London's Coolest Mums Reveal Their Favourite Kid-Friendly Hangouts

Alright, mums, aunties, godparents, and babysitters — this one's for you. There's no shortage of things to do in a city as sprawling and cosmopolitan as London, but when your plus-one for the day is still mastering the finer points of shoelace-tying, it's hard to know where to begin. Will little Jasper spit up in the Selfridges shoe department? Are the nudes at the Tate too racy, or just plain boring? And will you forever be known as the woman with the crying, food-throwing tot at Table 12?
We think not. So, we turned to 10 of London's coolest mums — from fashion designers to editors to beauty pros — for their top tips on the city's best kid-friendly parks, shops, museums, activities, and more. And with the kids in question ranging from still-in-diapers nuggets to young teens, you're guaranteed to stumble upon a surefire spot that's just right for the youngsters in your life. Eat your heart out, Mary Poppins.
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Lorraine Candy, editor-in-chief of Elle UK, mum to Russkaya, 10, Gracie, 9, Henry, 6, and Mabel, 22 months

"Café Med on Loudon Road in North London has a great magician called Tim; the kids love him. It’s got a fire inside for cosy winter lunches and a deck that’s the perfect suntrap for al fresco summer brunches. Art 4 Fun in West Hampstead is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon making and doing. It offers something creative for all ages, from finger-painting on t-shirts, to mug making. There’s great coffee and muffins for mums, too.

Regent's Park has so much on offer, from the London Zoo, to feeding the ducks on the pond. It’s a good way to familiarise children with lots of different animals. The Puppet Theatre Barge in Little Venice plays out all the classics, from Little Red Riding Hood to Brer Rabbit. With so many 3D and HD movie options available to children nowadays, sometimes it’s good to encourage their imagination by going back to basics.

Primrose Hill has one of the best playgrounds in London. The kids and I hike up to the top of the hill and watch the birds. Then we spend the day playing on the climbing frame and pushing each other on the swings."

Photos: Courtesy of Lorraine Candy (left) and Puppet Theatre Barge (right)
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Georgina Goodman, footwear designer, mum to Silva, 11

"When Silva was little, she just loved going to London parks. I'm a country girl at heart, so parks are an amazing source of freedom and space in the city. We live near Queens Park, but I find that nowadays it takes a little more than the promise of an ice cream to get my daughter out to the, albeit lovely, small local park. Hyde Park is our new haunt. Riding, swimming, boating...it's a little more alluring for a nearly teen. An added extra for me is the abundance of public art right there, some permanent, some pop-up. An outing can involve a proper walk, and a bit of culture. Last year we loved seeing the Anish Kapoor reflective sculptures in the park."

Photos: Courtesy Georgina Goodman
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Sofia Barattieri, CEO and founder of Motilo, mum to Ludovico, 11, Apollina, 7, and Violetta, 4

"One of our favourite places in London is Purple Dragon. There are millions of things for the kids to do and they absolutely love it. It can be hard to find activities that work for kids of different ages but Purple Dragon has everything they could want and offers a relaxing space for parents as well."

Photos: Courtesy of Motilo.com (left) and Purple Dragon (right)
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Sophy Robson, luxury nail artist, mum to Jade, 14

"I recently discovered the Sushi Samba near Liverpool Street, which is on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower. I took my daughter there for a Sunday afternoon treat and we both loved it! I think my daughter would probably prefer us to go to Nando's, so we need something with great food and a bit of excitement to compete with that. Going up in the express lift straight up to the 38th floor is fun as you can see onto the street as you go up. There is also a roof terrace (with outdoor heaters - a must) to look out over the whole of London and the views from the glass windows in the restaurant and bar are spectacular. In the bar area where we ate there is an open kitchen where Jade loved the bleached-blonde Japanese chefs preparing the sushi and making cheeky comments. The food is delicious and interesting and she now wants to come there for her birthday."

Photos: Courtesy of Sophy Robson (left) and Sushi Samba (right)
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Hannah McHalick, owner and designer of Oh Baby London, mum to Frankie, 10, and Connie, 7

"My top tip is Brick Lane on a sunny Sunday: ambling around the market, checking out the vintage shops, and visiting Oh Baby London, of course. Just behind Brick Lane is a little park that is not well known, called Allen Gardens, and right next to it is the hidden treasure that is Spitalfields City Farm. It's been a favourite of mine since my children were little babies. Perfect for a little picnic after picking up crepes for the kids, or some epanadas for me at the food stalls on Brick Lane, and it has a few super-cool kid playthings, including a zip wire (which is Frankie and Connie's favourite). Spitalfields City Farm comes complete with donkeys, sheep, chickens, etc. and a super-cool treehouse. We can spend a whole afternoon there easily. On summer Sundays from June they have a craft market, with handmade wares, BBQ, and donkey rides. Perfect."

