New Motherhood. A time of new priorities, new schedules and new friends. Whether you took the plunge into ante-natal classes or not, chances are you will have acquired a new group of mum friends somewhere along your pregnancy. You may have had little else in common till now apart from a vague due date and matching food aversions, but this is now your tribe and your fortnightly NCT meet up, your therapy.
But where to go as an army of under-slept mums and bulky bassinets? Lattes al fresco on the pavement of the King’s Road may no longer cut it with a bevy of babies in tow. The quest for fresh air, leafy grounds, changing facilities, buggy parking/accessibility and of course good coffee is paramount.
Luckily West London has you covered. Here are my favourite spots for mum and tot meet ups. All are accessible by public transport, do not require an entrance fee and are blissfully baby friendly.
Set within Bishops Park on the river at Putney Bridge, Fulham Palace is a hidden gem. Plan a summer picnic in the enchanting walled garden, bask on the terrace or warm up by the fires of the the Drawing Room cafe. Scenic walks a plenty, ample buggy space and decent coffee with a sprinkling of historic atmosphere.
The grounds of Chiswick House are extensive and dramatic. Why not walk off the weary nights and talk out the tantrums before hitting the cafe for a wood fired Sourdough Pizza? Run by Colicci, the contemporary cafe is roomy with copious indoor and outdoor space. The adjoining playground is a further bonus for older siblings.
Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park
Another often overlooked gem, Pembroke lodge boasts one of the best terraces towering on high ground on the western edge of Richmond Park. A summer sun trap, enjoy views out to Windsor and Sunnymead from the Sun terrace or enjoy the quaint and roomy tea rooms in bad weather. This Georgian house really is a beautiful setting for your meet up. Onsite Parking available.
A stones throw from Pembroke Lodge, it would be hard not to include Petersham on this list. It may not have the limitless buggy space or leafy grounds of the other locations but it does have a a charm of its own. A gardener’s oasis and hub of curated loveliness, Petersham is essentially a posh garden centre with oodles of rustic charm. Enjoy coffee and cake in its shady cafe, peruse the plants or paw over the designer homeware. If you are in need of a walk head out along the river which will lead you back to the hustle of Richmond. Onsite Parking available.
The Pear Tree Cafe, Battersea Park
Created by two of Petersham’s cohort of chefs in 2016 The Pear Tree cafe has been a welcome addition to the already popular hotspot that is Battersea Park boating lake. Unlike the other listings where you could be forgiven for thinking you had left London altogether, Battersea park is a true urban delight. Follow the city joggers for scenic walks riverside, past the Pagoda or through the tropical gardens to work off your lunch or why not enjoy something a little stronger on the lakeside with the funnels of Battersea Power station looming in the near distance.
Battersea park also boasts a fantastic adventure playground and is home to the Children’s zoo ( admission fees apply) for older children. Onsite Paid Parking available.
Morden Hall Park
A little bit further out but within easy reach if you are based south of the river, Morden Hall Park offers a welcome getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. Hugging the banks of the River Wandle and dotted with wrought iron footbridges, this romantic expanse of greenery is alive with nature and wildlife. The Stableyard Cafe is well equipped with baby facilities and buggy space as well as a fabulous selection of ice cream. A ‘natural’ playground as well as neighbouring Deen city Farm are also available if you need entertainment for older children. Onsite Paid parking available.
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