THATMuse

London might have more iconic landmarks than any other city in the world. Big Ben, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye are all instantly recognisable to people all over the world, even if they’ve never so much as changed flights at Heathrow. A lot of this is down to film and TV. Hundreds of establishing shots of London’s skyline have fixed it firmly in the public imagination. Let’s have a look at some of the most famous London film locations. And once the lockdown’s over, you can go and find them yourself!

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Since I moved to London, almost 5 years ago, people have been asking me what I miss most about Italy. Well, the list is long, of course. I miss the sea, the weather and my family, for a start. But most importantly, like most Italians abroad, I miss the food. While there’s nothing like my grandma’s ragu’ or my dad’s cannoli, there are some wonderful Italian restaurants in London that make me feel (almost) at home.

As lockdown’s slowly lifting, making plans:

You’re right, during lockdown restaurants have been closed a long time. But, hey! Surely, we can make plans for when we return to the new normal! When people say that pasta and pizza are always good, no matter what you put on top of them, the heart of all Italians ache a bit… If you’ve tried some authentic Italian food, I’m sure you understand the difference between a good and a mediocre pizza. In case you don’t know where to get a real taste of Italy, let me tell you about the three best Italian restaurants London has to offer!

1. La Mia Mamma, For the Best Pasta in London

La Mia Mamma is one of my favourite Italian restaurants in London, and is definitely the home of the best pasta in London. The restaurant literally ‘imports’ Italian Mammas from all different regions of Italy. There is a rotation of moms taking over the kitchen and creating a great selection of regional dishes. Other than making fresh food every day, the mammas welcome all guests singing Italian patriotic songs or hugging you when you arrive, just like a real loving mom would do. With Italian music in the background and loud Italians debating at the tables around you, it really feels like being in the Bel Paese. Located in Chelsea, I usually enjoy a nice walk after dinner. And remember, they have a super long waiting list, so make sure to reserve your table far in advance!

Until restaurants are allowed to open, La Mia Mamma are also offering deliveries of “survival packs”, DIY packs and more!

Fresh pasta, tomatoes, cheese and other Italian food

2. Santa Maria Pizzeria, for Authentic Italian Pizza

Is there anything that makes Italians happier than eating a real Napolitan pizza? The answer is no! We might be able to get used to London’s windy and rainy weather, but not to a life without pizza. Angelo and Pasquale, both from Naples, imported a wood-fired oven from Italy (without which you wouldn’t be able to make the perfect pizza). Soon afterwards, they opened Santa Maria in the borough of Ealing. I guarantee that the pizza you eat there tastes just like the ones you would eat in the top pizzerias of Naples. One of the things I love the most about Santa Maria is that it is a place for anyone! From penniless students to famous singers, to politicians and VIPs, this pizzeria welcomes everyone. Also, Santa Maria is the place to go if you’ve had a light lunch and need your daily carbs intake: the pizza is HUGE!

Of course, all of the Santa Maria Pizzeria restaurants are currently closed. But you can still order online through Deliveroo!

3. Ristorante Orsini, a Delightful Italian Restaurant in London

Ristorante Orsini is another authentic Italian restaurant in London that I love. This small, family-run restaurant is perfect for both lunch and dinner. Located in South Kensington, many people like to go there during their break from a visit to either the V&A or the Natural History Museum. There’s a familial vibe and it is incredibly hard to choose from the wide selection of authentic Italian dishes that they offer. Of their delicious plates, I tried their amazing homemade pasta, and fell in love with their tagliolini, served with plenty of seafood. They’re also famous for their ‘fritto misto’ (fried fish). But… perhaps my favourite thing was the dessert! So… if you’ve got room, don’t forget to order their gelato or Tiramisu’.

Sadly, this restaurant is fully closed during lockdown. But once restaurants and bars open again, it will be important to support local businesses, so remember to stop by!

Transforming your Home into an Italian Restaurant

It’s true that it’s possible to eat good Italian food in London. But… be careful! While almost every single restaurant in London serves pasta, finding ‘real pasta’ in London is not easy. I’m looking forward to being able to visit my favourite Italian restaurants, but for now I’m cooking plenty of Italian dishes at home. For those of you are not lucky enough to be on lockdown with an Italian, don’t worry! Cooking Italian food is really easy. If the ingredients are fresh, they won’t need much elaboration.

Need some ideas for fun things to do at home (apart from making pizza, of course)? Subscribe to our blog for some inspiration!

Our THATMuse Dinosaur and Extinct beasts Treasure Hunt focus on the incredible treasures inside the Natural History Museum’s 80 million strong collection, but this blog contains 7 fascinating facts about the natural history museum building itself.  

