Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview post with people who live (or have lived for a while) in London. If you fit the bill and want to be interviewed, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org. Always looking for new volunteers.
Lindsey grew up in Northern California, but moved to London after marrying a Brit. Two kids and five years later, and she’s looking at potential citizenship this summer. She is a freelance journalist lucky enough to write from home. She also has a popular blog called Urban Mums. Lindsey loves London and thinks it’s a great place to live for kids (and mums)!
LLO: Tell us a bit about your blog, Urban Mums.
LP: Urban Mums is where I catalogue my favourite London finds. My topics range, but I post about: food, activities, shopping, museums, theatre, news, travel, parks, products and whatever else I fancy.
LLO: What are the challenges you face as a mum in London?
LP: Winter! I can’t remember past winters being as difficult as the one we’ve just experienced (can we call it Spring yet?). We crave outside time, so we’re really looking forward to more sunny weather and milder temperatures.
LLO: If families come over on holiday, where would you recommend they take the kids?
LP: In the milder months, I would say enjoy the parks. Most have fabulous play equipment and in the school holidays, you can catch a Punch and Judy show at the more well-known ones. Also, the row boats in Regent’s Park are fantastic. If it’s especially warm, the courtyard in the V&A is a discreet spot to splash around too.
If it’s cold, the museums in London are amazing (and most are free!). My kids love the mammals at the Natural History Museum, the Garden and Launchpad at the Science Museum (they also have great shows throughout the day). I’ve heard the Transport Museum is great for kids, so we’re hoping to visit it soon. Also, kid-friendly theatres in London abound! The Lion King is great when they are bit older too.
LLO: Favourite child-friendly restaurant in London?
LP: Nando’s might not be the most exciting place to eat, but we love it. Also, Giraffe has a great kid’s menu! Bodeans in Westbourne Grove and Wahaca are both pretty child-friendly too.
LLO: Favourite London shops for toys and children’s clothing?
LP: I love Habitat for toys. They are well-made and decently priced. I’ve found museum shops to carry a unique, lovely array of kid’s toys too. My favourite museum shops are the Tate Modern, V&A and the Natural History Museum. There are many boutiques I love, but I rarely shop at them unless it’s sale time. Elias & Grace have stunning children clothes. Some boutiques that are new to me and gorgeous are Pipa (Little Venice) and Couverture (Notting Hill). H&M kids is a staple in our lives too. I also adore The White Company’s line of children’s clothing.
LLO: Best place for outdoor activities on a weekend?
LP: Our favourite weekend activity is visiting Hampstead Heath. It’s stunning and we love the cafe there.
LLO: Do you find London to be kid-friendly? If not, what would make it more so?
LP: I think London is incredibly kid-friendly. There are amazing museums, parks, cultures right at our doorstep. I often wonder if my kids realise (or will realise when they are a bit older) how lucky they are to live here. I guess the only difficult thing is transport at times, but even that can be worked out…
LLO: Favourite London discovery?
LP: I lived in London for three years before I knew about Borough Market. Love that place. It’s easiest without a buggy, but sometimes we brave it with one too. I take all my family and friends there when they visit. I also love the Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park. It’s a magical, serene spot that I accidentally happened upon one day. Most days that I am out and about in London, I come across new discoveries. I am continually charmed by this city.
LLO: Best place in London to take children as a special treat?
LP: My eldest loves the cinema, although this year we took her to The Nutcracker and she was entranced by it the entire 2+hours. Both kids love the zoo too. And swimming! We go to our local Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre sometimes and they love the family pool (you wouldn’t know it by the way they cling to my neck!). Our next family treat will be the BFI IMAX in Southbank.
LLO: What is your ideal way to spend a day in London if your husband decides to watch the kids?
LP: One of my favourite streets in London is Marylebone High Street, so sometimes I head there and take my time popping into shops and getting something to eat. Of course, nothing beats being on my lonesome with a good book in a cafe, such as Le Pain Quotidien. I keep saying I want to discover more of East London, so maybe that will be my next day out.
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