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Top five things to do in London: with your Gran

19 September 2012 | Emma Wright

Grans are very important people and for many of us, quality time with our silver-haired loved ones can be hard to come by. If you puzzle over how best to pass that precious time, look no further than London Calling's hot tips!

Your gran is coming to town and you’re drawing a blank. Or do you think the big city is too big for that special lady in your life? Either way: think again! We’ve made London more manageable for the both of you. Be your gran 60 or 90, loaded or strapped, sporty or arty; follow one or more of the tips below for a stress-free catch-up. You’re welcome!

1. First onto your itinerary must go afternoon tea: there’s not a person in the world who doesn’t enjoy a cuppa, least of all a gran. And since no one does ‘tea’ quite like the English, the capital is heaving with venues dedicated to this most delightful of pastimes. Choose from Fortnum & Masons, Le Chandelier or Drink Shop & Do. Depending on the size of your party, the latter provides the option of an accompanying workshop; craft items she can take home, from cake pops to pearl bracelets.

2. Do you have a musical fan gran? Lucky you! The two of you are spoilt for choice in London’s West End, where performances are widely acknowledged to represent the highest quality commercial theatre in the Western world. The 39 Steps, Top Hat or Singin' in the Rain are sure to trigger nostalgia reflexes, and entertain to boot. Why not take a look at our Special Offers for further inspiration?

3. Everyone knows a market is fun for all the family (except maybe Camden, which is for only the most liberal of grans). On Sundays, Columbia Road hosts a market smelly and frothing with foliage, from bouquets to trees. The (short) street is also entirely composed of lovely independent shops. South of the river is Borough Market; 'London's Oldest Fruit & Veg Market'. Over 100 stalls sell home grown/ reared/ crafted produce, quality-checked by a panel of impartial experts.

4. London is one of the world’s greenest capitals: fact. For the green-fingered gran, why not visit The Garden Museum in Lambeth? Devoted to British gardening history, this museum also has a fantastic garden of its own. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, are also worth a visit; including as they do (deep intake of breath) 121 hectares, 30,000 plus types of plant, 175,000 plus prints and drawings, 36 Grade II listed structures- in an internationally and historically important setting.

5. If you have an arty gran, London’s museums and galleries offer workshops and lectures on an array of subjects. You may choose to catch Nancy Crow- a leading figure in the modern art quilt movement- speaking at the V&A, or to drop into Somerset House to help award-winning illustrator Marion Deuchars create London’s longest drawing. The National Portrait Gallery hosts evening drop-in drawing sessions with contemporary artists- and so the list goes on!

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