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White water rafting

11 un-mumsy events to celebrate Mother’s Day in London

Try something a little different this Mother’s Day in London and make memories that can’t be summed up in a card

By Katie McCabe

Want to celebrate Mother’s Day in the most original way possible? This is London, so you don't have to try hard to make it happen. Not all mums want off-the-shelf cards, flowers and cupcakes, so why not try something original and mark the day with one of London’s more unusual things to do. Check out our 11 favourite un-mumsy Mother’s Day events below.  

RECOMMENDED: Our full guide to celebrating Mother's Day in London

1. Don’t buy her a ‘comedy’ vintage card

3 out of 5 stars
Museums History Ladbroke Grove

Do take her to the Museum of Brands

Find out how the image of ‘the mum’ has been used to flog everything from McVitie’s biscuits to Rinso washing powder with a 45-minute talk on Motherhood in Advertising at the Museum of Brands in Ladbroke Grove. Stay and take a nostalgic stroll through a ‘Time Tunnel’ of vibrant retro packaging from Bovril, Rowntree’s Cocoa and Lyons Maid ice lollies.

W11 1QT

Museum of Brands, 111-117 Lancaster Rd, W11 1QT. Entry £9. 

2. Don’t rent a pedalo

Sport and fitness Stadiums Waltham Cross

Do go white-water rafting

You won’t find yourself up a creek without a paddle at this man-made slalom course at Lee Valley White Water Centre. It’s like being out in the wild, only a little less on the terrifying side. Nothing aids bonding quite like being knocked around in a big inflatable raft while wearing a borrowed wetsuit. 

Station Rd, EN9 1AB. From £35.

The Painted Hall
The Painted Hall
James Brittain

3. Don’t just take her to the nearest art gallery

News Events & Festivals

Do pay a visit to ‘the Sistine Chapel of the UK’

A big baroque hall in Greenwich has just reopened to the public after an £8.5 million revamp. Tucked away inside a building designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the hall is covered from floor to ceiling in exquisite works painted between 1707 and 1726 by Sir James Thornhill. They’re considered to be some of the greatest baroque decor ever created in England. 

The Painted Hall, Greenwich

Wildcard Brewery Octobeerfest
Wildcard Brewery Octobeerfest
Ben Rowe

4. Don’t go for a quiet lunch

Bars and pubs Breweries Walthamstow

Do get her pissed at the Wild Card Brewery

Scones and jam are all well and good but you should always have an ace up your sleeve. March presents a double-header for female celebration: it’s International Women’s Month as well as Mother’s Day. Walthamstow’s Wild Card Brewery is marking both with a free all-day party led by female DJs blaring out soul, punk and reggae while the crowds knock back a selection of craft beers. Why simply spill the tea when you can go all out with drunken confessions in a brewery? 

Shernhall St, E17 9HQ. Open 4pm-late

Bow Creek Ecology Park
Bow Creek Ecology Park
© Eleanor Bentall


Don't go on an afternoon stroll

Do brave the Lea Valley Walk

The full stretch of the Lea Valley Walk is 50 miles from Leagrave to the Limehouse Basin, but there’s no need to do the full Reese Witherspoon in ‘Wild’. The trail is split into different routes: from Ware (Hertfordshire) to Waltham Abbey, there’s an ‘Artworks route’, a ‘Dragonfly Discovery Trail’ and an ‘Otter Discovery Trail’. For a more manageable gander, try the ‘Three Hidden Gems’, a 2.5 mile walk from Canning Town Station finishing at East India DLR, and you’ll pass Bow Creek Ecology Park along the way.

© Eleanor Bentall


Don't just get your hair done

Do take her 'hairclubbing'

That's right, it's a thing. When you book in for a hair treatment at Blade Hairclubbing in Soho, you'll get a 2-4-1 deal on its 'Mother Superior' cocktail. It might sound like a high-level nun, but it packs a punch with a mix of Colonsay Premium Gin, Maraschino, Creme De Violette, and lavender bitters, so it won't make you act like one.

2-4-1 cocktails for mums with bookings available Saturday and Sunday. Blade Hairclubbing, W1. Oxford Street tube. 



Don't buy another box of Milk Tray

Do mix your own chocolate martini

Come on people, think outside the (chocolate) box: if your mater knows her cocoa, you can do better than some cut-price Quality Street. Take her to a My Chocolate workshop instead, where you can work together to craft a strong chocolate martini, taste exotic cocoa blends like chocolate connoisseurs or make a gooey slab of milk chocolate fudge. Don't forget your ribbon-tied goodie bag at the end. 

My Chocolate HQ. 10c Branch Place N1 5PH. Various dates. Most workshops £80.


Don't buy her a bottle of wine

Do bring her to the Raw Wine Fair

Put down that two pack of Barefoot wine and embrace your inner oenophile at a fair dedicated to organic wines. Sample  biodynamic vino concoctions, hear talks from wine experts and get some sipping tips from sommeliers. Pair your choice with artisan foods from the likes of The Marksman and Rawduck to soak up the alcohol. It's all about natural wine here, so you might even avoid a hangover. 

The Store Studios. Temple Tube. Sun Mar 11-Mon Mar 12. £45 one day access, £75 two day access. 



Don't buy a boring bunch of flowers

Do take her walking through a room full of orchids

Catch the last day of the Kew Gardens Orchids Festival. This year is themed on the plantlife of Thailand, so Kew has decked out the space with golden carts, Thai umbrellas, tuk tuks and a floating palace. And the thousands of orchids on offer aren't too shabby either. 

Kew Gardens. Until Sun Mar 11. Included in entry fee. 

Floatworks pod
Floatworks pod


Don't go to the same old spa

Do try floating in a giant orb

Floatworks in Vauxhall is all about peacefulness and meditation, in this case achieved by floating in a big plastic pod. The Freudian subtext of stepping naked into what is essentially a giant womb for Mother’s Day probably won’t be lost on you, but once you get over the dystopian weirdness of it all, it can be seriously relaxing. Filled with Epsom salts, the water has more density than the Dead Sea, allowing you to feel weightless. It’s 60 minutes of shutting out worries, work and Whatsapp alerts. Might be worth asking your mum if she’s claustrophobic before springing this one on her, though.

17b (Unit 20d), St George Wharf, SW8 2LE. From £50.


Don't play a board game

Do play an immersive escape game

Keep that battered Monopoly set in the drawer and get the whole family together for one of the best escape games in London. Sercret Studio puts cinematic spin on the genre, so expect something more than a puzzle. They claim it only has a 50 percent success rate, so bring your A-game. 

A secret east London location. £15-£27. 

Plan the mother of all Mother's days

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Mother's Day in London: your ultimate guide

Things to do

Go the extra mile this year and treat your mum to something special on Mother’s Day. Luckily for you, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help plan the perfect day, whether you want a fancy afternoon tea or Sunday lunch at one of London’s best restaurants, a saunter around an art exhibition or a stroll in one of London’s major parks, it's all here.


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