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London with kids? Here’s one I tried earlier…

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One of the clutch of van Goghs at the National Gallery. Your starter for 10, name it!

If you love the idea of London with your little darlings but can’t bear the hassle of it all, here’s a really stress-free way of doing it.

Get ye to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. If your kids are old enough they’ll have studied a few of the paintings and will therefore show willing for the first 30 minutes. If they’re too young to care, they can run amok through the halls. (If you’re on your own, what the hell are you doing? Go up Regent’s Street, left onto Oxford Street and straight into Selfridges, lady!)

We had a fantastic morning seeing Van Gogh, Constable, Monet, Turner, Seurat and other artistic grandees, all for free. It probably took an hour and a half to walk around our selected artists (Rooms 43, 44, 45, and 34 trivia fans), so nothing too taxing, and even on a half-term Friday I found myself one-to-one with the paintings.

We grabbed sandwiches from the NG cafe (they do kids boxes) then sat on the grass at Trafalgar Square near the fourth plinth to eat them. Admired the ‘living mural’ outside the gallery (below). Watched an Australian gymnast doing his act, ignored a rubbish mime-artist and listened to a bonkers rendition of Katy Perry’s ‘Fireworks’ on the bagpipes.

My youngest was in raptures stuffing his hands in the freezing fountain water and terrorising pigeons . The oldest scrambled up and down the lions by Nelson’s Column. Best of all, we were home for tea.

Total cost: a tube ticket and £20 for lunch. You beauty!

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