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Introducing our London KidPack!

We are very excited to announce the arrival of our new London KidPack! Joining our ever-successful Paris KidPack, it is full of fun activities, puzzles and creative fun. Add one as a bonus after a family treasure hunt at any of our three London museums, and keep the discovery going!

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Cafés at the Victoria & Albert Museum

Gamble room by Joseph Gamble in the V&A restaurant. Beatiful white marble and gold columns and decoration.
Gamble room, James Gamble, 1865 – 78. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Fittingly for a museum of art and design, there are three beautiful and inspiring places to eat, drink and rest inside the V&A. The Main Cafe is also the worlds very first museum cafe, with its three rooms still in their original design. All of these can also make great places for score tallying and prize giving after you THATMuse Treasure Hunt!

V&A garden cafe, with tables and chairs under umbrellas near trees and water feature
The Garden Café. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Garden Café

In one corner of the V&A’s beautiful garden is the relaxed Garden Café. Serving coffees, cakes and other refreshments in the heart of the buildings, its the perfect place to admire the building’s uniquely beautiful architecture.
We often begin our Travel Trail and Fashion Hunts here, (weather permitting!) and it can be a lovely place to dip your toes in the pool and enjoy the sun.

The Garden Café is open all year, weather dependent in December and January.

Sleek glass front of Sackler Courtyard cafe with white tables and chairs outside V&A
The Courtyard Café. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Courtyard Café

The new Courtyard Café at the Exhibition Road entrance is a stylish place to grab a bite, right next to the exciting special exhibition gallery. Depending o time of day it serves healthy breakfast pastries, open sandwiches and salads for lunch, as well as an interesting selection of British craft beer and sparkling wine.

Opening times:
Daily: 8.30 – 17.45
Friday: 8.30 – 20.30

Please note: occasionally the Courtyard Café will not open until 10.00 due to museum events.

Green decorated walls and stained glass windows in Morris room, 1866 – 8 Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Morris room, 1866 – 8. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Main Café
Gamble, Morris and Poynter Rooms

The V&A’s main cafe is actually the world’s first museum cafe! First built in the 1860’s, long before London’s other museums invested in catering, the South Kensington Museum as it was then known was a bit more of a trek out of the city proper than it is today. So the founding Director Henry Cole decided a restaurant would attract more visitors and aid in their enjoyment of the wonderful collection. He hired three eminent designers to decorate the rooms;  James Gamble, William Morris and Edward Poynter.
These incredible rooms now host a huge range of hot and cold meals, drinks and treat. You can even book a replica High Tea that Queen Victoria herself enjoyed!

Opening hours:
Daily: 10.00 – 17.10
Friday: 10.00 – 21.15

Blue porcelain wall decoration, stained glass windows and iron fireplace in Poynter room V&A
The Poynter Room
The comfortable spacious T. Rex Grill seating area
T. Rex Grill eating area

The T. Rex Grill

– Located in the Green Zone           
– Hours: 11:00 – 16:00
– Very cool display with moving dinos. A large space, great for large or small groups to meet up for score tallying (more of a sit-down place)
– Children welcome! Lots of space
– Offers burgers, steaks and pizzas at a pretty affordable price range- prices £10 and up; also offers desserts

The Kitchen's ordering bar
The Kitchen’s ordering bar

The Kitchen

– Located in the Red Zone         
– Hours: 10:00 – 17:00 
– Very kid friendly – offers lunch and activity packs to keep them entertained while parents eat (or tally up their hunts!) sit down place 
– Offers a variety of food from sandwiches, wraps and salads, pizza and burgers; also has dessert options (similar to the coffee house)           
– Prices range from £8.50- £12.50 for adults and £4.25- £5 for the children’s menu (kids under 12)         
– Adult Meal Deal: main, dessert, soft drink for £12.95            
– Kids Meal Deal: main, dessert, soft drink for £8   

Muffins on a cake stand in the Natural History Museum's The Coffee House
Great-looking muffins at the Coffee House

The Coffee House

– Located in the Red Zone (Lasting Impressions Gallery)            
– Hours: 10:00- 17:00            
– Offers pastries and baked goods ranging from £4-£6; perfect for grabbing a quick bite on the hunt (or some caffeine to refuel) or for small groups to score tally; better for on-the-go and for groups without children        

Dining area at the Natural History Museum's Central Café
Dining area at the Central Café

Central Café

– Located in the Blue Zone
– Hours: 10:00- 17:30
– Very family friendly; offers high chairs for babies and toddlers
– Mostly offers sandwiches and salads, but has on the go snacks like crisps and fruit if you need to stop and refuel; this is mostly on-the-go

Darwin centre research building lit with neon green

Darwin Centre Café

– Located in the Orange Zone            
– Hours: 10:00- 17:00 
– Very similar to the Central Café in terms of food – offers sandwiches and salads for more filling options, but also has crisps and a variety of baked goods like caked and pastries

The THATMuse blog has content pieces about the actual museums where you’re hunting, but we’ve also amassed plenty of recommendations of what to do in Paris and London apart from your museum time. Check out our Travel Tips category on the blog for pieces from kid-friendly parks, cafes and toyshops to romantic cocktail lounges near our museums. 

