Marylebone

Sundays in Marylebone are one of my favourite days out in London, as that is when the amazing Marylebone Farmer’s Market is open.

This neighbourhood is such wonderful delight for people of all types, big and small, active and more sedentary.  There is a wide range of culture and a wide range of shopping to go along with all the wonderful outdoor and indoor places for little ones to play.  If you come mid-week, during term-time check out the playgroups before hitting the shops.

Weekly Rota of Baby and Toddler Groups in Marylebone:

(more reviews and details to come, please ring ahead to confirm times and pricing)

Scroll down a suggested itinerary

paddington playground marylebone

 Monday –    Portman Centre, Drop in playgroup: 9 – noon, then lunch from noon – 1, play from 1 – 3, free

 General Swim, Seymore Leisure Centre, 9 – noon and 2 – 6,

 Jungle Play Area, Seymore Leisure Centre, ring ahead to confirm availability

Tuesday

Marylebone Library, Tiny Tots, 0- 2, 10:30, free

 Portman Centre, Drop in playgroup, 9:30 – noon, then lunch from noon – 1, play again from 1 – 3:30

 General Swim, Seymore Leisure Centre, 9 – 10:30, 11:30 – noon and 2 – 6,

 Jungle Play Area, Seymore Leisure Centre, ring ahead to confirm availability

Wednesday

General Swim, Seymore Leisure Centre, 9 – noon and 2 – 6,

 Jungle Play Area, Seymore Leisure Centre, ring ahead to confirm availability

Thursday

St. Mary’s Church, playgroup – there is a waiting list for the 9:30-11am session but there is likely room in the later session from 11:30-1pm.  £3 per session or £25 per term.

 All Soul’s Clubhouse, Drop in playgroup, 0 4 yrs, 10 – 11:45, £2

 Portman Centre, Drop in playgroup, 9:30 – noon, then lunch from noon – 1, play again from 1 – 3:30

 General Swim, Seymore Leisure Centre, 9 – noon and 2 – 6

 Jungle Play Area, Seymore Leisure Centre, ring ahead to confirm availability

Friday

Marylebone Library, Under Five’s Story Time, 3:45, free

 St. Mary’s Church, playgroup – there is a waiting list for this 10-11:30am group, £3 per session or £25 per term.

 Portman Centre, Drop in playgroup, 9:30 – noon, then lunch from noon – 1, play again from 1 – 3:30

 General Swim, Seymore Leisure Centre, 9 – noon and 2 – 6

 Jungle Play Area, Seymore Leisure Centre, ring ahead to confirm availability

 

St. Mary’s Toddler and Carer Group

St. Mary’s Church, Bryanston Square, Thursdays 9:30-11am and 11:30-1pm.  Fridays 10-11:30am.  £3 per session or £25 per term.  Waiting list for the morning sessions, but there might be room in the later Thursday session.  Please contact Rachael or Jenny on 0207 258 5040 for more information

  •  Great baby and toddler group, with a great big space for children to urn and play, and well-resourced with different activity centres.
  • Big drawback: there is a mandatory buggy park at the top of a long flight of stairs.  Your buggy will be parked just inside the door off the street and you have to get you and your children to the lower ground floor.  The group is full and each week everyone happily complies.
  • Great facilities for nappy changes and toilets. Kitchen facilities available, if needed.
  • Espresso machine on site.
  • Tube: Marylebone, Baker Street
  • Bus: 2, 13, 30, 74, 82, 139, 189, 274, 18, 27, 205, 453

http://www.stmaryslondon.com/Groups/19860/St_Marys/Belong/Toddlers/Toddlers.aspx

This playgroup is the best one in Marylebone, if you can contend with the steps and the buggy park.  The group is largely nannies, but lots of local mums do attend.  There is a great space and lots of quality resources for a great play session here.  The morning is structures and feels a bit like a mini, pre-nursery session.

