Fun things to do for an adult's birthday in london

Ideas and inspiration for grown-up birthday celebrations in London

The problem of what to do for an adult birthday celebration in London is a nice one to have, as there is literally something for everyone in the city, from a graffiti street art experience to a poetry reading to cocktails on the River Thames. The difficulty, I suspect, is in the deciding rather than the finding.

I recently celebrated a {unmentionable} milestone birthday in London which involved a surprise appearance by an old friend and copious amounts of champagne at the Grande Dame of Piccadilly. The Wolsely is always top of our list when it comes to grown up celebrations, from brunch to cocktails right through to a late night post-theatre dinner! But for the purposes of this article I thought it would be a good idea to throw the net a little wider . . .

What should I do for my birthday in London? 

1. For the Instagrammer

If it’s all about Instagram moments on your special day, start your day off with Bethnal Green's Columbia Road Flower Market for a huge and bright bunch of birthday blooms - buy them for yourself or get someone to treat you, either way, it beats a balloon - before heading off to a leisurely brunch. There are plenty of wonderful options, but another of my favourites is Ottolenghi. They have a couple of restaurants scattered about the city, so just work out which is closest to where you are staying to minimise time wasted in transit, before heading off for some shakshuka!  

have fun at the columbia road flower market and eat a fantastic lobster burger for your birthday
Anything with the word “benedict” in it gets my brunch vote, so the idea of a lobster eggs benedict from Balans Soho Society sounds like the prefect bit of birthday decadence to me, they have a few different locations.

2. For The Lady (Or Gentleman) of Leisure

If slow-living and beautiful urban jungles are your preference try a laid back leisurely lunch option at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond and if you are really going to push the boat out and make it a birthday to remember you could book the venue to host a perfectly bucolic private event. 

Talking of boats, another private party option is The Electric Barge. Take your birthday celebration out onto the water and celebrate while slowly chugging along the locks and waterways of London, because in the words of our favourite Wind in The Willows character “Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”. Plus, The Electric Barge it is a non-profit organisation supporting the charity The Floating Classroom -  so not only a great venue for a birthday celebration, but good karma as well!

celebrate your birthday in london on a private boat or at the famous petersham nurseries                                          

3. For The Not-A-Morning Person

You could skip straight through to afternoon tea at The Goring in Westminster. There is no shortage of sumptuous afternoon tea venues in London but there is something special and quintessentially English about The Goring, where your tea is poured by attentive staff in a beautiful setting and the array of cakes and macarons are too plentiful to list. The whole affair can be topped off with a refreshing glass of Bollinger should you so desire.                                                                               

For an afternoon tea that is a little less steeped in local traditions and a lot more exotic, you could opt for some mint tea Moroccan style at Momo – I haven’t been, but it is top of my list for our next trip to London!     

enjoy a typical british afternoon tea at the goring or make it exotic at the momo, a marrocan restaurant                                                                             

4. For The New Skill Learner 

If you want to move on from your next birthday with a new skill under your belt there are a lot of workshops and events you can book with a party of friends – just have a flick around the site Funzing for some great ideas. This one teaching you and your party to make fresh Tagliatelle comes with dinner and a glass or two of wine. I’m a relatively new convert to cooking classes having done one on a recent trip to Marrakech so am now constantly perusing the pages of cooking blogs and websites for my next foray into the culinary classroom.

birthdays are the best occasion to pick up a new skill, have fun with one the thousands lessons at funzing

Funzing pasta lesson                                                                       Funzing fire eating lesson by funzinguk

5. For The Gin & Wine Lover

With summer making a tentative appearance in the UK it might be time to get out those cocktail shakers and slice up some lemons – this list of Gin Bars In London looks like a good option for a very grown up, very British and oh-so-London kind of birthday bash to me! Not going down the boozy birthday route intentionally, but continuing nevertheless - starting off your birthday celebration at the city’s’ only winery, London Cru, for a little grown up swilling and sniffing of wine could be fun?

make your birthday in London memorable with some gin and wine from the best places in town, London Cru is your first stop if you're a wine lover

Gin choice by londonginclub                                                    London Cru by londoncru 

6. For the Music Lover

Moving into the realm of music, if you want the chance to hum a few bars at your birthday bash you might want to have a look at what’s going on at The Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch. Not only is there good music but they also have some uber cool looking party options, from a private room through to an airstream caravan kitted out for a party of up to 25 – and if you are extremely organised you will have made sure you have  equally cool accommodation booked in Shoreditch to roll home to at the end of your Birthday celebrations.

If music is a must at your birthday head over The blues kitchen or go see the internationally acclaimed Broadway 42nd street

The Blues Kitchen                                                                                     The Theatre Royal

Anyone who knows me, also knows that musicals are NOT my thing – people breaking into random song saying things that would sound better spoken than sung . . . ? But if tapping your foot in time to the story line floats your boat then I would suggest you do it in style and book to see one of the many broadway shows on offer, and you can walk out of the show sashaying and doing jazz hands without a care in the world – it’s your birthday after all!

7. For The Iconic London Lover

What's best than a birthday party with one the most beautiful views in London? The Aqua Shard view really is unique

Aqua Shard

And finally, if a very grown up and sophisticated iconic London is how you want to remember your day, then you really should take your birthday celebrations up to the dizzying heights of The Shard. But first book yourself and a few of your closest friends into The Harpy Houseboat for a night -  sip a cocktail or two on board this beautifully renovated Edwardian pontoon before heading off for designer drinks and dinner while looking out over the city’s nightscape. An opportunity to get all dressed up and most definitely have someplace to go!

8. For The Luxury Lover 

It's only your birthday once a year, so why not treat yourself to a little bit of luxury on the special day with a stay in one of our remarkable Plum Guide homes in London. Take your pick from happening houseboats to plush penthouses to trendy townhouses. There's something for everyone. 

Many Happy Returns . . .


Banner image by Will Clayton, Pauline de Villiers Brettell: Tea in Tangier, Columbia Road by @jvdrw, Balans Soho Society, Petersham Nurseries by mgandhi, The Electric Barge by mr_peach84, The Goring, Momo, Funzing pasta lesson, Funzing fire eating lesson by funzinguk, Gin choice by londonginclub, London Cru by londoncru, The Blues Kitchen, The Theatre Royal, Aqua Shard

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