This post, which first appeared in the Telegraph, was written by expat Daisy de Plume, founder of THATMuse.

Is your notion of Christmas a Dickensian delight in London – or a stroll down the Passage des Princes in Paris? Which European capital is more Christmasy? From ice skating to toy shopping, there’s plenty to keep families entertained over the festive season – but which city has the best options? Daisy de Plume, mother of two and resident of both cities, lists the best Christmas-themed activites for families in London and Paris.

TOYS

Paris

The labyrinthine 19th century covered passages of Paris is the perfect spot for Christmas shopping and nestled in the elegant Passage Jouffroy is a family-run toyshop called Pain d’Epices. Specialising in dollhouses, children marvel at the tiny decorated Sapin de Noel with miniature cadeaux.

The crème de la crème of the passages couvert is Passage des Princes, exclusively devoted to fun and games, from stuffed animals to art supplies and race-bikes.

London

Pollock’s ground floor shop has old-fashioned toys for sale
CREDIT: ALAMY

Pollock’s ground floor shop has old-fashioned toys for sale CREDIT: ALAMY Where Paris has those tiny little dollhouses, London focuses on the ginormous. At seven storeys of toys, Hamleys is the biggest toyshop in the world. It’s not to be missed for visitors, but at the height of Christmas shopping, we prefer the more intimate Pollock’s Toy Museum. Benjamin Pollock was a Victorian creator of toy theatres and the fascinating museum has been family run since the Fifties.

If you’re short on time, keep to Pollock’s ground floor shop where there are reasonably priced wooden toys.

Paris: 1

ICE SKATING

London

After a festive meal, where better to burn off energy than on the rink in front of the Natural History Museum? London has plenty of other rinks to pirouette upon, including Skylight’s rooftop rink, with impressive city views, or cutting your crystal in the rink of the Tower of London, outside the Queen’s jewels. London rinks sell hot chocolate to warm hands and cockles after whizzing around the ice.

Paris

Usually Paris would win this one hands down, but this year there will not be a rink within the Eiffel Tower and all outdoor rinks have sadly been postponed. Instead, we head to the Zenith Theatre at La Villette to take inspiration for next year from Disney On Ice and marvel as our favourite characters perform impressive song and dance numbers on the ice. An awe-inspiring (and warmer) alternative.

London: 1

Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is a popular attraction.
CREDIT: BEN STEVENS

OUTDOORS

London

West London has the lion’s share of holiday fun, from Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland to the illuminated trails through Syon Park’s arboretum, and the dazzling light shows on the glasshouse at Kew Gardens. You can even sing “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer” to the deer in Richmond Park; deer scouting gives London a leg up on this Christmas competition.

Paris

Galeries Lafayette gets spruced up for Christmas The City of Light is an apt moniker for Paris at Christmas. The illuminated cheer of Paris market streets is distinct, with family-run fromagerie and fishmongers hoisting decorated Christmas trees on top of their awnings.  Excellent decorations can be seen on rue Montorguiel (2nd), rue des Martyrs (9th), rue Cler (7th) and du Commerce (15th). If you don’t mind a bit of jostling, there’s also the theatrical Christmas windows designed for tots at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, with raised platforms for the little ones to get a good, protected view. You don’t get that at Harrods.

London: 1

CHRISTMAS ON THE SCREEN

CREDIT: EVERETT COLLECTION/REX

London

Hunkering down in the daytime to watch a Christmas movie is a delight of the holidays and London has lots of pop-up cinemas in unexpected places. After venturing through a glistening icy cave at Backyard Cinema’s Snow Kingdom you can nestle into a beanbag and enjoy family films including Home Alone and It’s a Wonderful Life.

Paris

A perfect way for the family to escape the cold (and the tourists) is to duck into a beautiful theatre to introduce the children to some hilarious silent classics. A gorgeous Art Nouveau theatre, Le Luxor has Egyptian-esque architectural features, while Le Balzac (off the Champs-Elysées) has plush red velvet seats and dramatic curtains. Both cinemas host children’s programmes, often including silent greats such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, in case you don’t speak French.

