Slowly but surely my bestest pals are all moving to the burbs, me included. Which means finding time to hook up gets harder and harder, and with the offspring to also consider, finding a good meeting point which doesn’t require hours stuck on the M25 is an even tougher task. Step forward good old Greenwich Park.
The place holds fond memories for me and my friends, mainly involving university parties, boys and a lot of barfing. But now the barfing is mainly the reserved for the babies (although on this occasion there were a couple of close calls thanks to too many vinos the night before). Greenwich on the whole has a lot to offer, but I think the best bit with babies in tow definitely has to be the park.
The plan on this day was to pull together a picnic courtesy of M&S and set up camp in the playground so I could keep an eye on the toddler. We parked in the car park round the back of the Picture House cinema and from here the three of us moseyed to the shops to pick up an array of delights (mainly carb heavy due to the hangover). Be warned, Greenwich isn’t cheap and neither is the car park at a cool £2.50 per hour so bring lots of change. Now armed with a variety of sarnies we took the short walk to the entrance near the maritime museum. Only I had forgotten the bloody buggy board so laden with bags, plus a surprisingly heavy two year old who is incapable of walking any distance without tripping over her feet, it took a little longer. Sweating, I was happy to stop and gawp with Coco at the ship in the bottle outside the museum (a trip for another day) and stare lovingly at the mini coffee van next door.
Once inside the playground, we set picked a spot right next to the sandpit where there was also ample room to kick around Coco’s new spidey ball. The playground has lots of great equipment for kiddies of all ages including various different sized climbing frames & slides, swings, mini wooden houses and sheep (random), and a great wooden car that Coco was quite taken with (until an overzealous toddler tried to take the wheel. There was shoving). For those who are familiar with Victoria Park, it has a similar vibe. There is a small cafe inside the playground selling drinks and ice creams, plus there are also clean toilets within running distance, a big bonus for parents in the midst of potty training. However, Coco, clearly sensing her mother’s hangover, decided no picnic would be complete without a big poo on the potty right next to the picnic blanket. Delightful. I didn’t spot whether there were baby changing facilities, but as with most mums I wasn’t afraid to bare Raffy’s bum on the blanket and no one seemed to mind.
The downside, despite the fact a bloody runaway dog ate my sandwich (FFS!), was that as the morning drew on, the playground soon became overrun with lots of older school children on a day trip out to see the Cutty Sark or something similar. Resembling an overexcited pack of wild animals which had recently escaped from a zoo, the noise and general madness soon became too overwhelming for two sleep deprived mums and three little people, and we quickly made our move home.
Also, word to the wise, when planning your trip I would also factor in traffic around the Blackwall Tunnel. If there is an accident or a car breaks down the traffic can be murder and, at one point on this particular day, I was in serious danger of having a repeat performance of the “pee in the potty bag incident”, but thankfully the cars cleared just in time to save me from yet another embarrassment.
In a nutshell, I love Greenwich Park and it’s definitely high on my list of favourite days out with the kids, just be aware it is busting with tourists so it does get very busy. Here are some of my top tips:
- Should you be brave enough, and you don’t fancy a picnic, there are a whole host of restaurants and cafes in Greenwich to try out. The cafe at National Maritime Museum, just a stone’s throw away from the playground, is great and has good options for kids
- As well as the car park behind the cinema, there is also a pay & display nearer to the playground on Park Row, just off the Woolwich Road (SE10 9NW), but sadly it’s just as expensive
- The park is obviously ginormous and the playground is pretty big too so it’s perfect for a mummies day out on mass
- Be aware of the small boating lake just outside the playground. You can’t miss it but Coco did get a little too close for comfort as she went pegging out of the gate #paranoidparent
- Lastly, make sure you guard your sandwiches from greedy labradors (FFS!)
Do you have any tips to add or any other parks to recommend? I’d love to hear from you.
PS: Sorry for the lack of pics. Most of the morning was spent consoling my slightly overdramatic two year old due to various snatching & shoving incidents #toddlerwars #caringissharing x