The Bakerloo Line isn’t always fast and you’ll swelter in the summer, but I think a lot of Londoners feel strangely fond of it, in part because it stops at so many places we associate with days out as children: the zoo, the South Bank, Madame Tussauds. Unfortunately for those of you travelling with a buggy, the Bakerloo Line doesn’t do too well on the accessibility front: I have many not very happy memories of dragging myself and the pushchair up and down the narrow staircases and passages of Paddington. Hopefully the suggestions below, in the fourth of our Tube series, will make up for it.
These are not exhaustive lists, so contribute your own suggestions on our Bringing Up Great Kids Facebook page.
Harrow & Wealdstone Headstone Manor and Museum
This museum shows the history of Harrow through the ages. There’s a dressing up box and an art cart for younger visitors. The Moat Cafe wins major pretty points.
Wembley Central: Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium offers tour slots through the day where you can explore behind the scenes. Afterwards, head to Boxpark Wembley for some street food.
Wembley Central: Partyman World of Play
The ball pond of dreams and some incredible climbing to be done at this play centre. Big discounts for parents of twins and multiples who are TAMBA members.
Stonebridge Park: Ace Cafe
Kensal Green: The Lexi
The Lexi is a social enterprise cinema that donates its profits to charity. It does baby screenings on Monday mornings and matinee screenings in the school holidays.
Kensal Green: Parlour
Spacious neighbourhood restaurant that knows its clientele well enough to have colouring kits and plastic cutlery on offer. The blue cheese custard is tasty and service is very friendly.
Kensal Green: Kensal Green Cemetery
One of London’s Magnificent Seven cemeteries, Kensal Green is home to residents including Trollope, Brunel and Thackeray. Also many Victorians with eccentric names.
Kensal Green: Mini Picassos
An art school for drop ins, classes and parties.
Queen’s Park: Queen’s Park
Queen’s Park itself is lovely: solid sandpit situation, good climbing kit, a mini zoo featuring a body positive rabbit called Arabella, and a cafe that does a mean babyccino.
Afterwards, head to the The Alice House for their exceptional cheeseburger.
Maida Vale: Paddington Recreation Ground
Head here for some high quality dogspotting (Old English Sheepdogs a specialty) and it’s also got a brand new (and very instagram worthy) playground.
Warwick Avenue: Clifton Nurseries
A secret garden hidden in W9, Clifton Nurseries also has an in-house cat, a toy corner, and so many plants and flowers that you can spend hours learning names and prodding venus fly-traps (gently).
A short walk away is the canal life of Little Venice
Behind the station and closest to the Hammersmith And City line exit, you’ll find the Paddington Central development. The huge Bluetooth-enabled eggs you’ll find here are a dream for people under ten: sit inside the egg with a coffee from one of the nearby cafes and listen to your favourite songs (yes, we listen to Peppa). Pergola offers a range of street food options and staff are really helpful with high chairs and buggies.
For children old enough not to throw themselves into the canal, rent a GoBoat. It’s not cheap, but up to eight of you at a time can set sail.
Baker Street: Phoenix Palace dim sum
The place to recover from queueing for Madame Tussauds, this could be London’s most child friendly restaurant. A million highchairs good to go, super speedy service and fantastic dumplings. The yam in XO sauce is my favourite, the red and gold decor is my son’s favourite.
Baker Street: Baker Street station
If your children are Tube fans or history nuts, it’s hard to beat a trip to Baker Street, with its war memorials, ghost signs and Sherlock Holmes tiles.
Oxford Circus: Wigmore Hall
Wigmore Hall holds concerts for toddlers where they can learn about instruments and how to make even more noise.
A huge amount of TLC and ribbon hanging goes into making Piccadilly Waterstones’ children’s department this wonderful. We always come out with five times as many books as we planned to buy and at least one fluffy cat.
Charing Cross: The National Gallery
All your favourites in one glorious place, plus an excellent shop to avoid if you don’t want tantrums about rainbow pencils.
Charing Cross: The National Portrait Gallery
A hit with older children and teenagers for the celebrity portrait spotting opportunities.
Waterloo: The Southbank Centre
Poetry, puppetry, acrobatics, music and dance: it all happens here. And if you have a baby with you, there’s a lot of space where you can plonk them on the floor to crawl around. If you want to meet up with an NCT group or similar while bigger children play, the ground floor cafe is excellent. The London Aquarium, the London Eye and Jubilee Gardens (wooden Highland cows to ride yes please) are very close by.
Lambeth North: IWM London
The Imperial War Museums’ South London arm features planes, boats, enormous guns and an improvised Army sofa
Archbishop’s Park Highly-rated playground in a historic park that looks especially fetching in Autumn.
Elephant & Castle: Mercato Metropolitano
Not just a place to have lunch that doesn’t mind if your child throws food on the floor, Mercato Metropolitano also has an urban garden and holds events on sustainability and community.
The Castle Centre has a newly refurbished pool, gym and sports hall. The pool and gym have sessions that are free for all Southwark residents.