Paris: 1

SWEET TREATS

Galeries Lafayette gets spruced up for Christmas

Paris

La Cuisine Paris has a fantastic selection of classes for the whole family to learn how to make a Bûche de Noël or a Galette des Rois. Children as young as five have fun getting their paws dirty kneading buttery French dough. The delicious treat to take home is a bonus!

London

Throughout December, Bread Ahead in London’s Borough Market hosts seasonal baking classes where you can learn how to bake mince pies, dense ginger cake and stollen together. London has plenty of places to simply ogle beautiful baked goods, including the snow-frosted gingerbread houses at The Savoy’s patisserie. While you’re there, be sure to count the baubles and crackers that festoon the glittering fir tree.

A tie!

The THATMuse blog has content pieces about the actual museums where you’re hunting, but we’ve also amassed plenty of recommendations of what to do in Paris and London apart from your museum time. Check out our Travelling in Paris & London category on the blog for pieces from kid-friendly parks, cafes and toyshops to romantic cocktail lounges near our museums.

Following a morning or afternoon on a THATMuse treasure hunt at the British Museum you may want to go scouting for off-the-beaten track treasures in blooming Bloomsbury, the museum’s intellectual (& green!) neighborhood. Mother of two and founder of THATMuse, Daisy de Plume lists her top five picks of Quirky Kid Fun in Bloomsbury. The following five are free and within 15 minutes by foot from the British Museum:   

Coram’s Fields

families with kids sat under trees near play park at Coram's Fields

This 7-acre park on the former site of the Foundling Hospital is a treasure trove of fun for the kiddies. From a flock of farm animals for all ages (from goats to chickens, parrots to bunnies) to a sandbox for tots, Coram’s Fields suits all. My 6-year old, Storsh, does a bee line for the challenging sling line (aka “Death Slide”) although half the time he just ogles in envy as heavier teens zoom past him with their speed zeal. For quick rain showers there’s a gazebo as well as a café within the open colonnade that serves toasties, hot chocolate and fruit. In the warmer months there’s also a lovely sunken fountain for the kids to go a-frolicking. For teens & adults the neighboring Foundling Museum tells you about how Handel donated his organ to the Foundling Hospital and William Hogarth designed the orphans’ costumes. 93 Guilford Street – 

St George’s Gardens

greenery, trees and graves in St George's Gardens

Another hidden treasure is the gorgeous gardens of an 18th century graveyard which only locals tend to cross. Off the beaten track, it’s no surprise it’s a destination for Geocaching families to track down. The gated entrance is at the end of the tiny road, Handel Street, which leads to the convenient Brunswick Center  (of Brutalist fame). Pick up some aluminum-wrapped chocolates at the ginormous Waitrose and using the supermarket’s back entrance hang a right to the gated entrance of St George’s garden, which bookends the tiny Handel Street.  Sprinkle your chocolates about the flowered garden and send your kids on a treasure hunt of their own in the park, or just play hide and go seek among the enormous plane trees, some dating to the 1750s! 1 Handel St –     

Pollock’s Toy Museum

colourful painted facade of Pollock's Toy Museum with windows full d vintage toys

Family run since it was started in an attic in 1956, this precious toy museum was always my Bloomsbury treat when I was a kid visiting from the States. Named for Benjamin Pollock, Ltd, which was the last of the Victorian toy theater print companies, their collection of children’s theatre sets is wonderful. Split between two houses (one from the 1780s, the other from 1880s), you can skip the museum for the wonderfully antiquated toyshop on the ground floor where you’ll find reasonably priced Villac kites, beautiful travel sets of checkers, chess or backgammon & colorful wood toys such as a Jacob’s Ladder. 1 Scala Street –       

Russell Square

Path, benches, fountain and cafe in Russell Square London

RStorsh has the luck of being trilingual (& the bad luck of being culturally confused). As such has made many an international friend in the central fountain of Russell Square. If you have a change of clothes for them pick up a sandwich at the museum and bring it to the neighboring park where kids are bound to find other like-minded imps splashing about in the bursting fountain. The green of the park encourages clusters of picnickers, or there’s a Russell Square café which has Italian gelati or hot chocolate to warm up after their dunking!

