5 Fantastic Things to Do at Christmas in Covent Garden, London

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Thanks to our guest correspondent for this lovely post – Sian Gwilliam, Founder and Editor of Creative Bus Stop: A guide to London for families. Featuring a weekly events diary, educational activities, crafts, travel


Covent Garden is one of the most popular shopping, relaxing and entertainment areas of London. You will find it perfectly formed, and always welcoming. On the map it is situated between St Martins Lane to the West, (near Trafalgar Square and Charing Cross Station), and neighbours the very heart of theatre-land and the famous Drury Lane to the East.

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Tower of London Poppies


Tower of London Poppies

To commemorate the centennial of Britain’s involvement in the First World War – Remembrance Day, a spectacular art installation entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red has been created by artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper at The Tower of London.

888,246 ceramic poppies are gradually filling the Tower’s moat – each representing a British military fatality during the war. Every evening, the Last Post is played at sunset and names of of those who died in combat are read aloud.

The final flower will be symbolically planted on 11th November.  It’s such a breathtaking commemoration that I urge you to go and see it before this masterpiece is dismantled on 12th November.

Scroll down to see the arial video to get an idea of the full scope of this incredible art installation!
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Christmas at Selfridges, London – 2013


London is magical at this time of the year, and Selfridges on Oxford Street is no exception. Stopping by the department store to admire the Christmas windows is a family tradition sure to delight children and parents alike. This year’s windows include a giant jar of Play-Doh and an ode to Barbie.

My personal highlight is the giant gingerbread reproduction of a fantasy version of London called “Lost London”.

The edible city took 353kg of Biscuiteers gingerbread, 1245kgs of icing and royal icing sugars, over 80 litres of golden syrup, 85kg of caster sugar and 400 hours to be designed, baked and built. A masterpiece not to be missed!

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Columbia Road Flower Market – London

On Sunday mornings, families make their way to East London for the quaint and beautiful Columbia Road flower market!

From 8am, this Victorian cobbled street is transformed into an oasis of foliage and flowers. Everything from bedding plants to 10 foot banana trees are up for grabs. Alongside the market is a growing number of independent shops selling everything from pastries and homeware to jewellery and toys. The shops all have a common thread, a love of the flower market and its history, and “a refusal to be dictated to by a retail world where the sense of fun has all but gone.”

And if you're heading back home via Shoreditch, don't forget to stop by Story Deli. This yummy place is a breath of fresh air with its large wooden tables, cardboard stools and delicious pizzas.


Leandro Erlich's Installation Lets us All be Spiderman

Look at those crazy kids playing at being Spiderman! Or, so it appears… Leandro Erlich's brilliant installation, Dalston House, allows people to interact with a building's facade placed horizontally on the ground.

Argentine artist Leandro Erlich was commissioned by the Barbican in London to install a version of his wildly popular optical illusion that creates the visual effect of instant weightlessness. Using a wall of giant mirrors propped against a huge horizontal print of a Victorian terraced house, visitors are free to climb and jump around as their reflections appear to move freely without the pesky effects of gravity. The piece was erected in Hackney just off Dalston Junction on a disused lot that has remained vacant since it was bombed during the Second World War.

The experience is free to all visitors and will remain up through August 4th, 2013. One more reason I would love to visit London again very soon!

All images courtesy the Barbican


Kidsen Store – London


Founded five years ago by Swedish born Corina Papadopoulou and her husband Franco Ofili, Kidsen is one of the leading children’s stores in London.The shop carries some of my favourite clothing brands including Bobo Choses, Mini Rodini and Soft Gallery, together with a selection of footwear, interiors, toys and gifts. Kidsen exudes a relaxed and friendly vibe, allowing you to browse some of the coolest collections around.

If you don’t get the chance to stop by Kensal Rise where they are located, check out their online shop, with both UK and international shipping available.




The Big Egg Hunt This Friday – Covent Garden!

A very warm welcome to our brand new London correspondent, Tabara N’Diaye!  This is her first post. Tabara is the founder and editor of Bubble and Speak, a blog dedicated to children’s fashion, home products and daily inspirations.


Now in its second year, the world’s biggest Easter egg hunt . The Big Egg Hunt, challenges children and parents alike to find 101 eggs across the UK, whilst raising vital funds for Action for Children. The two and-a-half-foot high fibreglass eggs have been designed by leading artists and feature some of the country’s best-loved children’s characters including Peter Rabbit, Peppa Pig and Moshi Monsters.

Come down to Covent Garden from this Friday, collect your Hunt Book from one ‘eggspert’ and start looking for the giant eggs hidden around the area. After April 1st., they’ll be auctioned off to raise money for Action for Children.





New “No Added Sugar Shop” – London


For those of you in London or visiting there, one of my fave British labels has recently launched their first shop in Ledbury Road in Notting Hill. I would really love to visit this shop – it has the same quirkiness about it that I love in their clothes. The address is, 57 Ledbury Road, London, W11 2AA. And it’s open seven days a week! Check for operating hours on the No Added Sugar site.



“Kids’ Space” Opening at Conran Shop – London



I just heard that The Conran Shop are finally on the parent bandwagon and from Sept 20 will launch a special new ‘Kids’ Shop’. I am a longtime fan of JC and would love to be able to browse those 650 children’s interiors products with items like the Marc Newson minimalist white rocking horse (above) and the charming Canal House wardrobes (which I blogged about here). The ground floor will be transformed into an amazing children’s wonderland with neon-painted play sheds, candy coloured sheepskin bean bags and tree house bunk beds.

The Kids Shop at The Conran Shop, Michelin House 81 Fulham Road, London, Greater London SW3 6RD