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Ten genius ideas for Mother’s Day in London

The day your mum’s been waiting for comes around on 19 March. This year, why not do a bit better than a card and some flowers? Here’s the High Life-approved, ultimate list of the top ten activities in the UK capital this month that are perfect for a memorable day out with your ma (or any other lady in your life)


Take afternoon tea

There are few better ways to top off a walk on Richmond Park than stopping at Petersham Nurseries, but for a special occasion like Mother’s Day, head straight to its Teahouse for an afternoon tea with a twist. Kick things off with a glass of rose-petal Prosecco, then embark on the savoury snacks assembled atop a variety of breads – crostini, sourdough and focaccia all play a part, along with a standout mackerel pâté. The pâtisserie is equally exhilarating, with miniature plum and thyme cheesecakes and meringues on offer. Crumbly buttermilk scones complete the courses, served with a seasonal jam (the apple, pear and ginger is particularly lauded) and lashings of clotted cream. Wash everything down with a pot of giardino tea – a calming mix of rose, strawberry, lemon verbena, marigold, cornflowers and spearmint. And if you’re staying central, the Covent Garden branch offers afternoon tea, too.

From £45 per person (£55 with Prosecco), Friday-Sunday only, advance booking required

Tuck into tea

Catch an exhibition

The V&A’s latest fashion blockbuster is on a long-overdue – and mindbogglingly huge – subject: the textiles and design history of an entire continent and its diaspora. This month is your last chance to catch Africa Fashion, which saturates the gallery’s central atrium with a celebration of colour and fabric. Starting in the 1960s and taking you up to the present day, the show spans two floors of photography, video and gorgeously preserved fashion items – from Ami Doshi Shah’s chunky salt-crystal necklace to Kofi Ansah’s tightly tailored cocktail dresses in bold Ghanaian prints. The V&A’s own Dr Christine Checinska skilfully curated the whole show with identity and Blackness at its heart, finishing with beautiful visions of Afrotopia: an optimistic, equal and technicolour future fuelled by fashion.

£16 per person, until 16 April

Get exhibition tickets

Have a dinner to remember

Take your mum on a multi-sensory culinary adventure, at the new M Symphony experience in Canary Wharf. Across a six-course menu, everything edible is paired with a drink and a symphonic soundtrack inspired by the location of the food’s origination, with smoke, texture and different temperatures thrown in to keep you on your toes. The meal begins blindfolded, but don’t worry: the first dish is Champagne served five ways, so you know it’s going to pass the taste test. Each following course comes with a sensory surprise: Caprese salad with burrata ice cream, a course that meditates on the colour black by removing colour from the room entirely.

£295 per person (plus service charge)

Feed the senses

Perfect the art of Kintsugi pottery

Experience the Buddhist philosophy of embracing your imperfections (known as wabi sabi) at this workshop that’s about mending broken pottery rather than making it. Though in traditional kintsugi, you’d choose ceramics already in need of repair, half the fun here is using a hammer to crack your bowl or plate first, ideally into four fragments. Then the sincere steps begin: putting the pieces back together with lacquer and powdered gold. The fix-ups are accentuated instead of disguised, symbolising strength and healing. One of the best parts? Your take-home treasure comes straight from Tokoname, one of Japan’s largest pottery-producing villages.

£50 per person

Practice the art

Go for a luxury facial

A mother and daughter walk into a spa. An hour later, they walk out looking like sisters. Well, not quite, but you get the idea. The facial wizardry at the Aman Spa at The Connaught, an Edwardian grande dame in Mayfair, delivers a masterclass in glow. The armoury of equipment used in the Advanced Facial looks positively scientific, but the experience is blissfully serene (just keep your eyes shut). Using Aman’s new skincare line, based on rice bran and indigo extracts from Japan, the facial kicks off with an ultrasonic scrubbing device that gently purrs as it gets to work on removing nasties from the pores. An electrical muscle stimulation mask, cryo-bulbs and sublime manual techniques are all put to use to stimulate and firm up muscles, while a mineral mask feeds the skin, and special hydrogel brightens the complexion. You’ll feel like a new woman.

