Saturday, 26 February 2011

High Kicks & Low Life - a trip to the gallery with a toddler

Nothing exciting ever happens in our little old town, so imagine the joy when I heard that our local gallery were exhibiting the world famous Toulouse-Lautrec prints. The British Museum tour of his prints is currently at the Bedford Gallery until 10th April.

I grew up with posters of the French artist's lithographs adorning the walls up the stairs at home and so many of them were very familiar to me, although it has to be said these are the more commerical and aesthetic prints rather than his work which explored the underbelly of Parisian life.  Toulouse-Lautrec was described by a contemporary critic as "the quintessential chronicler of Paris".

 La passagère du 54, 1896. Colour brush, crayon and spatter lithograph.

Bedford Gallery staff (as I suspect most museums and galleries these days) are wonderfully welcoming, and it was a pleasure to take Ruby along.  She was happy to wander around gazing at the pictures and the 'nudey ladies' while I ambled round looking at the artwork and read the descriptions.

The exhibition is staged over two floors, with the upstairs hosting the Toulouse-Lautrec work and downstairs there is a further exhibition of his contempories. 

Eugène Grasset The Vitriol Thrower  1894  Lithograph

Ruby loved downstairs even more as there was a kid's area set up with crayons for her to colour in her very own lithograph, a dressing up rail so she could get into the Parisian vibe, and some French flash cards with colours and animals.

All in all, a fab afternoon. Entrance was free, and there was plenty to keep us occupied for a couple of hours. 

If you do visit, I can also recommend the new Riverside Grill restaurant just around the corner.  They have a lovely light lunch menu with great offers - we dined for £6 per adult for a main lunch meal including a glass of wine, and children under 7 eat free.

For more information on the exhibition and Bedford gallery, you can follow them on Twitter or their blog and for more on the Riverside Grill, they are on Twitter and Facebook.

This is not a sponsored post! I am simply happy to recommend both for a great family day out.


  1. Ahh looks like you had a great time, Ruby is very cute!
    Going to more galleries is on my list to do for this year, I love it and somewhere after leaving uni, and having kids I have forgotten that I do.
    Thanks for this extra reminder, and that of course I can take them with me!
    Justine, little Bugs

  2. That's great Justine! Thanks for dropping by and for commenting. Yes, it is not something I've done much of since having Ruby, but they were so welcoming! They also have brilliant holiday activities and craft workshops so it's worth checking with your local gallery what's on x

  3. Sounds like a lovely time was had by both of you. Museums are so welcoming nowadays and try to encourage children to enjoy them too. How wonderful to see the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition and especially nice to find a decent place to have your lunch afterwards.

  4. Hi Cheffy,

    Thank you. It made such a nice change - so different to what we normally do. But at least I've learnt that we don't have to go to the dreaded soft-play centre to have fun :0)

  5. Looks like a great day out. I've always taken my kids to galleries, museums etc.

  6. What a great day out. Love all the activities for the children, it makes all the difference! And £6 for lunch!!

  7. Thanks for your comment Onykahonie. I honestly don't know why I never thought of taking her before - I guess I thought she'd be bored and kick off!

    Sungglefeet03, thanks for your comment too. She had a great time with the dressing up rail! Lunch was really fab too, great food and a glass of nice wine for £6 - can't complain! x

  8. The cheapest, simplest outings with youngsters are the best. We've all had those days out which are geared 'specifically for toddlers' and ended up skint, embarrassed, stressed and shattered. I hope this post inspires many more parents to do a similar thing with their curious toddler. Thanks for sharing this. Lucy