This Is Where to Take Kids on Your Next London Adventure

Katie Fowler
by Katie Fowler
PHOTO:

@rosieorichardson

Many of us would never consider leaving Sydney’s sunny Palm Beach for a city that’s known for its dark and dreary weather—especially with a brand new baby in tow. But Australian-born paediatric occupational therapist, Rosie Richardson, and her financier husband packed up and took their baby boy, Milo, to London last year with just four bags, a stroller, and not a shred of doubt.

Upon arriving in the middle of a cold London winter, they were unprepared for just how much they would be subjected to the indoors. With such an active baby, Rosie took it upon herself to venture out and explore the city, and discovered some of the most kid-friendly places in London that she loves. Here, she shares her top places to visit, including where to go when you’re really missing Australia, and where to let your hair down.

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My favourite Top 5 places to visit

PHOTO:

@rosieorichardson

Petersham Nurseries in Richmond

“Walk along the riverfront path, take a short cut through the meadow to say hello to the cows and find this hidden gem. I would liken it to an English version of the Grounds of Alexandria. It has a restaurant, cafe, and teahouse which are all child-friendly, as well as homewares and plants set in a beautiful nursery attached to a family lodge. They plan to open another location in Covent Garden with two restaurants, wine cellar, delicatessen and florist.”

Primrose Hill

“We love both Primrose Hill the postcode as well as Primrose Hill the park. We will wander down Regent's Park Road and stop at The Queen's pub for a Sunday roast, then lie in the sun (if we are lucky) on Primrose Hill admiring the view over the city while Milo crawls around.”

We lie in the sun on Primrose Hill admiring the view over the city.

PHOTO:

@rosieorichardson

The Museums in South Kensington

“There are numerous museums conveniently located on the same block in South Kensington and they all have free entry. The Natural History Museum is great for older kids and the Science Museum has a whole section for younger kids with soft play, water play and light displays. Just across the road from the museum are plenty of great lunch spots. In December they have an ice rink and carousel in front of the Natural History Museum building which looks like a postcard scene.”

London Zoo

“I don't think the zoo needs much explanation! The Zoo is in central London so makes for a whole day out as there are plenty of things to do nearby. We will only do a section of the zoo at a time, then relax in Regent's Park.”

Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew

The gardens are located in Kew which is a quaint neighbourhood with pretty shops and stunning Victorian houses. Go on the first Sunday of the month when there are fresh produce markets in Kew then take a picnic to the gardens. There's an indoor play centre and outdoor playground, treetop walkway, a palace, numerous restaurants, and endless green space. Even in the colder months there is an enormous greenhouse with tropical plants and indoor cafe’s. At Christmas you can admire the entire gardens decorated with lights and Christmas displays whilst enjoying a mulled wine.”  

PHOTO:

@rosieorichardson

Living in Richmond

“Having both visited London previously, Tony and I had an idea of what to expect when we arrived, however we seriously underestimated just how hard it would be to find somewhere that ticked all of our boxes without quadrupling our budget. After spending about a week trudging around the entire city with a jetlagged four month old, we eventually visited Richmond and felt at home straight away. It is set on the Thames so there's plenty of long river walks, a beautiful 'green' bordered by Victorian Mansions, a meadow with cows and horses, perfectly manicured public gardens, and just up the road from our house is Richmond Park full of deer and wildlife. It is an idyllic little bubble only 15 minutes on an express train from central London. There is also a busy high street with plenty of boutiques, pubs on every corner, and some great new bars and cafes opening up.

PHOTO:

@rosieorichardson

Where to go when feeling homesick

“Apart from obviously missing my family and friends, I haven't really had a second to feel homesick since we arrived almost eight months ago. It was a long and grey winter which made me realise just how spoilt we are in Sydney but being so close to Europe I'm spending most of my spare time on Tripadvisor and filling up our calendar. We are only here for two years so we are really making the most of it. But when I’m really missing my Campos coffee, i’ll go to Beany Green, Lantana or Taylor St Baristas, they make me feel like I’m back in Palm Beach as soon as I take a sip.”

I have also just booked at Sketch in Mayfair purely to gawk at the interiors.

PHOTO:

@rosieorichardson

The best places to go on "mum's night off"

“Anywhere that is the opposite of child friendly is always my first choice on a baby free night! Now that it isn't freezing at night it's easy to meet a friend in Soho/Covent Garden for drinks then wander and take the first free table somewhere. Last week we went to Blanchette in Soho which was a cute French bistro. We went out last night to Dishoom in Covent Garden which is all share plates and really fun with a group. I have a few places on the list that I am yet to tick off as I have been on a strict breastfeeding diet for nine months now which is a total killjoy. As soon as I can have dairy again we want to go to Ferdi that has just opened up in London as we have been dreaming of the cheeseburger since we went to the Paris restaurant two years ago. I have also just booked at Sketch in Mayfair (that one that is always Instagrammed!) purely to gawk at the interiors. We were going to do a lunch and take Milo but the thought of him rubbing his banana covered fingers over the pink velvet furniture is too stressful.”

PHOTO:

@rosieorichardson

Coping with London weather and an energetic child

“In hindsight I don't know how we survived the winter without a slight mental breakdown! Milo is extremely active and is SO much happier out of the house. If something keeps him entertained and quiet I'm pretty happy to go with it, whether that's spending 20 minutes pulling his dad's ties off the hanger or sitting fully clothed in the bottom of the shower. To break up the winter days at home we will organise to meet friends at a museum, indoor play centre or go to baby classes. The pubs are so family and pet friendly here, so on numerous occasions I've taken Milo there during the dreaded witching hour and let him have a crawl around and pat dogs and interact with everyone while I have a glass of wine!”

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