Looking for the best places in London to take babies and young children? Gill Crawshaw of A Baby on Board is part of our new Blog Network and here, she shares her top five places and spaces in the city.
You may know the Tate Modern as just an art gallery, but it’s actually a brilliant place to take children, too. The vast Turbine Hall is great for toddlers to run around and investigate - plus the ground floor restaurant has lots of space for prams and does a decent children’s menu with some non-chip options. The exhibitions are colourful and visual enough for even small children to get into. Watch out for their little wandering hands though. Is it art? Not to a two-year-old…
Once the site of the actual Crystal Palace, the park is now home to a big playground, sphinx sculptures, a maze and a museum, all watched over by the Crystal Palace mast. It’s our favourite of all the south London parks due to the farm and has seen everything from the Olympic Torch to an inflatable Stonehenge in recent years. Oh, and whatever you do, don't miss the Victorian dinosaur models.
You can lose hours at the Horniman. Children – and adults – love it. As well as the exhibitions and permanent collection there’s a giant, stuffed walrus (with its own Twitter feed), an aquarium with fluorescent jellyfish, an outdoor animal walk and awesome views over London that are soundtracked by the sound of children playing on the outdoor instruments.
4. The Paxton
Looking for that rare gem of a good London pub that’s also child-friendly? As well as lots of lovely stuff on the inside, The Paxton also has a beer garden and a children’s play area, and was the site of many mums' meets during my maternity leave.
Hidden away in the basement of the Science Museum, the Garden area is suitable for even very young children and has giant building bricks, a climbing frame and a whole host of sensory activities and a water feature, all designed to teach science through play. There’s also the Bubble Lecture that’s both fascinating and fun. It can be hellishly busy in the holidays, though, so go during the week in term time to beat the huge crowds.
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