Unusual Things To Do In London On Mother's Day

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 47 months ago
Unusual Things To Do In London On Mother's Day

Mother's Day will soon be here again (15 March for those of you hurriedly scanning your diaries). Feel like you've done all the usual cliched stuff and are looking for more unusual Mother's Day activities in London? That's where we come in. The flowers and the card though? That's all you.

Cultural Mums

Go backstage at Royal Albert Hall

BACKSTAGE TOURS: If your mum has been to all the museums, galleries, exhibitions and theatres known to man, go a step further and take her on a tour of the parts of London which are usually off-limits to the public. Sneak backstage at the BBC, National Theatre or Royal Albert Hall.

NIGHT SAFARI: Treat her to a ticket for Natural History Museum's Night Safari, an evening event exploring the trials, tribulations and wonders of parenting in the natural world. Choose between the Chrysalis Tour or the Nymph Tour, led by museum scientists, and see behind-the-scenes specimens. £40, prebook, 16 March

HIGH FASHION: The V&A Museum’s much-awaited Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition opens the day before Mother's Day. Celebrating the extraordinary creative talent of one of the most innovative designers of recent times, the exhibition is the first and largest retrospective of McQueen’s work to be presented in Europe. From £17.50, prebooking recommended, 14 March-2 August

SPEAKEASY CINEMA: Pop Up Screens spends a weekend on Portobello Road in Notting Hill. Watch classic movies such as The Big Lebowski and Anchorman teamed up with cocktails. £22 (£14 for non-alcoholic cocktails), prebook, 13-15 March

Finish off your day with a trip to one of London's artiest bars, where you can enjoy cocktails or coffee while soaking up the culture.


Obviously, our best of London food and drink page is your first port of call when it comes to planning any sort of restaurant trip. If you seek further inspiration...

BOROUGH MARKET: Arguably the best foodie destination in London, Borough Market offers a wealth of options for lunch. Great if you're eating on the go, but seating options around the market are limited, and it's particularly busy at weekends. Alternatively, head to the produce section and pick up some ingredients to cook her a slap-up meal back at home.

FOODIE TOURS: From cupcakes and macarons to meat, the majority of London's food trends of recent years are covered by one or other of these foodie tours.

PICNIC: If you want to brave the March weather and dine alfresco, plenty of places offer ready-made hampers. Just rough it up a bit and pass it off as your own kitchen handiwork.

Crafty Mums

Last year's Classic Car Boot Sale. Photo: Londonist

FLOWER PHOTOGRAPHY: Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park run a plant photography workshop, led by local photographer Natalie Clarke.The workshop is aimed at beginners who are new to their camera. £40, prebook, 10am-1pm, 14 February

VINTAGE SHOPPING: If she loves having a good rummage round for items to use in her crafting (or simply reminiscing about yesteryear), the Classic Car Boot Sale at Southbank Centre is the place to be. 100 vintage vehicles will be on display, with the owners selling all manner of vintage clothing and homewares, records and more. Petrolheads will be content eyeing up the rare cars and there's also heritage fairground rides, street theatre and food stalls. £4, 14-15 March

IDLER ACADEMY: The Idler Academy offers a wealth of unusual courses throughout the year such as knitting (helped by gin) and calligraphy. See all of the upcoming classes, talks and workhops.

Outdoorsy mums

ANIMAL LOVERS: If she's an animal lover, visit a city farm. Many of them are free, leaving you plenty of change to treat her to a meal afterwards. Choose from Hackney, Stepney, Surrey Docks, Lee Valley (mums go free with paying kids on Mother's Day) and Crystal Palace.

CANAL CRUISE: Hidden Depths Canal Cruises offer hour-long trips in the King's Cross and Islington area, starting and finishing at Granary Square. Take a scenic tour of Regent's Canal including the 200 year old Islington Tunnel. Bring your own food and drink on board and enjoy a picnic as you mosey. £10/£8, prebook, hourly 12pm-5pm

RIVER WALK: Lace up your walking boots and take a stroll from Erith to Greenwich — look, we've planned the route for you and everything. Maybe don't mention the bit about the unsteady handrail separating you from the river when selling the idea to your mum. Find other London walk routes here, including the Capital Ring and the Jubilee Walkway.

GARDENS: Kew Gardens is the big momma when it comes to London's outdoor foliage (and International Garden Photographer of the Year is on until 6 April). For an alternative, try the rose garden in Regent's Park, the Japanese Garden in Holland Park or Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.  If the weather's against you, visit the outdoors indoors at Barbican conservatory.

Take a Hidden Depths Canal Cruise

Mums with young kids

DAYS OUT: If you're looking for a family activity but can't face the crowds of the zoo, big museums or similar, try one of these alternative family days out in London, including a trip to a windmill, or exploring some caves.

EATING OUT: Just because you're eating out with little ones, it doesn't mean that a certain chain pizza restaurant is your only option. From burgers to Mexican food, we've got child-friendly restaurants covered. Booking recommended on Mother's Day.

THEATRE: For a family theatre trip, we don't think you can beat National Theatre's Treasure Island at the moment. While kids will get engrossed in the swashbuckling story, parents will be mesmerised by the outstanding set. Age 10+. Various prices, prebook, until 8 April

The cliches

While it's nice to do unusual things, sometimes the obvious options are the best way to go.

AFTERNOON TEA: Chocolate afternoon tea, ice cream afternoon tea, musical afternoon tea, even Mad Hatter afternoon tea. London is arguably the capital of afternoon tea, but don't go for plain old vanilla when all of these unusual afternoon teas are on offer. For a little extra kick, treat her to an alcoholic afternoon tea — just pick her favourite spirit, or plump for cocktails.  Booking recommended for all.

TOURISTS: If you're keen to do the tourist hotspots, try The Shard or The Orbit for views across the capital.  If it's posh restaurants you seek, we recommend trying one of the highest restaurants in London (but book early. Now, book now).

THAMES BOAT TRIPS: City Cruises offers afternoon tea or lunch sightseeing cruises on the Thames, or you can combine a river cruise with a whirl around the London Eye.

THEATRE/MUSICALS: Take a look at fringe theatre, blockbuster musicals and comedy shows we've seen recently, or see if you can find a bargain on tickets.

The Gift

If flowers just won't cut it this year, may we point you in the direction of London's best chocolate shops (including one which inspired Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka)? London's independent bookshops offer unique options that you'll never find on Amazon; while these record shops and classical music shops must, between them, hold a gift for even the most picky of musically inclined matriarchs.

Any other events going on for Mother's Day that people need to know about? Let us know in the comments below!

Last Updated 03 March 2015