Posts Tagged ‘child friendly’

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

Created on an old railway line, the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden is a real peace haven. It’s surprisingly huge too. Half planted, half wild. A Stik mural. Calling to be explored. There is even an allotment on the side, complete with a shed AND a disco ball. Here and there are kids’ works of art. And toys – this is a family friendly place. You’ll find a café and they do bread and pizza in their clay oven each Sunday afternoon. So brilliant you’ll consider moving to this neighbourhood!

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden
Next to the Hackney Peace Carnival Mural
13 Dalston Lane
London E8 3DF

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Mind the Map

Funny how the tube map proves fascinating. Stations like stars in a galaxy, modern labyrinth of connecting lines, Harry Beck’s vision of it including a bottle shape in the heart of the network. It inspires so many artists -  remember Simon Patterson whoreinvented by thems, changing each stop name to footballers, comedians, saints, philosophes… The London Transport Museum has recently opened their Mind the map exhibition – fabulous cartography, some historical, other imaginary, some more contemporary, even created for the occasion. Quite fascinating indeed, this walk through lines coming alive, in MacDonald Gill’s universe (his Wonderground – 5th picture down – would fit into any Terry Pratchett novels),  sweet wishes of favourite places sent by internauts and projected on a Greater London map, but also through a digital dimension where you can create an emotional tube map based on your fondest memories. For lovers of beautiful graphic designs, intricate cartography and urban poets.

Mind the Map, until October 28, 2012.
The entrance to the museum costs £13.50/adult (exhibition included but allows you to come back as many times as you wish for the following 12 months.)
London Transport Museum

Covent Garden Piazza
London, WC2E 7BB

Iles aux cygnes (Swan island), Paris

An artificial island that turned into a little piece of dream. The gentle Paris, you could call it. It could have been all concrete and grey -  what can you do with 890 metres long for 11 metres large? A countryside-like promenade with a wide variety of trees, lilac and wild flowers here, branches leaning towards the water, curves wooden benches. It also hides a copy of the statue of Liberty, more reasonable in size, of course, saluting the passing boats proudly. Start at the Grenelle bridge and walk towards the Bir-Hakeim bridge for a peaceful view of the Eiffel Tower so much more beautiful than the tourists’ one…

A week-end in London: March 29-Apr. 01, 2012

Look. This is my secret weapon for challenging weeks. You know, those when files build a China wall around you. This perfect butter and honey flajack, with a layer of caramel, another of chocolate, sprinklend with hazelnuts and pistachios take all the trouble away, one bite at a time. Of course, you have used more than your calorie allowance but yes, it is that good, even if it seems simple enough. Stock on those at Prêt-à-manger. And to burn the extra energy, choose in the week-end ideas below!

That’s art baby:
* On Thursday, dress 1930ies style to see the Mondrian exhibition.
* Friday, the late evening of the V&A celebrates Persia.
* A musical sculpture in Canary Wharf? Now that will make you love modern art.

Yummy time ahead:
* A speakeasy behind a sex-shop in Soho, how intriguing!
* The food market on Southbank will be all about chocolate this week-end.
* Indulge at the chocolate lab too. They even do brunches.
* The best Sunday idea ever -  a roast with a “Make your own Bloody Mary” option. And a kids club!

Take the little ones along:
* The Harry Potter studios are opening on Saturday – magic!
* Dimanche, sortez les cerfs-volants.On Sunday, go and fly a kite.

Out of the ordinary:
* Try Kicktable - an amazing way to discover new skills or share yours.
* Revise your London ABC.
* Kensington Palace has reopened, even more magical than before.

Walking along the Thames – Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf is much more suprising than you expect. Have a look around -  plenty of fountains and modern sculptures there -  then walk along the Thames towards Tower Bridge. Ever so soothing, far from the crazy rythm of Oxford street. This will sometimes follow the river, sometimes take you to parallel streets and you will be amazed by the buildings  that used to store spices and silk and have now been renovated into offices and flats. You knew there were there but never expected so many. As in Hammersmith, there will be plenty of pubs with a view on your way. And if tiredness strikes, just jump on a Boris bike – the streets are so quiet around here and it is definitely the best place to enjoy cycling.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace reopens to the public on March 26, next Monday. 2 years of impressive work, 12 millions pounds invested. And such magic, as if you were turning the pages of the most beautiful fairytale. Wooden partitions whisper secrets, rooms open on amazing art displays, drawers reveal treasures, the imposing stone stairs are decorated with delicate miniatures worthy of the most elegant chess game, play cards will give you clues to talk to characters in costumes who in turn will reveal funny anecdotes ou moving stories about momarques of the past.

Two exhibitions can be seen – one, tiny, is dedicated to Lady Di as a fashion icon. The other is more grandiose and reveals Victoria as the strongest woman, very imvolved in politics yet romantic and touching. On May 23rd, her birthday, will open another part of the floor, focusing on her own jubilee – she was the first to celebrate 60 years on the throne. It will be quite something to compare those festivities, the souvenirs and decorations of another time.

