Hilary James & Simon Mayor

Welcome to this leading UK music site for children, teachers and parents.

As well as new songs to sing (visit our songs page), you’ll find pages packed with musical instruments, information and fun things to do.

‘Staying In’ Special with Hilary & Simon

Hello from our kitchen!
We’re having great fun making short videos for families – mums, dads, grans, grandads, and most importantly children. The plan is for a rolling series of songs, tunes, poems, drawings for as long as we’re all staying in… or until we’re both exhausted!

More on the Staying In page.
Here’s the latest. Hope you enjoy.

Up In A Big Balloon

This is the first in a series of programmes based on our songs. Over 20 minutes of singing, animation, and a drawing lesson for Simon!
Includes information on the science and history of hot air balloons.

Thank you for sending in your own drawings of balloons.

Click to see them.


Simon Mayor & Hilary James

The Spider In The Shed

…and a shorter one. This is one of our most popular songs for all the family.

Simon and Hilary have worked as presenters, songwriters and musical directors for BBC TV and Schools Radio programmes (Play School, Playdays, Green Claws and The Song Tree.)

Simon is one of the world’s leading mandolin virtuosos and composers for the instrument, as well as a fine fiddle player and guitarist.

Hilary has ‘one of Britain’s finest voices’ (BBC Radio 4) as well as an unusual taste in bass instruments. See her amazing giant mandobass.

As well as touring the world playing concerts and festivals they have over 30 years experience of visits to schools, performing to pupils of all ages.

For news of other recordings by Simon Mayor and Hilary James of folk, classical, swing and blues… and lots of mandolin music… visit mandolin.co.uk and folksong.co.uk

 Musical Mystery Tour Albums

Musical Mystery Tour Albums‘Splendid musical fun.’     The Daily Telegraph

By train, tractor, bicycle or even hot-air balloon – the Musical Mystery Tour introduces you to a lively collection of characters and places. Discover snowmen and kings, parrots and flamingoes, sleepy sheep and weeping willows – and even a donkey who can’t-can’t do the can-can!

These delightful, witty songs are guaranteed to capture the imagination, and will be enjoyed by children of all ages – from 4 to 104!

Shop / Reviews / Sound clips

Lullabies With Mandolins

Lullabies With MandolinsA bedtime collection of traditional songs and classical tunes, graced by Hilary’s sublime vocals and laced with Simon’s peerless mandolin playing. This is definitely one for the Mums and Dads too.

‘Exquisite, magical, delicate, intriguing are just few of the words to describe the stunning performances on the album Lullabies With Mandolins.’     Roots Review

Shop / Reviews / Sound clips

Play School – 50th Aniversary Reunion

Play SchoolSimon and Hilary were the last guest presenters to appear on BBC’s Play School just a few months before the doors and windows on the Play School House were finally boarded up in 1988.        

The aniversary reunion was organised by Paul R Jackson, keeper of the Play School archives and supported by the Children’s Media Foundation.

Read more and see the pictures.


The Parrot Song

One of Simon & Hilary’s best-loved songs from the album Gobble! Gobble! Gobble! can now be heard both in English

and in French…

Colour The Parrot
If you’d like to colour Hilary’s drawing of the parrot please click here.
More pictures to follow.

Make Time For Music

Creative Steps articleHilary James’ article Make Time For Music (PDF file) offers some great ideas on how to give children the musical start they deserve.

First published in Creative Steps magazine.

Two Rhyming Picture Books (with CD)

I'm A Parrot and Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!Based on songs written by Hilary James & Simon Mayor. ‘I’m A Parrot’ and ‘Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!’ are also illustrated by Hilary and contain music with ukulele chords and a singalong CD.        

‘Giggles galore! …contains everything that will intrigue little ones… most definitely a winner.’
Sweet Craftiness

Shop / Reviews   (Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!)