Jeremy Bentham

Philosophy gawking… How better to get your kids to remember the 19th centuryphilosopher and founder of Utilitarianism than to visit his wax corpse?!? He presides over the University College London (UCL) from a glass box, he requested that his skeleton should be preserved and dressed in his own clothes. Talk about English eccentricities! The “spiritual founder of UCL”, he’s been known to attend the University’s council meetings (in 2013 he was recorded as “present but not voting”), but when this happens it takes 3 people to move him as he’s bolted to chair in a glass box (on display for anyone to visit) and must be moved in one piece! I always recommend this to families who have chosen the Skull Scouting THATMuse at the British Museum, to take their treasure hunting outside the museum! UCL directions to Jeremy (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/access-ucl/self-guided-tour)

Have you built up an appetite after a hunt (or looking to fuel up before taking the museum by storm)? Listed below are a variety of hotels, pubs, cafés and restaurants near the British Museum where you can grab a bite to eat.

Please note, we’re happy to provide this list of places (all a stone’s throw to the BM) where we’ve conducted score tallying, but we don’t make reservations, nor do we negotiate menus. If your hunt starts between 2:30 & 3:30 pm it’s safe to make a 5:30 reservation (apart from Friday, when the museum’s open till 8:30)

The Bloomsbury Club

plush cafe bar in the bloomsbury hotel with comfortable sofas, coral coloured walls and a chandelier

The very first YMCA in the world, this exceptionally impressive Grade II building is now an elegant hotel. It has a 1920s-inspired Coral Room bar, a wood-lined, tony hipster lounge for cocktails in the lower level (where we’ve done several corporate score tallying), a lovely verdant terrace to serve high tea (the Dalloway Terrace, where we’ve done BuzzFeed, Lego & plenty of Hen Party Prize-givings). Any of their settings hits it just right, but it’s pricy. Not a surprise, as it’s to the standard of the Doyle Collection.
Address: 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN
Tel: +44 20 7347 1000
Email: reservations@thecoralroom.co.uk
Directions: Exiting the BM, hang a right on Great Russell Street, cross traffic-filled Bloomsbury Street and the large, elegant red brick building will be on your left (so you have to cross the street again). Less than 5 minutes on foot.

map from British Museum to The Bloomsbury Club

The Russell Hotel

Doorman at the font door facade of the Russell Hotel London

The old RUSSELL HOTEL has a new incarnation! For hipster clients, the 5-star Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel on Russell Square recently finished its renovation of the Grade II 1898 The-au-Lait building, with superflash bars, cafes, restaurants and spaces for treasure hunt score tallying! They have an appropriately splendid cocktail bar, Fitz’s (named for the building’s architect Charles Fitzroy Doll), a Burr & Co coffee bar with a large communal table that can seat up to a 25 people hunt or the upmarket seafood restaurant, Neptune.
Address: 1-8 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 5BE
Tel: (0)20 7520 1800
Directions: We’ll exit the back of the British Museum & wander across Russell Square & we’re there!

The Plough

classic British pub The Plough on the corner of Museum Road

Sometimes you just want a good solid Victorian pub. The Plough has an upstairs room where we’ve done the score tallying for plenty of 20 to 50-person corporate and birthday hunts.  Typical authentic pub menu with fish & chips, burgers steak and ale pies, etc, this is a Greene King pub. As it’s just down the road from the museum, we’ve probably used this most often for score tallying. Staff are hit or miss…
Address: 27 Museum Street London WC1A 1LH
Tel: +44 (0)20 7636 7964     
Directions: Exiting the front of the BM, turn right onto Great Russell Street & walk half a block before crossing to Museum Street. The Plough, on the corner with hanging flowers, will be on your right. An easy 2 minute walk.

map from British Museum to the Plough

Princess Louise

patrons at the bar of the Princess Louise pub

Historic pub with gorgeous ornate Victorian etched glass, wonderful tile walls and an upstairs perfect for a group meal, we discovered this gem when the compliance team of Disney did their THATMuse score tallying here.
Address: 208 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7405 8816
Website: http://princesslouisepub.co.uk/
Directions: When exiting the museum’s front entrance on Great Russel Street, turn left onto Bury Place. Next, turn right onto Bloomsbury Way. Cross the street and make your way back onto Bury Place. Turn left onto New Oxford Street, continuing onto High Holborn till you reach the Princess Louise. This walk should take about 6 minutes.

map from British Museum to the Princess Lousie

Cake Shop

croissants and donuts on display in front of a table service sign

at the London Review of Books
Conveniently located just opposite the BM, who doesn’t like going through a bookshop to get to your cakes? As their website says: “Surrounded by books and fragrant with tea, the London Review Cake Shop is the modern answer to London’s long-lost literary coffee-houses” It’s a small space only good for small hunts, with a communal table that seats 16 near a green courtyard and about 8 tables seating another 16 along a banquette. Delicious heavy cakes, wide variety of teas. Plus it feels right to support small independent bookshops! We’ve hosted plenty of Luxe Travelling families on their score tallying here.
Hours:         Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 6:30
Address:     14 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL
Tel: +44 (0)20 7269 9045

