A box of Milk Tray just won't cut it this year, so choose one of our hand-tailored itineraries and treat your mum to a memorable Mother's Day. We've pulled together four handy (and potentially life-saving) Mothering Sunday days out that are guaranteed to impress Mum on Sunday March 6 2016.
Mother's Day for the cultural mum
Buried inside the Wallace Collection, this pretty courtyard restaurant is the perfect spot for posh brekkie with Mum. With Peyton & Byrne teas, conserves and cakes, plus a fine selection of eggs, pastries and bread, a morning stop at this café will provide fuel for your culture-crammed day.
To show off its new £17.5 million refurb, the Wellcome Collection is showcasing two of 2015's best exhibitions. Journey up to Euston Road and let Mum decide between 'Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime', the museum's spring blockbuster about the history, art and science of forensic medicine, or 'The Institute of Sexology', a racy exhibition bringing together the great pioneers of the study of sex. If she's not sure can stomach either, send her for a snoop around the fantastic new Reading Room, where Mum can peruse over a thousand books and put her feet up on a sofa.
On the third floor of Royal Festival Hall, sip cocktails at one of the capital's top drinking destinations, Skylon. Drinks are pricier than elsewhere, but the drop-dead gorgeous vista sure makes up for it – revel in the peace and quiet as she's rendered speechless by the view.
Mother's Day for the nature mum
Meet Mum early (you'll seem keen and she'll love that), crack into a flask of homemade coffee and take a stroll around the largest of London's Royal Parks. Whilst you catch up, spot the early spring buds blooming and the hundreds of deer roaming. If you can handle the climb, from the park's highest point there are unobstructed views of St Paul's Cathedral, over 12 miles in the distance.
Once you've worked (walked, even) up an appetitie, and with picnic weather still a good month away, try the next best thing: lunch nearby amid the blooms of one of London's most picturesque gardens. But forget scotch eggs and potato salad – the chef at Petersham Nurseries is well versed in high-end gastro culture, so expect the likes of pan-fried scallops with seasonal greens and guinea fowl with olives and lentils.
Top off Mothering Sunday with a tipple or two across the Thames at City Barge. This great riverside pub is a refurbished boozer that takes its place among the city’s best, what with tables overlooking the Kew Rail Bridge and Oliver’s Island, and views of ducks, rowers and the tall trees of Kew. Keep your eye on Mother, however, don't end the day with a mum overboard.
Mother's Day for the foodie mum
There can surely be few spots in the city as salivated-over as this lively strip of artisan breads, organic meats and unfeasibly beautiful baked goods, making it the ideal place to kick off a day of belly-centric maternal spoiling. If mum’s angling for a souvenir, drop into Noble Fine Liquor to grab a bottle of something she won’t find at her local supermarket.
Venue says: “Friendly Sunday cafe with delicious coffee, cakes and pastries. We also offer a fully bespoke cake, canape and wedding cake service.”
From Broadway Market, extend your stroll onto Columbia Road, where the weekly flower market will be in full swing. Bag a bunch for Mum, then take a sugary pit stop just off the main drag at Lily Vanilli's bakery. With treats like a towering pomegranate and coconut Victoria sandwich, glistening honeycomb and ganache tarts and cherry bakewells on offer, Mum's sweet tooth will be spoilt for choice. Space is a little tight (this is a bakery, after all) with not much indoor seating, so be prepared to stuff your face on the cobbled courtyard outside.
Because you've not treated Mum to enough fine food already this Mother's Day, take the 15-minute stroll south to Old Spitalfields Market's Androuet. Run by two French brothers, Androuet is a dinky shop that sells a huge array of cheese. Their incredible stock changes every week and they have around 80 cheeses on offer at any time. Let Mum take her pick of the Mont'Or, Comté and Camembert on offer, and if she can't decide, the staff are always on hand to guide you through their stinky recommendations.
True foodie mums will have probably sampled a roast at the city’s best restaurants before, but Sunday dinner at Hawksmoor is something else. The meaty mecca's Sunday roast includes a succulent wedge of Longhorn rump served with duck fat-roasted potatoes, a yorkshire pudding, veg and bone marrow gravy. And if Ma had her heyday in the '70s, the lobster cocktail starter ought to serve as a decadent blast from the past too.
Mother's Day for the fashion mum
Start the day off in style by wandering around this exhibition at the Fashion Space Gallery, just off the capital's most fashion-friendly road, Oxford Street. 'Fashion Photography Next' is a celebration of innovation in image-making, compiled by writer and curator Magdalene Keaney. The arresting selection of snaps includes work by Jacob Sutton, Laetitia Hotte and Alice Hawkins.
A mecca for any fashionista, shopaholic or avid scarf collector, Liberty is one of London's best retail destinations. Behind its mock Tudor facade lies a labyrinth of rooms filled with some of the world's finest clothes, jewellery and homewares. If you can get Mum past the beautifully patterned notebooks and luxurious beauty products, take her the second floor to enjoy lunch of finger sandwiches, cupcakes and specialty tea all as pretty as the shop's contents.
The leading spa brand’s little gem of a boutique in Mayfair's Lancashire Court, opposite its bigger sister, the Elemis Day Spa (currently shut for renovation and due to reopen in May). Book Mum a BIOTEC facial or a relaxing massage in advance, then on the day drop her off at this white-washed salon, where she'll be plied with fine herbal tea, whisked downstairs into one of the small but serene treatment rooms and pampered like a princess. While she's treated like royalty for an hour or so, you can merely pretend to be royalty and mooch around the posh shops of New Bond Street.
If your mum tends to spend meals out commenting on the soft furnishings rather than the starters, finish the day at Mayfair fashionista magnet Sketch. The venue’s casual-but-still-classier-than-most Gallery dining room was revamped in 2013, with input from Turner prize-winning artist Martin Creed. The furniture and tableware are all eccentrically mismatched, which – as Mum will no doubt inform you – is so hot right now.
This buzzing area at Stratford's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is home to all manner of companies and institutions (think BT Sport, UCL and Big Data tech firms) but it's becoming best known for its food and drink output thanks to a very decent bunch of restaurants and street food spots. Hungry Here East visitors can get stuck into wings, chicken burgers and sides at Randy's Wing Bar, rustic Italian trattoria fare at Gotto, from the same people behind Mele e Pere, a British menu with plenty of foraged bits and bobs at Shanes on Canalside and breakfasts from a Canalside outpost from reliable chain The Breakfast Club. And to drink? Craft beer (and more) from Mason & Company, cocktails and retro arcade games from Four Quarter East and cold-pressed juices from Mother.
Venue says: “A new foodie quarter in Hackney Wick, Canalside at Here East offers a diverse mix of independent restaurants and retailers.”