In addition to selling real lattes, the great bonus to this playgroup is that Paddington Gardens Playground (see review below) is located just a few moments walk away.  If you take lunch there, they have a few picnic tables in the children’s play area and lots of benches where you can eat.  Also, if there is rain, there is a lovely covered gazebo lined with benches where you can easily pass twenty minutes with food and other distractions.

The group controls the number of children allowed in each session and so you need to sign into a waiting list for the early Thursday or Friday session, unless you want to come along to the later Thursday session.  Contact the Church Office for more information by emailing rachael@stmaryslondon.com or ringing 0207 258 5040.  Ring beforehand if you are coming for the first time as occasionally the group is cancelled because of external events in the church.

Portman Centre Drop in Playgroup

Portman Early Childhood Centre/Church Street Children’s Centre, 12 – 18 Salisbury Street, NW8 8DE, 0207 641 5444 or 0207 641 5436, Mondays 9 – 3 with lunch from noon – 1 (bring your own), Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays 9:30 – 3:30 with lunch from noon – 1 (bring you own), free

  •  Amazingly resourced Westminster Children’s Centre, the space is just like a nursery
  • Buggy park is down a flight of stairs with little space for a double buggy, then the playgroup is on the first floor
  • Coffee, tea, food making facilities
  • Excellent changing facilities and toilets
  • Tube: Edgware Road, Marylebone
  • Bus: 6, 16, 98, 332, 414, 139, 189, 2, 453, 18, 205

http://www.portman.org.uk/information.htm

This is an amazing facility that is well staffed and resourced.  The room for the drop in centre has all kinds of wonderful play centres: a home corner, a large and permanent sand box, water tables and toys outside, a home corner with wooden furniture.  Each play session, the staff puts together fascinating tactile activities for the children like a try full of lentils with spoons, pans, funnels for children to pass them through.  There are dressing up areas, a library and an art area with an organized art project.

Further, if you need direction for finding your way around the neighbourhood with children or guidance with sleeping, eating or parenting, the play group is amply staffed to help.

Aside from the stairs, the place is a really nice space to take two children.  Once you are upstairs, there are so many friendly, helping hands that you could easily manage two children there.

The lunch hour is a time when you and your children can sit and share a packed lunch with others in the group.

There is a toy library for borrowing toys and a multi sensory room fir babies that I have not seen or visited, if you ring up they can give you more information about it.

Also, Regent’s Park is not a far walk from the centre.

Club Kids Group

All Soul’s Clubhouse, 141 Cleveland St, W1T 6QG, use the Greenwell Street entreance , 0207 255 9755, Thursdays 10 – 11:45, £2 per child, under 1’s 50p

  •  Very nice and well organized group
  • Great buggy park, just inside the door, next to the hall where the playgroup is held
  • Coffee, tea
  • Changing facilities and toilets
  • Tube: Great Portland Street, Warren Street
  • Bus: 18, 27, 30, 205, 453, 88, C2, 10, 14, 24, 29, 73, 134, 390, 7

http://www.allsouls.org/ascm/allsouls/static/clubhouse/children.html

This is a very sweet and well organized playgroup.  There is water tray with aprons, a dress up area, art tables with an art project, library, and a large “café” with tables and chairs where parents and carers may sit with the children while they have their fruit and juice at snack time.

After snack time they do some more structured play.  While we were there, they coordinators played a great colour game with the parachute that was great fun for children of different ages and abilities.

There are lots of nannies at this playgroup, but a really important one for meeting local mums, as the area is a bit undeserved.

Also, Regent’s Park is just a short walk away.

Seymore Leisure Centre

General Swim, Seymore Leisure Centre, Seymore Place, W1H 5TJ, 0207 723 8019

  • Buggy friendly, ramp to enter the building, just a little pinch getting through the locker room door
  • Nice locker rooms and changing facilities
  • Not a good pool to take two children to as the water is over 1 metre deep and you climb in from a ladder
  • Tube: Marylebone
  • Bus: 6, 7, 15, 16, 23, 36, 98, 414, 436

http://www.courtneys.co.uk/centres/Seymour

The Seymore Leisure Centre is not what I would classify as a “destination” pool for babies and toddlers, but they do offer lots of times when you can take your child swimming.  The pool is designated more for people to swim laps, so the temperature is cool.