Pied Bull Yard

outdoor cafe seating in pied bull yard

Pied Bull Yard is an enchanting little gem of SILENCE just opposite the throngs of tourists mulling about the BM’s Great Russell Street. Tourists and natives alike walk right past its (many) elegant entrances, unaware of its picturesque, leafy courtyard just behind the London Review of Books, where you’ll find a flakey croissant by the hand of French culinary students of the Cordon Bleu or one of London’s few proper biergartens in the form of the English pub Truckles, which serves ales in pewter tankards. Tracing its history is tricky, as this delightful nest of back alleys and courtyards was off the map till 1746 when it appeared on the Rocque Map as “Stable Yard”. Accessed by Bury Lane & Bloomsbury Sq Garden.

Dickens Museum Garden Café

wood panelled cafe counter and brick lined garden cafe with flowers and trellises at the Dickens Museum

Dickens Museum Garden Café is about 10 minutes by foot from the BM, making it just far enough from the tourist trail that one finds themselves in genuine Bloomsbury. Well worth a walk to Doughty Street, the museum itself is a double Georgian row house where Dickens wrote Oliver Twist among others. Great for teens who may have just read one of his treasures, but also a treat for families with tots; my toddler, Baz, has investigated every stone of this garden as he patters about barefoot while I rest my tootsies over a gin ‘n tonic or tea & cake. Pleasant staff and a precious gift shop finish it off as a destination unto itself. 48 Doughty Street https://dickensmuseum.com/

The Life Goddess

patrons eating outside the life goddess greek deli

Just a four minute walk from the BM, the Life Goddess in Fitzrovia is the perfect spot for you and your crew to tally up points and grab a bite to eat. The Greek restaurant prides themselves on fresh and quality ingredients from Greece, and is equipped with a mouthwatering menu that will satisfy all guests. The Life Goddess also has a “carefully curated” wine and cocktail list, and “is a must for lovers of quality food and wine.” With a relaxed and stylish setting that can accommodate groups, this restaurant might be the perfect post-hunt location for you and your team.

Hours: Monday-Sunday, 12pm – 11pm

Address: 29 Store St, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7QB

Tel: + 020 7637 2401

Bibimbap Cafe

stone bowl of korean bibimbap with egg, carrots, spinach, cress and beansprouts

A Taste of Korea, Vegan Friendly!
If you’re not really in the mood for British cuisine, toddle along a little further (less than 5 minutes) to Bibimbab Café for some incredible Korean dishes. Bibimbab also has several vegan and vegetarian options if you have any dietary restrictions. A relaxed and cosy space, it has just enough room for a family or two to score tally after a Luxe Hunt!
Address: 37 Museum street, London WC1A 1LP
Website: http://bibimbabcafe.com/
Phone: 020 7404 8880

Konaki

White front of Konaki Greek restaurant

KONAKI is a Greek restaurant located just steps away from the front entrance of the British Museum. It’s a family run restaurant with typical Greek fare in a cosy setting. It sits up to 50 people and even has outdoor seating for when the weather is nice. Please note, they are only open for dinner service and are closed on Sundays.

Address: 5 Coptic St, Bloomsbury, London WC1A 1NH
Phone: 020 7580 9730
Website: http://www.konaki.co.uk/index.html

The THATMuse blog has content pieces about the actual museums where you’re hunting, but we’ve also amassed plenty of recommendations of what to do in Paris and London apart from your museum time. Check out our Travelling in Paris & London category on the blog for pieces from kid-friendly parks, cafes and toyshops to romantic cocktail lounges near our museums.

Sunny paris street cafe under red awnings

Looking for somewhere to eat after a few hours of fierce competition at the museum? Doni Belau, the founder of Girl’s Guide to Paris, will point you in the right direction with her guide on where to eat near the Louvre.

Of all the things to do in Paris, going to the Louvre is on the top of nearly everyone’s must-do list. I personally tire of it because the place is so huge it can overwhelm which is why I recommend taking THATLou’s Treasure Hunt at the Louvre (what it stands for). Hers is one of the cleverest and most compelling ideas I’ve run across in all my time in Paris and it’s really a must in order to bring the Louvre down to a palatable size.

