Describe your area in three words: Trendy, suburban, artsy.
Coolest coffee spot: The Brockley Deli. I love their avocado on toast with a coffee (and always with extra bacon), and they’re very child-friendly. They have lots of baby foods and healthy ice lollies for the little one, as well as the cakes and babyccinos that my big one loves. They’re flexible and can adapt their menu to suit little appetites.
Best family-friendly restaurant: As a treat, I thoroughly recommend Babur on Brockley Rise. The modern Indian cuisine is superb. They were great with my little one when we took her; the waiters played games with her and set up her own little table so that I got plenty of time to enjoy dinner with family. However, we also go to The Brockley Barge (the Wetherspoon pub) quite a bit for brunch. Its great for children as they have bottle warmers, a microwave, colouring sets and a children’s menu (my little one loves the cheesy pasta and it’s got some veg hidden in it so I’m happy), and it’s really cheap. I get my avocado on toast and my husband gets a massive fry-up. it meets the needs of the whole family.
Favourite park or green space: We are lucky enough to live right next door to Telegraph Hill Park, with lovely green spaces, a great view over London and a little toddler-friendly play space with the Telegraph Hill Playclub next door. The club is open every morning except Sunday and is very popular with local mums. They have events for special occasions such as Halloween and Easter, which is great. I also frequently take my children to Goose Green in East Dulwich for a run around and a play in its fantastic adventure playground; or to Peckham Rye Park, which is very beautiful and has a fantastic-looking adventure playground opening in June. Once in a while we also go to Nunhead Green or Hilly Fields – we have a lot of options when it comes to parks.
Best local museum or gallery: The closest museum with lots for children to do is the Horniman Museum & Gardens. We recently enjoyed their Colour: The Rainbow Revealed exhibition and before that The Robot Zoo. The gardens are beautiful, the cafe is pretty good and my big one loves the taxidermy. Both girls enjoy pressing all the buttons in the music gallery, and there are also butterflies and a zoo. They have a variety of events – recently we went to the Horniman Mela where they had some excellent storytelling. Also fairly local, we enjoy going to the Museum of London Docklands with its free Mudlarks toddler play area. My little one loves the water play.
Coolest kids’ shops: Gently Elephant on Brockley Road. It’s dangerous to go in there and every time I do I spend too much money. They have some lovely toys and books, as well as high-quality children’s shoes. The staff are a bit hit-and-miss; some of the women are super-helpful and sometimes they are just chatting together. We’ve bought such an eclectic selection of things from there, including a torch, a hedgehog ball, dog colouring books, elephant hair-clips and shoes.
Favourite under-5s class/activity: This is more for the mums than the babies but the best class I’ve discovered is The Smart Chameleon at Honor Oak Community Centre. It’s an exercise class for mums with children of any age and there are toys that are suitable from birth, including a big soft-play area that’s suitable for kids up to five (or older). The instructor is so friendly. It’s a shame that I can’t get there more often due to work. It’s only £5 a go! They also have a plethora of children’s activities at Punk Me Up Cafe on East Dulwich Road. As it only runs during term time, I’ve only been able to make it to the Les Petits Tigres French class with the baby. She absolutely loved it – it was a mix of storytelling and singing with sensory toys in French. The teacher was very kind. We also wish we could go there more often!
What makes your area great? It’s full of young families and all the local businesses are geared towards them. You can take your children anywhere and be warmly welcomed. There is a lot of green space – we moved here from Clapham in order to have a garden but we also have a lot of park options. Brockley is well connected, with trains taking 10 minutes to central London, so we can enjoy that or use the travel connections to go further afield.
What’s the best thing about living in London?: The endless possibilities of places to go and activities to do, with or without your children – lots of which are completely free (even if I rarely make the most of all the opportunities)
And the worst?: Trying to navigate public transport with a pram. And the amount of traffic on our road.
Follow Sarah at @thelondonmommy
Photo credit: Sarah Issuree