Mother's Day will soon be here (Sunday 27 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? Read on.
Cultural Mother's Day ideas
CURRENT EXHIBITIONS: If your mum is fan of museums and galleries, consider taking her to one of these current exhibitions:
- BEATRIX POTTER: The V&A dedicates a show to the beloved children's author, looking at how her knowledge of science and conservation inspired and shaped characters such as Peter Rabbit and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle. Some of her drawings and photos are on display.
- STONEHENGE: An absolute blockbuster of a show at British Museum, Stonehenge is just a part of this show, which details the sweeping changes going on across Europe at the time.
- VAN GOGH: A classic for art lovers, Courtauld Gallery has a 5* exhibition dedicated to Vincent van Gogh's self portraits.
- THE REST: Take a look at our art critic's pick of the top eight exhibitions to see in March.
CINEMA: Movie-loving matriarchs are spoilt for choice in London. Try one of these amazing independent cinemas in London, for both new releases and classics.
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. Or head out of London for teapots, mini houses and dog collars.
Foodie Mother's Day ideas
Our best of London food and drink page is your first port of call when it comes to planning any sort of restaurant trip. But if you seek further inspiration...
BOROUGH MARKET: Arguably the best foodie destination in London, Borough Market offers a wealth of options for lunch. It's a great spot for eating on the go, but the street food traders don'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 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 is loco for coco. Check out our chocoholics' guide to London.
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 are spectacular but they do get booked up in advance — get your reservation in asap.
PICNIC: If you want to brave the March weather and dine al fresco, 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 RUIN: Don't be put off by the name; many a mother will be delighted for an excuse to guzzle some gin (which is technically a food group, right?). London has its fair share of dedicated gin bars. Many also do special talks and tastings, where you can distill your own gin-based potions.
Crafty Mother's Day ideas
POP-UP PAINTING: This regular painting evening pops up at venues all over town (usually venues with a bar...) offering budding painters a chance to recreate a famous artwork under the guidance of experts. All materials are provided, and there's a Monet themed Mother's Day special in Holborn. Otherwise, see what's coming up — why not book a pair of tickets so you can go along together?
CRAFT SHOPS: If mum's usually got a dozen different craft projects on the go, and juggles balls of wool, paint palettes and reams of fabric like a pro, London's best craft shops are a good bet. Take her on a crawl of a few shops (interspersed with cafe/pub stops, of course) or see if her favourite craft shop does gift vouchers.
Outdoorsy Mother's Day ideas
ANIMAL LOVERS: If the main woman in your life is an animal lover, call in at a city farm. Many are free to visit, leaving you plenty of change to treat mum 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 trips in the King's Cross and Islington area, often starting and finishing at Granary Square. Boats take 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.
TRAIL-BLAZING: Sometimes a lavish spread isn't necessary. Instead, 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, lakes and other landmarks.
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 Saturdays and Sundays (book ahead).
The classic Mother's Day ideas
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, afternoon teas with a view and afternoon teas near London's tourist attractions, if you want to make a day of it. You can even get afternoon tea delivered to your (or her) home. Booking recommended for all.
TOURISTS: 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.
THAMES BOAT TRIPS: City Cruises offers brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner sightseeing cruises on the Thames, especially for Mother's Day.
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: We can't guarantee good weather for Mother's Day, 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.
NERDINESS: At Londonist we love a good geek-out. If you and your little ones are the same, schlep along to one of the nerdier attractions in London. Our personal favourite is the London Transport Museum. Pretending to drive tube trains never gets old.
Written by Laura Reynolds and Ruth Hargreaves.