Photos: Courtesy of Hannah McHalick (left) and Spitalfields City Farm (right)
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Lilly Keys, makeup artist, mum to Kai, 10, and Ivy, 22 months

"We live in Crouch End, North London, which is very kid-friendly. We love Little Dinosaurs at the foot of Alexandra Palace. They have a sweet little soft play area for the kids and a great food menu. It's also surrounded by woodland so it's very pretty in the summer. We also can't go wrong with the Science Museum in Kensington. My son is 10 and absolutely loves it and there's lots to do for Ivy's age, too. Another find is Make Believe Ideas Cafe in Berkhamsted. My best friend lives there with her two girls so whenever we visit we try go. It's totally geared towards young kids with a little library area, toys to play with, and a great kids menu, plus the chance to decorate your own cupcakes!"

Photos: Courtesy of Lilly Keys (left) and the Science Museum SSPL (right)
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Thais Mendes, blogger at Mama Dalston, founder of Two of Swords fashion media company, mum to Olivia, 22 months

"I live in Dalston, and I'm lucky to have a great number of options. Cafes that serve amazing coffee and sourdough bread, with vintage furniture and great music, open in the area practically every other week. None of them seem to have much space for buggies though, but people don't mind babies and toddlers. I love HER (Haggerston Espresso Room) for their pancakes and relaxed atmosphere, Fabrica584 on Kingsland Road for having the best flat white in the area (Italian owners, know their coffee), and the bakery E5 in London Fields for the most amazing bread in the world.

My daughter O is nearly two, and she's at a very messy phase: her clothes get ruined easily with tomato sauce, sand, paint, playdough, soil, etc, and she outgrows her clothes quickly. So while she lives in H&M and Gap most of the time, I do splurge on some really awesome items from Ruff & Huddle for amazing varsity and flight jackets and tie-dye t-shirts, and Mini Rodini for printed leggings found at Olive Loves Alfie in Stoke Newington.

When she was a baby, my favourite place to go was the Rio Cinema in Dalston for their baby-and-parent screenings of the latest films. Tate Modern and the Saatchi Gallery have plenty of space for running around and great art to feed adult brains as well. On Thursdays there's a mother-and-baby workout at Nike's concept shop in Shoreditch,1948, organised by the amazing Jenny from Mothers Meeting. It's free, kids are welcome, and it's a great opportunity to get in shape and meet awesome parents!

On Sundays, we generally end up at Columbia Flower Market. They always have street musicians playing great music that toddlers love to dance to, and the streets are buzzing with people buying plants and vintage furniture. There are great little shops selling hand-picked books, clothes, and toys. Arrive early though to avoid the flower-hunting crowds."

Photos: Courtesy Tara Darby via Mama Dalston (left) and Olive Loves Alfie (right)
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Alexa Till, co-founder of AlexandAlexa.com, mum to Luca, 8, and Raphael, 6

"My boys never grow tired of Richmond Park, Surrey. It is local to us, and has everything you need for a great day out. With its open grasslands, pathways, and woodland, the park is an ideal place for a wide range of activities, from picnics with the family and leisurely walks, to sports activities such as cycling, golf, horse riding, kite flying, running, football, and rugby. It is also the largest Royal Park in London and home to 650 free-roaming deer.

Our favourite playground is at Petersham Gate and places to eat nearby are either Pembroke Lodge (but more for the view over Richmond rather than the food) or the nearby Petersham Nurseries, which is worth a visit. One of the most magical places within Richmond Park is Isabella Plantation, which is an organic woodland garden and it bursts with massive mounds of azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, and magnolias. It is great for picnics, walks, and games like hide and seek."

Photos: Courtesy of AlexandAlexa.com (left) and Giles Barnard for The Royal Parks (right)
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Patricia Dente Haimes, founder of Little BU nail polish, mum to Grayson, 16 months

"I love taking my son and his friends to the Kids Zone at the National Army Museum in Chelsea. It's a tough ticket to secure, but for £2.50 an hour, I book back-to-back sessions so the little ones have the time of their lives chasing each other and bouncing off the walls in the soft play area."

Photos: Courtesy of Little BU (left) and the National Army Museum (right)
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Sophia Kokosalaki, fashion designer, mum to Stelli, 11 months

"There are so many great things to do in London with a young child. My daughter Stelli is 11 months old and so far we have tried or are about to try these activities: going to the Serpentine for a swim in the paddling pool and a play in the beautiful garden. The gallery itself. The Princess Di Memorial Fountain for barefoot paddling and to feed the ducks. Walking around Kew Gardens. The kids section of the Science Museum. The V&A for statues of naked people! Holland Park to see the peacocks. Duke of York Square to play in the fountains and get an ice cream. Marine Ices. The playground at Victoria Park. Feeding time at London Zoo. Diana Memorial Playground. A boat trip on the Serpentine or the Thames."

Photos: Courtesy of Sophia Kokosalaki (left) and the Serpentine Gallery (right)
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