juliette Binoche in me always quite fancied being a ‘purveyor of splendid confectionery’. However these days there would be little point in me following this dream as Hope & Greenwood do it so perfectly.

They have stores in Dulwich & Covent Garden (which would be perfect if you happen to be taking a trip to Benjamin Pollocks as per my last post), but they are also sold in some pretty lovely other places: Liberty, Selfridges, Fortum & Mason (to name but a few) and of course you can buy them online from their site. I find the Miss Hope’s Jolly Mixture a very exciting treat and the Sugar free Gummy Bears a good one to ensure the children don’t bounce off the ceiling with too much sugar! (more…)

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Daunt BooksThe British MuseumThe London High Street

Benjamin Pollocks

DSC_0080I grew up in a little farming village about 100 miles north of London and only made very rare trips to the ‘big smoke’ as a child. I remember one very special trip when my Godmother (literally one of the coolest people on the planet) brought me down for a WHOLE weekend in London for my 9th birthday. We saw a show and explored the city and I vividly remember stumbling across the most magical old-fashioned toyshop, which specialised in Toy Theatres.

Recently I had a reason to re-find that store, and the magic hasn’t left the place! Benjamin Pollocks is a delightfully old fashioned place (originally established in the 1880s) in the Covent Garden Piazza. I must warn you — it isn’t buggy friendly as you have to climb a narrow staircase to reach it and the shop is small and crammed to the rafters with toys, but worth the trip indeed. (more…)

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Daunt BooksByron for proper hamburgersBugs, Frogs and Fish at the London Zoo…

Brunch at The Wolseley

the wolseleyWhenever we have family in town visiting from America we always schedule a brunch at The Wolseley. Its location in Picadilly is perfect for tourists who want to do some sightseeing, and the grand building and beautiful setting never disappoint. Plus, if you’re a breakfast person, you’ll like the range of foods available — from the fancy (caviar omelette) to basic (crispy bacon roll), it’s all quite tasty.

Originally designed in 1921 as a prestigious car showroom, the marble flooring, grand pillars, archways and staircases make for a really impressive interior. And while the restaurant isn’t particularly kitted out for children, they do have highchairs to accommodate kids and will make sure you’re well looked after.

After brunch, you can take a stroll through Green Park, or walk down St. James’s Street to Buckingham Palace, The Mall and St. James Park for a fun little London outing.

Make sure you book in advance! (more…)

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Wahaca for kid-friendly Mexican

wahaca londonUp until recently, it was really hard to find good Mexican food in London. Then, over the past few years, a handful of small Mexican restaurants popped up across town. None of them, however, were particularly kid-friendly. And then came Wahaca.

Wahaca is a vibrant and buzzing restaurant serving freshly prepared, seasonal Mexican food.  The menu is great, the staff is friendly, and they are well-equipped to accomodate kids! (You should see their collection of brightly-coloured Stokke highchairs!)

There are three locations across London including one in Covent Garden. And they don’t take reservations, so you can pop in whenever you want (and the queue moves quickly, I promise!). (more…)

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London’s Transport MuseumHanover Gate Playground in Regents ParkByron for proper hamburgers

Blossom Mother and Child

Blossom mother and childI remember the first thing I did when I found out I was pregnant with my first baby was head to Blossom Mother and Child for some maternity jeans. Blossom’s large range of designer maternity jeans is probably the best in town, and their well-trained staff will help you find the best pair (I feel like it’s essential to try jeans on before buying them, especially because a pregnant body has a mind of its own)!

Blossom is also great for staples like maternity lingerie, nursing bras and other feeding tops (their feeding camisole is my favorite — I own three!), as well as for fancier pieces like dresses and other evening wear items.

They now have three locations in London as well as a comprehensive website.  Though I really do suggest trying on jeans before you buy… (more…)

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