Excellent Ideas For Things To Do In London On Mother's Day

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Excellent Ideas For Things To Do In London On Mother's Day
Visit one of London's best independent cinemas

Mother's Day will soon be here again (Sunday 22 March, for those of you hurriedly scanning your diaries). Feel like you've done all the usual clichéd stuff and are looking for more unusual, but just as special, Mother's Day activities in London? That's where we come in.

The flowers and the card though? That's all you.

Cultural Mother's Day ideas

Book your mum onto a Hidden London tour

HIDDEN LONDON: If your Mum is a regular at London's museums and galleries, why not treat her to a voyage into the London that lies behind closed doors? London Transport Museum's Hidden London tours take in disused stations, secret sites and hidden tunnels around the capital. Just a handful of people at a time can explore the lost tunnels of Euston, subterranean shelters in Clapham and even restricted filming locations for James Bond. Perfect for the Mum who has already "seen it all".

TUTANKHAMUN: If your mother is a bit of a history buff, the current Tutankhamun exhibition at Saatchi Gallery will be right up her street. It's a final chance to see 150 of the the Golden Pharoah's treasures before the return to Egypt for good. It's not cheap, but there's a lot of detail about some exquisite pieces. We'd recommend buying mum a weekday ticket if possible — it's a very popular exhibition, and things get a bit rammo at the weekend.

FASHION EXHIBITIONS: The V&A's much-anticipated Kimono exhibition is open in time for Mother's Day, looking at the historical and cultural context of the Japanese fashion garment. Elsewhere, the Fashion & Textile Museum celebrates 50 years of Designers Guild with special exhibition about the company, which was founded in Chelsea.

CINEMA: Movie-loving matriarchs are spoilt for choice in London. Try one of these amazing independent cinemas in London, for both new releases and old classics.

Finish off your day at one of London's artiest bars

UNLIKELY MUSEUMS: Eyeballs, tennis, cocktails... if a bit of quirk is right up your Mum's street, take her to one of London's lesser-known museums.

HISTORY OF THE DAY: Is your Mum more interested in the history of Mother's day, than the event itself? Then this talk on Mother's Day's portrayal over the years through advertising at the Museum of Brands is right up her street. 22 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.

Foodie Mother's Day ideas

Borough Market, a great place to grab a bite to eat on Mother's Day
The bustle of Borough Market. Photo by Borough Market - John Holdship.

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, as well as some special events for those who want to dig a little deeper. It's a great spot for eating on the go, but it doesn't open on Sundays, so you'll have to have your celebrations a day early (or late) if you're after a foodie day out. Alternatively, head to the produce section and pick up some ingredients to cook her a slap-up meal back at home.

CHOCOHOLIC HEAVEN: London's chocolate scene is as rich and indulgent as the good stuff itself. From chocolate-centric restaurants to choccie walks and talks, the capital has gone loco for coco. Check out our chocoholics' guide to London.

This is a sponsored inclusion on behalf of St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Hit the right note this Mother's Day with Cafe in the Crypt's musical afternoon tea

Forget boring old daffodils — your mum deserves something truly memorable this Mother's Day. And we reckon that this music-themed afternoon tea, served inside a stunning 18th century crypt, will do nicely. St Martin-in-the-Fields celebrates 70 years of its free lunchtime concerts with the launch of Musical Serenitea: a stunning ensemble of tuneful treats accompanied by your choice of tea or coffee, and — if you like — a cheeky glass of fizz, served inside the atmospheric crypt-turned-cafe.

Enjoy music-themed confections, including chocolate opera cake and strawberry shortbread 'pianos' alongside open sandwiches and traditional home-made scones as you admire your Grade I-listed surrounds, complete with historic tombstones and original brick-vaulted ceiling.

Musical Serenitea is available from Mother's Day, Sunday 22 March. If you've already got plans that weekend, why not book for a Monday, Wednesday or Friday and combine your feasting with a free lunchtime concert? The afternoon tea costs just per person £24.95 (or £29.95 if you go for the boozy option). What's more, your Mother's Day treat will help support homeless people in London — all Cafe in the Crypt profits support St Martin-in-the-Fields' charity work. Email café@smitf.org to book.

CHEW WITH A VIEW: Taking your Mum for a slap-up meal on Mother's Day isn't anything new, but how about treating her to a dinner at one of London's highest-up restaurants? The views from these spots are spectacular but they do get booked up months in advance - make sure to get your reservation in asap.

PICNIC: If you want to brave the March weather and dine alfresco, London is rife with top-notch picnic spots. Whether you're north, south, east, or west, a woodland wanderer or a hilltop hiker, simply bung a party size pork pie and a couple of rain jackets in your backpack and job's a good'un.

