It's the bank holiday weekend - time to raise our glasses, plastic baby cups/bottle and toast the end of the summer. Here's to the end of one season and the beginning of the smells and sights of Autumn.
So what to do, what to do? Well, we are not sensing any major free local events to go to! Perhaps I'm missing a trick. So I'm just going to have to suggest some general local free things and some other events a bus ride away!
SATURDAY (24th August)
So Saturday, if the sun is out head to Slade Gardens, Robsart Street, SW9 in the Stockwell/North Brixton area (Bus 159, 3 133 and 59). It's a rather small flat piece of land with several playgrounds, from a recently added one for the under-fives, to the big adventure playground next door.
It certainly suits a family with kids of different ages who want to let off some steam. It lacks a bit of shade and really can't compete with the big parks, however, take a picnic and unleash the children and it might keep everyone happy for a couple of hours.
Parents, you can always stop in the new pub the Crown and Anchor, by the exit onto Brixton Road. It's children friendly so you can get some lunchtime food for the kids, and for the grown ups, they have a wide range of beers, ales and ciders for you to try (not that I'm encouraging you to get drunk whilst parenting!). No baby changing facilities and the toilets are downstairs, however they are probably the nearest set of loos if the children are doing the "I need a wee" hop.
Of course, this is very much an outdoor activity and we know what the British summer is like, so for something in doors, take a visit to the Tate Britain. A number 2 or 88 bus ride across the river takes you to view some art. Fabulous.
And they cater for a wide range of ages! Liminal is a family event every weekend betweeen 11 til 3pm. Go to the information desk for details. Website says it " invites families into a physical, material and social experience of sculpture through touch, interaction and collaboration" so basically a chance to not have to tell the children not to touch the artwork. Sounds good. I'll check that out soon and properly review it!
SUNDAY (25th August)
If you don't do local and want to travel, this weekend is the Leonard Street Party at Shoreditch... yes, I know it sounds mile away but it's only a bus route from Brixton or Clapham. Yes, the 35 takes you to the home of the hipster. From 12pm to 8pm, there'll be music, DJs, food and games. Not specifically aimed at children, it probably works better for parents with buggies rather than a gaggle of toddlers. So whilst the little one is locked in her baby wagon, you can bop around the pushchair like it's a handbag and stuff your face with streetfood. Cool!
Of course, if you in the area, check out the Hackney City Farm or Spitalfieds City Farm - both a walk or bus ride away. I'm not going to write them up as, well, we are starting to spread out of the realms of local. So links included and you can make your own mind up.
What if you want to be local, well one for parents with buggy bound children is the Streatham Society local history walk - an opportunity to learn a few local stories and meet some of your neighbours. The walk starts at 2:30pm at Streatham Station. Buses to Streatham include the 109, 50, and 159.
MONDAY (26th August)
We mentioned farms earlier and a not so local but not too far away farm is Deen City Farm near Colliers Woods. So from any of Lambeth Tube stations, make your way on the northern line to Colliers Wood. Then follow the signs to Merton Abbey Mills which sits on the River Wandle. You can stop there for a bite to eat or look at the shops and the water wheel.
But on, on, find the Wandle, and take a walk up it, heading away from Wandsworth and up towards Carlsharlton. The farm isn't too far away (though alternatively if you drive that might just be easier....) Anyway, on Monday, the farm has a summer extravaganza with a BBQ, stalls, games and a bouncy castle as well as the usual farm animals to look at. On the couple of occasions I've been, they have had a white peacock - very impressive (probably more for the grown ups than the kids). And the adults get to make funny noises at the animals, something that isn't so easy to get away with when one is childless. This outing works best for the littleuns in buggies or with older children. There is probably a bit too much walking for toddlers.
Usually I try to list the free and cheap however I thought I'd throw this next event in here. It is free for under 15s however does cost £14 for adults. It is the Festival of Flowers at Southwark Cathedral (from 23rd to 27th August). This is probably a nice thing to take a little one to as there is opportunity to see and smell a variety of flowers in a beauiful setting whereas the older child might just find it all rather boring! Buses to Southwark Cathedral are the 133 and 35 - get off at London Bridge.
Have a good bank holiday and let me know if you visit any of these places!