Whichever way you enjoy the Louvre, whether you are scavenger hunting or just making a regular visit, after several hours of ingesting culture, you’ll likely be famished. And after all that walking you won’t want to walk far, but at the same time you will NOT want to get stuck in a tourist trap either. Here are my best suggestions for any and every type of meal, drink or snack within 10 minutes of the Louvre. Bon Appétit!

A hearty lunch

In proper Parisian style, sit down for an elegant hot lunch prepared by one of the best chefs in town at La Régalade Saint Honoré. But do book ahead for Bruno Doucet’s homemade terrines and fair prices.
ADDRESS for La Régalade: 123, rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris
PHONE+33 (0) 1 42 21 92 40

It’s Raining

Like often happens in Paris, you are about to exit the Louvre and it’s pouring rain but your tummy is grumbling. Never fear, head back inside and ask for directions to the Richelieu wing. Head to the Café Richelieu, which serves the famous Angelina hot chocolate (and their complete menu). Sit back and sip the rich chocolaty-ness and take a sandwich while you wait out the rain. Just take IM Pei’s escalator up the 1st floor, where you’ll find it opposite the Middle Ages treasures.
ADDRESS: The Louvre, bien sûr!

Just a Sandwich

sunny empty dining room at Verjus bar a vin, Paris
Verjus bar à vin

Some days I can’t be bothered with a sit down meal for lunch. Why not head over to the scrumptious Verjus bar a vin, which serves wonderful wines by the glass and a fried chicken sandwich to die for, which you can take to go. If it’s sunny why not enjoy it on the Pont des Arts bridge? ADDRESS for Verjus: 52, rue de Richelieu, 75001 Paris
PHONE +33 (0)1 42 97 54 40

Brunch

For a quick brunch before heading over to the Louvre or a little cupcake to give you energy after your tour, walk over to Oh Mon Cake on the rue St. Honoré. After fueling up you’ll be ready for some shopping in the neighborhood!
ADDRESS for Oh Mon Cake: 154, rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris
PHONE +33 (0) 1 42 60 31 84

Just Drinks

Diners at Le cafe marly, sat underneath sunny arched terrace between cafe banners
le Cafe Marly

They can be rude and very Parisian, but the Café Marly – if you can capture a seat on the terrace – has the best view of the Pyramide at the Louvre in Paris. I do not recommend the food, however, as it is formulaic.
ADDRESS for Café Marly: entrance found from Passage Richelieu, or at 93, rue de Rivoli 75001
PHONE +33 1 49 26 06 60

Sick of French?

Book into this superb Japanese bistro for lunch or dinner. Less than a 10-minute walk and a world away from all the French food you’ve been having, Kunitoraya on rue Villedo serves up delicious udon noodles, sashimi, bento boxes and sushi. The menu is much more affordable for lunch.
ADDRESS for Kunitoraya: 5 rue Villedo 75001 Paris 
PHONE +33 (0)1 47 03 33 65

Drinks and a snack

Just behind the Louvre you’ll find a stand-by spot to prendre un verre (take a glass), the ever cozy Le Fumoir, which actually has pretty solid food as well. Happy hours are from 6-8pm when all cocktails are reduced to 7.50
ADDRESS for Le Fumoir: 6, rue de l’Amirale de Coligny 75001
PHONE +33 (0)1 42 92 00 24 Le Fumoir, ©L’Internaute Magazine, Maxence Boyer

The THATMuse blog has content pieces about the actual museums where you’re hunting, but we’ve also amassed plenty of recommendations of what to do in Paris and London apart from your museum time. Check out our “Travelling in Paris & London” category on the blog for pieces from kid-friendly parks, cafes and toyshops to romantic cocktail lounges near our museums. (Want to see other parks in London & Paris? Check them out here: Part 1, Part 2)

Here’s the third part of our 3-part series on parks by Daisy de Plume, expat mother of two boys growing up in both cities (and THATMuse founder).

REGENT’S PARK

path under vine trellises and arches in Regents park

Impossible to distill the breadth of this green oasis in NW London, this was yet another hunting ground of Henry VIII and kept in royal hands long after John Nash planned this 410-acre park. For kids the choices abound, from the London Zoo with over 20,000 animals and nearly 700 species to the boat pond which is easily as big & verdant as Central Park’s. For the water weary, there is also a separate Children’s Lake open on weekends and on school holidays where kiddie pedalos are available for hire (either for the whole family, 28£/2 adults, 3 kids or children’s pedalos for only 4£ for 20 minutes). With plenty of playgrounds, the snazziest is near Hanover Gate, which has a timber tree house for older kids within a large sandpit for tots. HIDDEN KID TREASURE: Since he was 3 Storsh’s favorite part of Regent’s Park has been the Rose Garden, a secluded circle included in Queen Mary’s Garden. With about 12,000 roses and 85 single-variety beds, the garden’s laid out with five-foot rose bushes, divided into centralized beds that you can circumnavigate. It’s there that we compare the smells of the roses, inspect their thorns, laugh at some of their dippy names (Lady Marmalade? Bees Knees? Betty Boop?) and then Zulu-like play a savage game of hide-n-go seek/tag. As there are generally so few people, I don’t mute Storsh’s yelps of joy, fear of being found and general exuberance.