A must-see if you are coming to London for the first time. To be rediscovered, absolutely, if you thought you knew the place quite well -  a refreshing new angle. Little ones will be as seduced by it as you will.

Kensington Palace
Kensington Garden
London W84 PX

A week-end in London: March 22-25, 2012

What sound represents spring the best to you? Birds chirping happily? I would say the ice-cream van returning to the neighbourhood. Right after school or on clue for dessert. This cheerful music that stays in you head the whole evening. Children rushing to their parents (well, the one with a wallet nearby), then to the ice-creams. Flake, sirup or both, that is the question! Kids laughing. Even if it is only 09 degrees outside. I once saw the ice-cream van serving treats as it started snowing. Spring is weather resistant my friends. Looking for ideas to put sunshine in the week-end? Scroll down!

That’s art, baby!
* Loved The King’s speech? It is now played on stage at  Wyndhams theatre. Don’t miss this!
* Try the Polaroid workshop at Rough Trade on Saturday.
* Have a look at Bernard Cohen’s futuristic art -  the level of detail is quite hypnotising.

Take the little ones along:
* Take them to the Crafty Fox Market -  there will be lovely workshops there. Lots of hints on the website.
* Passez-y! Roots & Shoots is a real piece of countriside hidden in the city – they are having an open day on Sunday, do go and discover it.

Yummy time ahead:
* On Thursday, get a free Austrian lunch on Soho Square.

Out of the ordinary:
* For 6 weeks, a free music festival settles in St Pancras. Might be worth making a detour!* Add a little touch of crazyness on Thursday and play musical bingo.
* Did you know there is a scooter club in London? 300 of those will drive through the city on Saturday, leaving from the London Eye.
* (Re)discover Wandworth. or see Spitafields a different way.
* Go treasure hunting on Saturday.
* See the city from a different angle with this tour by Occupy London.

Walking along the Thames – Hammersmith

Get out of the too touristic Southbank. On a sunny day, walk along the Thames but around the Hammersmith Bridge. You will glimpse rowing boats racing by and will fin plenty of pubs with a view (like The Dove) along the way…

Milestone hotel – afternoon tea

Or the best way to fade the rain away, even with little ones sparkling with energy.

You could not dream of a more British atmosphere – the Milestone seems right out of a novel. The salons are ever so elegant, a timeless charm, that you will just want to cuddle close to the chimney fire, pour youself a cup of tea from the silver teapot and read a Jane Austen book for the rest of the day. Through the old-style windows, you can glimpse the vibrant green trees of Hyde Park.

Children are welcome too and can order their very own afternoon tea, served on a smaller stand, each their own. Even better, they can wear apron and chef’s hat then go down to meet the cooks in the kitchens, where they will decorate cupcakes with gorgeous icing, fresh fruit, sprinkles and even help to prepare their hot chocolate. Their eyes will sparkle with pride and the treats will taste even more wonderful to them.

Indulge in the slightly smoked Russian Caravan tea, the chicken and mayonnaise sandwich enhanced with almonds, the macarons with their intense ganache, the tartlets topped with exquisite fresh fruit, the gorgeous homemade raspberry jam on warm scones. A delicious afternoon – you will wish for the rain to last just a little bit longer!

Milestone Hotel
1-2 Kensington Ct
London  W8 5DL

Afternoon tea £31.50
Ruinart champagne afternoon tea £39.50
Princess/Prince afternoon tea £12.50

Huge thanks to the Milestone Hotel team who were absolutely charming to the girls, making them feel like VIPs and to About London for this ray of sunshine.

Gail’s bakery – Exmouth street

Artisan bakery is how the chain defines itself. Oh, and what a beautiful of gorgeous breads they do. Always a lovely, very natural atmosphere, shelves piled with baguettes, sourdough, seeded  or potato and rosemary breads, beautiful crusts. Counter overloaded with savoury or sweet tartlets, pastries and spiced buns, chocolate and pistachio bites. A little further, you will find splendid organic jams in generous jars, apricot and lavender, redcurrant and rose. In some, you can sit down, relax, sigh in happiness and even lick your finger after a well-deserved treat. You’ll leave with a tigerr bread for dinnetime, which you probably will have considerably started before reaching your home.

If I were to choose just one, this would be the Exmouth Market location. Far from a touristy crowd, lounge spirit, central table for cakes which you can circle until you have made your choice, wide space between tables thought for pushchairs, bottles of tap water on the side for endless refills, smiling and fun team, thick, creamy hot chocolate made with ganache and not cacao powder. Every monday, from 16.00 to 17.00, a story teller enchants kids who can then enjoy a glass of mik and a cookie, all for free. There is even an adorable, renovated, futuristic-looking playground at the end of the street for afterwards…

33-35 Exmouth Market
London EC1R 4QL
(and many more addresses through London)


This Week End in London

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