THATMuse

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

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.

Here’s part two of a 3-part series (you can see Part 1 here) on parks by Daisy de Plume, expat mother of two boys growing up in both cities (and THATMuse founder).

ST JAMES PARK

pond in St James's Park London with view of Whitehall and the London Eye

The oldest Royal Park in London is St James’s, dating from 1532 when Henry VIII acquired it as a deer park. Surrounded by three palaces (Westminister, St James’s and Buckingham Palaces), it’s the backdrop to numerous movies from Woody Allen’s Match Point to James Bond’s Die Another Day. The kids will remember the lake from 101 Dalmatians, starring Glenn Close and Jeff Daniels where a chase is set through St James’s that ends with a splash. HIDDEN KID TREASURE: Apart from the recently renovated children’s playground, wander the grounds for an Animal Hunt, counting how many types of furry & winged creatures you can find; from robins & woodpeckers to squirrels & bats, St James has more than 17 different species of waterfowl alone. The most famous bird residents are the pelicans, found on Duck Island. Storsh loves it when we catch the daily feeding, their long necks and big, gaping mouths go flapping for their food. These comical creatures have been here since 1664 when the Russian Ambassador gave them to Charles II for the park. Linger over Blue Bridge for a Coot fight. Those black birds with white foreheads (where we get the terms “Bald as a Coot”) are territorial and mean, they’ll fight anything that swims or flies! Whilst on the bridge, quiz your kids on a bit of London history, the park they see is by the hand of John Nash, the architect and planner of St James Park, as well as Buckingham Palace (viewable from the bridge). If they’ve been to Trafalgar Square or Regent’s Park, Nash’s name will again be bandied about. For longer stays, grab a sandwich and rent a stripy deckchair for an hour for just 1.60£. Open Daily, 5 am – midnight

JARDIN du LUXEMBOURG

Flowers and lawns at Jardin du Lexembourg

There are so many kid-treats in Jardin du Luxembourg that Napoleon dedicated it to “the Children of Paris”. In the 1600s it was originally laid out to accompany Marie de Medici (Dragon Lady Queen of France she holds the key to THATRue’s Latin Quarter hunts!)’s Palais du Luxembourg, which now houses France’s Senate. The 25 hectares hosts 1920s boats you can stick around the boat basin (3€ a pop), a delightful pony trail, a Punch & Judy-like puppet show and one of the city’s best playgrounds, tailored to all ages (Paid entry, with a guarded gate). For artsy families you can go statue-stalking as there are 106 sculptures to track, or for photo buffs there’s always a photography show exhibited on the garden’s fences. HIDDEN KID TREASURE: Since the delicate and discreet Merry-Go-Round is the oldest in Paris, I nominate this for our hidden treasure list. Designed by Charles Garnier, of Opéra fame, this 1879 weather-beaten carousel has the added attraction of having a “Jeu de Bagues”, where kids try to spike iron rings onto their sticks. No easy feat for those older kids on the peripheral circle of horses (and mesmerizing for waiting parents: the attendant re-loads the rings with hands as fast & graceful as a gazelle!). Unlike many of the city’s other carousels, Garnier’s animals swing from above. METRO: Odéon (line 4), Notre-Dame-des-Champs (line 12), Luxembourg (RER B)