£230 per person

Get that glow

Gorge yourselves at the world’s first doughnut atelier

Any bakery that bandies about the word ‘atelier’ means business. At the first UK outpost of legendary Israeli bakery Donutelier by Roladin, which opened in London’s Charing Cross in January, you can treat your mum to much more than a row of Krispy Kremes. Its luxurious, pillowy creations displayed beneath glass domes are all prepared in house and are anything but ordinary. Be tempted in by the wafting aroma of sugar and hot dough, then choose between pistachio, Black Forest, vanilla cookie cream and more. Just try saying no to a mascarpone cream and salted caramel-stuffed St Honoré topped with white chocolate Chantilly cream. Takeaway boxes are delicately prepared in batches of four, six, nine or 12 – but good luck sticking to a small selection here, with pastries, ‘cruffins’ and coffee on offer, too.

Doughnuts from £5 each

Grab a bite

Buff up your Bake-Off skills

If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to level up your Instagram grid and treat your mum to one of London’s sweetest experiences, hand-iced biscuit gifting brand Biscuiteers has the answer. In its new branch in Belgravia, you can both spend two hours in a special icing class (kids are welcome, too) while tucking into finger sandwiches, delicate pastries and beaucoup de fizz with its Great British Afternoon Tea. Don’t hesitate to stock up on some beautifully iced biscuits while you’re there – they’re great presents for anybody, not just your mum.

£90 per person for a two-hour icing session

Decorate some biccies

Make a beautiful bouquet

Flower arranging is a creative skill – one that both you and your mum will be able to get joy from (and looks incredible) for years to come. In this easygoing, ever-so-slightly hipsterish evening class in Hackney you’ll learn how to prepare each stem for the longest life possible as part of a bouquet, by slicing them diagonally, stripping them of extra foliage and stacking them at just the right angle to construct a strong base. Then, you’ll experiment with the true artistry of bouquet-making: creating the perfect mix of flowers and foliage, to come together in a gorgeously rounded shape. Happy? It’s on with the decorative paper and ribbons – and it’s all washed down with a glass or two of Prosecco. Blooming wonderful.

Workshops from £85 per person

Say it with flowers

Have bottomless brunch

‘Does your mother know?’ asked Abba in 1979. At Blame Gloria, she certainly will when you take her along to its Bottomless Abba Brunch, complete with an entertaining drag MC and two West End singers belting out the band’s greatest hits. Sip endlessly refreshed cocktails (we recommend the Aperol spritz), or Prosecco if you prefer, in a cool and kitsch underground Covent Garden bar, where you can join in as much (or as little, should the word ‘immersive’ bring you out in chills) as you like. Super (trooper) fans will clean up at the ‘guess the song’ quiz, while more casual Mamma Mia enthusiasts can enjoy a bite to eat while taking in the thoroughly enjoyable show.

From £49 per person

Get your Abba on

Blend your own signature gin

Behind an imposing, Victorian façade is this four-storey gin mecca, just a five-minute walk from Portobello Road market. At the Ginstitute, you can both fully indulge in mother’s ruin – and create a signature bottle of gin, too. The experience starts downstairs at the bar (not in a bathtub), complete with cosy booths and liquor barrels. It all kicks off with a few gin-based cocktails and a crash course in the spirit’s origins and journey to being the trend drink of the 21st century. A trip to the distillery comes next, where you’ll taste, smell and touch the botanicals (juniper, coriander, angelica and orris root are the big four) before choosing between dry, spiced and citrus flavours. With the help of an instructor, your unique gin will be ready in minutes to name and take home. But don’t take off just yet: pair your tipple with modern British dishes at the in-house restaurant before retiring to a boutique hotel room complete with a mini-bar (guess what’s in the fridge?), record player and vinyl.  

£120 per person

Mix your own gin

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