JARDIN DES TUILERIES

Flowers and sculpture in front of Ferris wheel in jardin de tuileries

The 23-hectare gardens connect the Louvre (where the kings lived), to Place de la Concorde (where the kings lost their heads in the French Revolution, site of the guillotine). The gardens we know today date to 1664, by André le Nôtre, Louis XIV’s Versailles gardener. The name comes from the tile factories (tuile means tile in French) they replaced when Catherine de Medici built the Palais des Tuileries with accompanying gardens. From a kid point of view the Tuileries has plenty to offer, from a wonderful playground with a behemoth steel jungle gym, popular hammock and roundabout, to two lovely boat ponds for pushing 1920s boats with sticks, not to mention a carousel. HIDDEN KID TREASURE: It’s easy to miss the sunken trampolines that are off the Tuileries central allée. They’re at about the level of the WH Smith bookstore, between the carousel and Place de la Concorde, yet plenty of Parisian parents don’t know about them. These trampolines, divided by padded frames, cost €2.50 for 5 minutes a pop for kids aged 2 -12. A great way to get their energy out after a morning Treasure Hunt au Louvre! METRO: Tuileries (line 1), Concorde (lines 1, 8, 12)

The THATMuse blog has content pieces about the actual museums where you’re hunting, but we’ve also amassed plenty of recommendations of what to do in Paris and London apart from your museum time. Check out our “Travelling in Paris & London” category on the blog for pieces from kid-friendly parks, cafes and toyshops to romantic cocktail lounges near our museums.

Looking for something to do in London with kids that’s fun but also not too tiring?  Look no further, as Cheyenne, student intern at THATMuse, is here with a list of fun markets to visit while in London!

Borough Market

Entrance to Borough Market on Park street by classic pub and view of The Shard
Classic shot of the entrance to London’s Borough Market

Located in Southwark, this market is one of London’s most famous, with everything from fresh, UK-produced cheese to homemade Turkish delight to hand-blended milkshakes. This market is right off of the Thames, which makes for a nice view while eating, and is located near several hot tourist spots. London Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Tate Modern are all close by, and worth a visit if you have the time and inclination. A much lesser known attraction is the Southwark Cathedral, literally less than two minutes’ walk from the market, which is a beautiful church that is open to the general public for free. It has a statue dedicated to Shakespeare, and some very pretty gardens to eat in. Just remember to throw away your trash in a bin!
Address: Borough High Street, Borough, London, SE1 9DE
Phone: +44 (0)20 7407 1002

Spitalfields Market

Food and clothing stalls under the covered Spitalfields Market
Spitalfields Market is the perfect place to spend a rainy London afternoon!

This market doesn’t share the heavy focus on food that you will find in Borough Market, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of a visit. There is some amazing street food here, so you can eat as you walk around and enjoy the stalls selling everything from antiques to hand-made toys and clothing. If you’re looking for a good hot chocolate (I know I always am!) a restaurant named Dark Sugar less than five minutes away from the market makes some of the best hot chocolate I’ve had in London. There’s also a garden nearby if you want to turn your family outing into a picnic with food you picked up from the market, or just let the kids run free for a while.
Address: Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, London, E1 6EW
Phone: +44 (0)20 7247 8556

Bloomsbury’s Farmers Market

Shoppers stood by local milk stall under a tree at bloomsbury market
Bloomsbury’s Farmers Market is a quaint and personal market experience for any would-be Londoner

This is certainly not a very large or well-known market, but it’s my favorite by virtue of being located right outside my flat, and on my way to work. Nestled between the schools of UCL and SOAS every Thursday, this market may be on the smaller side, but it certainly has plenty of delicious food to make up for it. My personal favorite is grabbing a wonderful organic brownie from a dessert stand, but they have all kinds of different food here, making it a perfect fit for any family. Like Spitalfields, there are several gardens nearby for a picnic: specifically Gordon Square and Great Russell Square, both of which are beautiful. The British Museum is less than a five-minute walk up the street, if you want to burn some of your kids’ energy and let them learn at the same time.
Address: Torrington Square / Byng Place, behind ULU, WC1E 7HY