“Where is Crayford?”, you may ask. Well, it’d be a good question. I wouldn’t have known the answer a week ago. But the answer is it’s in the London Borough of Bexley, and a swift visit there ticked off another line in my boroughs challenge.
Technically we’d already done Bexley. On the drive down to holiday, I’d been overjoyed to see a sign on the A2 telling us that we were in one of my missing boroughs…but the kids were asleep and it was dark and no time to stop. So, Bexley whizzed by in a blur of roadside. There was a fairground at one point, but that was just over the border so may even have been in Greenwich. Safe to say, it was nothing to blog home about about. That’s why I decided to stop properly on the way home from holiday and see what a small part of Bexley had to offer.
Not that it was very far into the borough of Bexley. Crayford is about as close to the edge of London as you can get from a Camber Sands kinda direction. With 2 minutes to go on the SatNav, the signs were still telling me we were in Dartford. But we spotted the sign above with seconds to spare, and parked up at the Tower Retail Park. I had big plans, but first…a stroll.
Not far away from where we’d parked was the Crayford Waterside Gardens, a quite recently developed community space on the banks of the River Cray. It’s not huge but I thought there’d be enough space to have a run around and maybe a game of Pooh sticks.
Although it’s small, there are lots of interesting little features like seats inscribed with poetry:
A vintage tea room:
And an ampitheatre full of winos. Yeah, that wasn’t ideal. I thought we’d be able to have a bit of a play there, but it felt like we might be intruding somewhat. The kids skipped about on these paisley print stepping stones instead:
And then had a bit of a sit down:
By then, the winos had been joined in the park by a gang of youths so it was probably time for us to move on. There was a reason we were eschewing the tasty-looking tea and cakes of Lindy Lou’s. We had somewhere to be.
Oh yes. Trust me when I say we were all excited by this prospect:
As it happened, we very nearly got a double Nandos – a technical blip with the till meant that, just as we got to the groaning-stomach stage of spicy eating, another two plates appeared. Sadly we had to send them away again. We all love a Nandos but even we have some limits. Unlike the frozen yoghurt, which was both unlimited and mango flavoured – the best of all the frozen yoghurts. A little orange light on the machine made me worry that we were in for a repeat of SuttonColdfieldNandosYoghurtGate but it was OK. It was working fine.
After gorging ourselves, we felt like it was best to have another walk before getting back in the car. What else could Crayford offer us for child-entertainment at 6PM? In the words of Eva’s friend Bunny – I know! Bunnies!
Nathan didn’t believe me when I said that there were real live rabbits at Pets at Home, but he was wrong. Eva didn’t believe me when I said the rabbits wouldn’t be dancing, but she was wrong too. (“Are they dancing bunnies?” “No, just hopping ones” “Maybe they could hop as they dance!” I know who I’m blaming for this particular fantasy. The same girl I’m blaming for my flooded bathroom)
Dancing or otherwise, bunnies certainly were there to be looked at. Also gerbils, hamsters and assorted other rodents. And a whole aquarium upstairs!:
Ah, there’s nothing like a Pets at Home for some free entertainment. Who needs the zoo?
So, that pretty much exhausted the possibilities of early evening Crayford with a toddler but we had fun. On the way home, we went past Bexley Town Hall, which is a touch less brutalist than the Waltham Forest one, but good to know we’ve seen the sights.
Four boroughs and a week of “summer” to go…