It's been 53 years since the original Mary Poppins popped onto our screens with her magical bag and flying umbrella, but it’s time for a grand return! Now played by Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns sees the fantastical nanny revisit the Banks family in 1930s London.
Here’s how to have your very own magical Mary Poppins experience in England’s capital that is (as our favourite nanny would say) practically perfect in every way.
1. Take in the magical sights on a walking tour
Discover behind-the-scenes stories from the new film and details from the original Mary Poppins books and film on the new Brit Movies Mary Poppins tour, launching in 2019. This unique tour will take you through the streets of London and the locations used in Mary Poppins Returns, while a knowledgeable guide offers behind-the-scenes info and facts. The two-hour walking tour, which is family friendly, will take in famous landmarks that you’ll recognise from the original movie and that have appeared in the sequel’s trailer, including the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral.
2. Stop by the house where it all began
Celebrate Mary Poppins’ origins as a children’s book character with a visit to P. L. Travers’ London house; her series of eight books on the magical nanny were adapted into Disney’s original film. P.L. Travers lived in the house for 17 years, which is said to have inspired the look of the Banks’ family home in the original movie. The house has now been commemorated with an English Heritage blue plate to recognise Travers’ important role in English literature and London’s history.
3. Enjoy a spoonful of sugar (or more)
You’ll get much more than just one spoonful of sugary treats at this creative and delicious afternoon tea at Aqua Shard. Launched to coincide with the rerelease of the five original Mary Poppins books, this afternoon tea of nostalgic sweets and savouries is available until April 2019. The menu is a gilt gold framed mirror menu (as the mirror is a recurring symbol throughout the books), and tea is delivered on a custom-made stand with an umbrella on top and silver booted feet below.
Feast on traditional homemade scones with jam and clotted cream, as well as unique sweet treats like Fairground Candy Floss. Order champagne with the tea and be charmed by the kite that flies from the champagne flute before adding ‘medicine’ to the glass, with the choice of three homemade liqueurs. It’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
4. Fly a kite on Parliament Hill
The trailer from Mary Poppins Returns includes a spot of kite-flying – which will have you humming Let’s Go Fly A Kite! from the original movie in no time. Of course, you can fly a kite across many of London’s green spaces, but if you want to soak in the views of the celebrated London skyline at the same time, head up to the top of Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath, north London. Even if you’re unable to find a kite or don’t trust your skill, you can take in the views while watching the kite enthusiasts that turn up most evenings.
5. See the city from above the rooftops
Bert took Mary Poppins up to the rooftops of London to show her the view of the capital through the eyes of a chimney sweep, but you can gaze over the capital’s magnificent skyline in a far more sophisticated manner. London has many rooftop bars with panoramic vistas over the capital’s rooftops. Try out the Rumpus Room on floor 12 of South Bank’s Mondrian Hotel for its awesome view of St Paul’s Cathedral, or the Radio Rooftop Bar at ME London for 360 degree views of the capital. The Rooftop St James’ is another great option, due to its central location overlooking Trafalgar Square and its handy retractable roof.
6. Order a bespoke umbrella
What is Mary Poppins’ favourite mode of transport? Umbrella of course! While owning a flying umbrella is just a dream, you can have your own bespoke brolly created at one of London’s historic establishments of fine craftsmanship.James Smith and Sons, just off Regent Street, has been designing and making high-end umbrellas (think handles of exquisitely carved wood) since 1830. Its ornate storefront has become something of a tourist attraction too!
7. Catch the return of Mary Poppins in the West End
Once you’ve watched the sequel, you’ll be inspired by all things Mary Poppins, so you’ll be glad to hear that Mary Poppins is returning to the West End in Autumn 2019! Booking for the show at the Prince Edward Theatre (which hosted the show between 2004-2008 too) opens in January 2019 and will star Zizi Strallen, who will step back into Mary’s shoes having played the role in the international tour.