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Get rubbed the right way in London

Brass Rubbing Centre projects (courtesy Christabelle at flickr's Creative Commons)A fun London activity for kids is deep inside the crypt of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square — the London Brass Rubbing Centre.

Rubbings are a way of putting an image on paper without damaging the item underneath. The ones used at the Centre are brass replicas of artworks depicting typically English people like medieval ladies, knights and St. George.

You put the paper over the image and rub with a special crayon, and the imprint comes out on the paper, which you keep. There is a small fee.

It’s harder than it looks because many of their replicas are very detailed and need a lot of rather hard rubbing; pick a smallish-sized item for the younger children.

The crypt also has a gift shop and a nice cafe.

St. Martin-in-the-Fields is well-known as a lovely place for music, both sacred and secular, so try to time your family’s visit to coincide with a concert (at lunchtime they feature works played by young musicians and students.) This is the home of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, a classical music group formed in 1958 and led by Sir Neville Marriner, so there are plenty of classical concerts but also some jazz.

The Web site has the full concert schedule. To get there, the closest Tube station is Charing Cross.

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