Mother's Day idea: dine with a view at one of London's tallest restaurants
Image: Aqua Shard

MOTHER'S RUIN: Don't be put off by the name, as many a mother would be delighted for an excuse to guzzle some gin (which is technically a food group, right?). London has its fair share of excellent gin and tonics, as well as dedicated gin bars. Many of these also do special talks and tastings, where you can distill your own gin-based potions.

Crafty Mother's Day ideas

CRAFTY BAR: Drink, Shop, Do in King's Cross are long-time purveyors of crafty workshops and their Mother's Day offerings are no different. They have some special events in honour of the special occasion: Mother's Day card making and a bouquet workshop. Other, paid, regular events include bookbinding, throw knitting and, if you have a particularly close relationship with your Mum, nipple-tassel making.

Outdoorsy Mother's Day ideas

Head to one of London's city farms and spend Mother's Day accompanied by furry friends
The residents at Stepney City Farm

ANIMAL LOVERS: If the main woman in your life is 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, Vauxhall, Surrey Docks, Spitalfields, Lee Valley, Kentish Town and Crystal Palace.

CANAL CRUISE: Hidden Depths Canal Cruises offer private, hour-long trips in the King's Cross and Islington area, often starting and finishing at Granary Square. The smaller of their two boats takes up to 12 people, so the entire family can get involved in the Mother's Day celebrations and take a scenic tour of Regent's Canal, including the 200 year old Islington Tunnel.

Mother's Day idea: take a walk around London - it's free, fresh and full of fun.
Walk London

TRAIL-BLAZING: Sometimes a lavish spread isn't necessary. Instead, simply grab your trusty outdoor shoes and head out on one of London's picturesque walking routes, including the seven Walk London routes which will take you between parks, palaces, landmarks, lakes and more.

GARDENS: Kew Gardens is the big momma when it comes to London's outdoor foliage. 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 which is open most Sundays (including Mothering Sunday, win).

The classic Mother's Day ideas

Treat your Mum to an indulgent afternoon tea this Mother's Day
Afternoon tea at the Ritz, if you really want to splash out.

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. London is arguably the capital of afternoon tea, but don't go for plain old vanilla when all of these glamorous afternoon teas are on offer. We've also collected the best international afternoon teas, family afternoon teas and afternoon teas near London's tourist attractions, if you want to make a dat of it. Booking recommended for all.

TOURISTS: If you're keen to do the tourist hotspots, try The Shard, The London Eye, The Orbit or Sky Garden for views across the capital. Westminster is home to a bunch of attractions such as Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Downing Street, while London's South Bank is also a sightseeing hotspot with London Aquarium, London Dungeon, Southbank Centre, Florence Nightingale Museum and the aforementioned London Eye all in the area.

Take a boat trip down the Thames this Mother's Day with City Cruises.
Photo: City Cruises

THAMES BOAT TRIPS: City Cruises offers brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner sightseeing cruises on the Thames, especially for Mother's Day.

THEATRE/MUSICALS: London's West End is buzzing with incredible stage shows — Wicked, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Matilda, the list goes on. See what's currently playing, but don't forget to check out the capital's amazing fringe theatre scene too. Take a look at what we've recently enjoyed.

Free activities for all the family on Mothering Sunday.
Ruislip beach. Photo: Matt Brown

Ideas for Mums with young kids

FREE FROLICS: If you're looking for a family activity that doesn't break the bank, try one of these free family activities in London, including a trip to feed pelicans, meeting dinosaurs and building sandcastles on a beach in the woods.

RAINY DAYS: Mother's Day is often a washout, but that doesn't mean you and the kids need to stay cooped up indoors. Head out with the family to enjoy some perfect rainy day activities.

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.

London Transport Museum: perfect for geeky, family fun on Mother's Day.
Toot toot, beep beep. Little Londonist enjoying a stint as a bus driver at London Transport Museum.

NERDINESS: At Londonist we love a good geek-out. If you and your little ones are the same, schlep along to one of the more nerdier attractions in London. Our personal favourite is the London Transport Museum. Pretending to drive tube trains never gets old.

THEATRE: For a family theatre trip, we don't think you can beat Unicorn Theatre, which is tailor-made for young theatre lovers with ever-changing stage shows for all ages. Disney's Mary Poppins is also currently playing the West End at Prince Edward Theatre, while a little further afield is Little Venice's beloved Puppet Barge Theatre.

Written by Laura Reynolds and Ruth Hargreaves.

Last Updated 06 March 2020