There is also the Jungle Play Area for ages 8 and under, open from 10 – 6 daily.  You need to ring ahead and make sure there are no parties booked for the time you would like to go.

The Jungle Play Area is a room with a giant cushioned climbing frame with slides, ball pits, a really good place to have a great play, adults and children alike.

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Neighbourhood Playgrounds:

 

  • Paddington Park Playground
  • Playgrounds in Regents Park

Paddington Steet Gardens

 Just off Marylebone High Street, on the other side of the parking lot behind Waitrose, just down the street from Ginger Pig and La Formagerie, lies the Paddington Gardens and inside the gardens there is a wonderful playground.

 Once you have discovered this hidden jewel, you will try and proselytize your friends, convincing them that once they know about the hidden playground at Marylebone, they will want to go all the time.

 The playground is such a delight.  There is an amazing canopy of Plain Trees so that even on a warm day, the playground remains cool.  Also, if the rain is not too heavy, the playground is protected.  There is a very large gazebo, in case it does rain.

 The playground has really good equipment, the climbing frames are not good for the under two’s to play on unsupervised.  For the little ones, they have pretend phones, a pretend shop, tunnels to crawl through, a small rock climbing wall and two sets of swings. 

 Older children can choose from a large tyre swing, climbing rocks, three very different climbing frames and spinning toys. 

 There are two sets of picnic tables to eat at, but they are in high demand. 

 The playground has one gate from which to enter.  If parents wanted to take turns and go off shopping, the kids have a really great place to pass the time. 

 

Suggested itinerary for Marylebone

Museums

  • Wallace Collection
  • Madam Tussaud’s

Attractions

  • Royal Academy of Music
  • Wigmore Hall

Shopping

  • Marylebone High Street
  • Marylebone Farmer’s Market
  • St. Christopher Place
  • Oxford Street

Parks and Playgrounds

  • Regent’s Park
  • Paddington Playground
  • Seymore Leisure Centre

One great luxury of coming to Marylebone for the day, is if you come with another adult, you can easily get some adult time to wander off and enjoy the neighbourhood.  Just off Marylebone High Street and Paddington Street, is the Paddington Street Gardens Playground.  This is a great place for children big and small to enjoy a morning while the adults take turns shopping in the amazing clothing, food and chocolate boutiques, enjoy the Wallace Collection, or even enjoy part of a free mid-day concert at The Royal Academy of Music (check online listings http://www.ram.ac.uk/Pages/default.asp).

Regent’s Park is near-by and a great place to spend the day or buy a picnic from Marylebone High Street to enjoy there.  The park boasts four playgrounds, paddling boats, fantastic manicured gardens and fountains.

A bit of a walk, but the Seymore Leisure Centre has an indoor play gym.  If the weather doesn’t cooperate, it’s a great back up to the playground.

About once a quarter there are children’s concerts, Chamber Tots, at the Wigmore Hall.  The children watch a short performance in the hall and then go downstairs to a workshop where they learn a song and play instruments.  It is an absolute delight.  Contact Wigmore Hall for the details as you need to speak with someone to book a concert. http://www.wigmore-hall.org.uk/visit-us

 

Just beyond Wigmore Hall is St. Christopher Place.  This charming, well-hidden pedestrianised street is a real treat for families with small children.  Our favourite toy store, Petit Chou has the most amazing range of wooden toys and the owner, Iveta, is the most amazing “toy consultant”.  If you go in and describe the kind of child you are shopping for, she can find the perfect gift for them.  At the bottom of the street is a mini piazza with terrace dining, perfect option if you are eating with wiggly small children.

St. Christopher Place empties onto Oxford Street.  I am not a fan of Oxford Street as it is so busy its difficult to get a pushchair down, the shops are packed … but loads of people love shopping on it.

I have not been to Madam Tussaud’s yet as I have been put off by the cost, unfortunately, I do not have any information to share.

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