AREA GUIDE: East Dulwich
This is the fashionable place to live in South-East London if you still enjoy - or rather have the energy or time to go out to - delicious restaurants and shopping 'til you drop. There are huge amounts of tasty places to test out, and it has a pretty perfect range of independent shops ranging from fashion to interiors (make sure you take a walk down North Cross Road). But it is also extremely kid-friendly, with several parks on your doorstep, including the extensive Dulwich Park being a short walk away. There’s no surprise that when you take a stroll with your buggy (and baby) down Lordship Lane that you’ll bump into lots of other mamas doing exactly the same.
1. French House
This French bistro is the perfect place to meet up with your NCT group or with other friends as the downstairs part of the restaurant has a small soft play area so you can let your babies/kids run free to their heart’s content (well at least in that small section) while you sit and scoff a bit of avocado toast and refuel on coffee. Only downside is the lack of room for buggies, particularly if you are trying to navigate a sleeping baby in said buggy down the steep stairs.
Baby cinema (see pic above). Embrace it in those early newborn days as boy you’ll miss it when your little one stops being so little and no longer will happily sleep on you for hours while you enjoy a film. This was one of TME’s weekly saving graces, knowing there would be no judgement if your baby decides to wail like a foghorn during the film. We’re all mamas here. Ahhh perfect. Although do expect to sometimes have no idea what is happening in the film if your baby decides they don’t fancy sleeping for the next two hours. If you fancy food before the screening, get there early and get yourself some brunch at the cinema’s cafe, it’s pretty damn tasty.
3. Goose Green playground
This playground (see pic below) is always teeming with parents and their babies/toddlers. Just off Lordship Lane, and handily situated near another strip of cafes/restaurants, the playground provides the perfect afternoon activity for your little ones. If they need to let off even more steam, then let them run free in Goose Green itself which although it’s on a main road is fenced off with railings, so has always felt very safe.
4. Brickhouse Sourdough Bakery and Cafe
This bakery/cafe reminds me of the cool places I would regularly visit for brunches pre-baby. But thankfully, while this place has all the trappings of my former haunts, it is also extremely baby-friendly. Lots of room for buggies, which it needs as this is definitely somewhere that attracts young families. Get a yummy sourdough sandwich with a coffee to keep you going for the afternoon. Only downside is that you’ll often have to wait for a highchair due to the huge numbers of little ones being taken here!
5. Dulwich Park
Definitely one of the best parks in South-East London. It’s extremely vast and amazingly well kept, and with loads of different parts to it, it’s perfect for letting kids of all ages explore! Expect to see lots of toddlers learning to ride their bikes, joggers aplenty and lots of screaming kids having the time of their lives . And an added bonus, it’s got a great cafe. Or if you fancy a short walk for lunch, head to Dulwich Village for some delicious food spots.