I've always wanted to visit Taste of London - zillions of the Capital's restaurants, lined up in one (Regent's) park, so you can try their tastiest dishes all in one go: yum.
So today we joined the hordes doing just that - and since I wasn't sure how baby-friendly it would be, and thought others might too, here's our verdict...
Taste is set up like a foodie festival - it's all open air and there are 'streets' of covered stands, some huge and freebie-packed (thanks Green & Black's and Lindt, I'm chocolated out for the next.... ten minutes), some small producers and start-ups - all serving food or drink. (I actually reckon you could get tipsy on the freebie ciders, wines, and vodka alone... hic). There are break-out areas with picnic tables and chairs (though not really enough of these) and a few big exhibition-type areas where you can watch big-chef cookery demos - although since tiny man didn't fancy napping today, we didn't catch one of these!
Practical tips: bring a sling rather than a buggy. There are paths laid out along the grass, but they're fairly narrow and - especially if you go on the weekend - packed with people. Also many of the stalls are raised up a bit - again, there are ramps but these can be congested- with a sling instead you can nip in and out (and make your babe giggle, hard, as ours did by bopping along to the music sprinkled throughout).
Tip two - if your babe is weaned, take a travel high chair if you need one - there aren't any here and I find taking this super-light one is easier than trying to feed in a buggy/sling/on laps etc.
Next up - wear wellies, if you're going this year anyway! Taste's got muddy - Glasto-style - thanks to this week's endless rain storms. Go off-path and you get mud seeping into your shoes. That meant I couldn't let tiny man run around, which is his favourite thing - but you can't legislate for London weather.
Overall verdict? We had a great day out. It's definitely baby-friendly rather than baby-focused - you'll have to take your own facilities etc and buggy-steering can be tricky - but tiny man looooved staring at the busy scenes, the people, tasting the million free samples (we basically ate the strawberry stand out of business), and watching this amazing fruit-carving dude:
And we loved gorging on top food (highlights were duck bao, Theo Randall's aubergine pasta, Duck and Waffle's soft scoop, smoky barbecue grub, sticky chicken wings... yum.
So if you're wondering about visiting Taste of London with a baby - do, but plan ahead, and go on one of the weekdays if possible, as they're obviously less rammed than the weekends. Oh, and take an empty stomach...
* We visited as guests of Taste of London