You want to strike a balance between somewhere that will be fun for the kids without being earache or headache-inducing for your mate.
Heading out for a meeting with one of my buddies from south London, we decided to hook up in South Kensington as I figured if nothing else we could pop into one of the museums.
As I emerged from the station, the V&A was calling my name. I’d been planning to catch the Grace Kelly exhibition for months (it’s closing Sep 25!) and also I remembered it had a nice cafe and a courtyard in case the weather cleared up.
It was Monday mid-afternoon and by the time we got out to the Garden Cafe, the sun had popped out again and there were people frolicking in the giant paddling pool surrounded by water jets.
The John Madejski garden, designed by landscape architect Kim Wilkie, opened in July 2005. It’s such an unexpected treat to sit against this gorgeous backdrop, eating ice creams and watching the kids play in the water.
Before long, the rain forced us back indoors where we had deliciously chunky scones for tea in the truly fabulous restaurant. Stained glass windows, ornate lighting…this ain’t your average kids eaterie!
Still it’s extremely child-friendly as not only are there high-chairs and good grub for bubbas, but we didn’t get (m)any weird looks from staff and customers when Ezra and Jed left the table and began chasing each other around.
Obviously they still had energy to burn, so we headed back into the garden where the sun was out again and Ezra decided he was ready to take a dip.
The pool’s a bit large for Jed who, once in his nappies, changed his mind and ‘rode’ Ezra’s scooter around the edges instead.
We stayed out until it was time to close the garden and then made our way home, Ezra’s trousers soaking. We didn’t even have time to check out any exhibitions or even the kids’ activities and museum trail but still had loads of fun at the V&A.
Best of all I got to have some adult conversation in a very grown-up setting without compromising on my time with the babes.
The V&A is open 10am-5.45pm daily and 10am-10pm Fridays (selected galleries). The cafe is open 10am-5.15pm and 10-9.30pm (Fri). The garden cafe is open during summer from 10am-5.15pm.