The fahhhbulous Ana Potter from Urban Explorer has created a hot list of great places to go in London with kids. Urban Explorer’s mission is to get kids in our cities, exploring more, enjoying more and learning more – without costing the earth. Their weekly newsletter is a treasure trove of ideas. We are rather big fans.
Now this ain’t no usual list they’ve given us. No siree. This is a list of secret places that only the FORTUNATE FABULOUS know. And without the kids knowing it – they’re educational!
1. Kids art and architecture classes at Sir John Soane’s Museum
The Sir John Soane’s Museum is a genuine treasure trove of artefacts and curiosities. Soane was the architect of the Bank of England and his former residence houses over 30,000 architectural drawings and antiquities, including works by Turner and Canaletto.
Kids classes at Sir John Soane’s museum are varied but focus on art, craft and architecture. Interesting and unique art workshops are held during holidays and half term. Class numbers are small and kids tour the museum for inspiration before creating their masterpieces. Kids create prints, plaster models, stained glass and dozens of other unique items. There is also a very popular Young Architects Club on weekends for 7-10 year olds and 11-14 year olds.
Sir John Soane’s Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Bloomsbury, London WC2A 2BP 0207 405 2107
2. Gardening at Chelsea Physic Garden
Founded in 1673, The Chelsea Physic Garden is London’s oldest botanic garden and has a growing collection of over 5,000 different plants. Small but perfectly formed and centrally located in Chelsea, this is a wonderful hidden gem to visit. The workshops for kids are in-depth and genuinely educational, ranging from beginners gardening to learning about mini-beasts and even chocolate workshops. The classes are nice to do together with kids as carers remain throughout and participate. Picnics on the lawn are encouraged during lunch break although the on-site cafe is delicious and highly recommended.
Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Hospital Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4HS 0207 352 5646
3. Baking at Poilâne
What began as a tiny bakery in Paris in the 1930’s has now become a worldwide sensation stocking the shelves and tables of some of the finest shops and restaurants worldwide. These famed loaves along with biscuits and a small selection of patisserie, are made daily in a tiny London outpost in Belgravia. On most weekday mornings, the bakers will take kids (over 6 years old) into the heart of the bakery to see how the bread is created from scratch, they may even get to sample some goodies fresh out of the oven. Ring the day before to check for spaces.
Poilâne 46 Elizabeth Street, Belgravia, London SW1W 9PA 0207 808 4910
4. Creative writing at the Ministry of Stories
Set up by a small group of writers including Nick Hornby, the MoS is an centre for creative writing for kids aged 8-18 years old. It is run by volunteer writers to inspire kids and help them explore their imaginations through writing and storytelling. They host regular workshops, book clubs and events including opportunities to interview locals, photograph and write articles for local papers. There is also a very well designed, very cool Monster Supplies Shop stocking an array of wonderfully disgusting items that will tempt any child in purely through irresistible curiosity – a great place to stock up for Halloween.
Ministry of Stories, 159 Hoxton Street, Shoreditch, London N1 6PJ 0207 729 4159
5. Pottery Cafe
This is a friendly shop within which lays a treasure trove of pottery waiting to be personalised and taken home to enjoy. The mugs, teapots and huge selection of items to paint make wonderful mementos as a gift for father’s day, a special friend or grandparent, and it is suitable for creative’s of any age – from teeny baby hand prints on a mug to intricate paintings.
We love that Pottery Cafe use Emma Bridgewater raw pottery pieces (the mugs are the nicest to drink from and a perfect size). Children enjoy painting, leaving their creations behind and collecting them a few weeks later all shiny and beautiful; just like from the shop, only better.
Pottery Cafe, 153 Northcote Road, Battersea, SW11 6QB (several locations) 020 7223 3388
So, now you can look like the best parent on earth, who’s the most fun and takes their kids to the BEST places. And all whilst teaching them a thing or two – thanks to the fabulous Urban Explorer. Enjoy!