I’ll admit we haven’t been up to much lately – I’m still recovering a bit from the epic LWAT 300 weekend, where we hit almost every E postcode in the matter of a few days. Just thinking about it makes me tired. So, this half term we’re taking things slowly and trying not to get wet shoes every day. If you’re venturing out, why not check out the Rainy Day Guide I wrote just before Eva was born. Gosh, that seems a long time ago now…
But let’s turn our mind to sunnier things because as recently as last week, I was worrying about sun cream and bountiful water supplies rather than worrying about the bountiful water supplies stored in the turn-ups of my jeans. We’ve been to a whole load of new parks – a lot of them in our new East London hood – and I thought I’d do a round-up of them here, instead of giving each one its own post. Quite frankly, some of them we only visited for a few minutes because I was busy stressing about an invoice or something but we got a few pics.
Let’s start in North London, with Chestnuts Park, Haringey. I only went there briefly with T’s Mum and T but isn’t it nice? So colourful and spacious, with one of those wobbly swing things where four kids can swing at once. There was a cafe there too, and it’s not far from Green Lanes where you can buy authentic Turkish apple tea – one of my favourite things. Of course, I have my tech support monkey trained to visit Turkey every so often to bring apple tea back for me, so don’t tell him that I can get it in N16. It might take away his sense of purpose in life.
Dipping (barely) south of the river, here’s a park that we’ve been to plenty of times but never mentioned. It’s Little Dorrit Park, just around the corner from Roo’s old childminder in Borough and it has a climbing frame in the shape of a train:
The literary-minded among you might notice a Dickens reference in the park’s name. That’s not really surprising, given that Charles Dickens lived nearby…and in fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a road, pub or school that wasn’t named after him in some way. It’s not a huge park, but it has a toddler climbing frame, a bigger frame, a roundabout and a little bit of green space for picnicking. It’s very handy in a not overly green bit of London. As a bonus, you have
Subway Borough Market on hand for picnic food.
And so to the East. Since I started writing this post, I’ve managed to add another random park to our repetoire – it’s Coronation Gardens, in Leyton. Conveniently located next to Leyton Orient’s stadium and, more pertinently, the walk-in medical centre contained within its walls. Perfect for those toddler emergencies. Look, here’s Reuben enjoying the maze at well-past-bedtime o’clock today:
There was another maze in Chingford Memorial Park, which we visited for literally 15 minutes in between a giant work crisis and the school run:
Still, it looked nice and we’ll go back soon. Unlike a lot of Waltham Forest parks, it also has toilets. Bonus!
And then there’s the newly refurbished Vincent Rd park in Highams Park, which always excites Roo due to the “blue grass”.
He means the astroturf stuff, rather than a group of country and western musicians…but I think you’d probably worked that one out. The blue grass is very pretty but does have a tendency to give you a static shock when you open the gate after standing on it. Be warned. The park has been fitted out in that wooden style that’s so popular at the moment, but has retained an older-style metal climbing labyrinth:
There’s also some sensory boards, although the musical ones seem to have died already, and a collection of large white rocks that Reuben calls dinosaur eggs. And a climbing wall, randomly enough. The park’s right next to the stream and there is a hole in the fence for kids to climb through, so worth keeping an eye out.
We’ve also been back to Victoria Park, which has some new water-play features (and no, I wasn’t prepared). Last time we went it all still looked a bit under construction, so I thought I’d get some updated photos:
And yes, it’s still full of ironic-hatted Dads. Of course it is – it’s Hackney.
Finally, in case all of these parks seem a bit civilised for your liking, why not take a trip out to The Highams Park? There’s woodland, a massive lake with geese and ducks and a small playground:
The main attraction for kids though is the forest in which you can completely lose yourself, even though it’s only ten minutes from the station. I say it’s an attraction for kids – I was, naturally, petrified and rapidly updating my Facebook status so that someone would know where we were and be able to find us…or at least recover the bodies. You might not fear the forest as much as I do but either way, pack sensible shoes.
Eva’s squealing so I’ll end there. There are still so many parks in London to visit so there may be more of these random round-ups. I’m sure you’re thrilled.