Wandsworth Common

So half-term is upon us and when you are Mum to 2 under 3s this presents a challenge.  All of your usual hang-outs are rammed and the other kids are much bigger so unless you don’t mind your babies getting trampled you need to find a new activity.  Whilst I am a massive fan of our local park, I must confess, with the weather the way it has been I have been avoiding it over recent months and favouring more inside activities.  Still with The Terrorists climbing the walls and a play date due with a good friend and her own Terrorist we decided it was time to re-find our ‘park life’!

My local park is Wandsworth Common.  It is a 5 minute walk (or 20 minutes if The Bear is walking!) so we packed up our things, bundled on our warm waterproofs and wellies and off we went.

First port of call were the paths around the edge where the Toddler Terrorists spent a fabulous 30 minutes re-discovering their love for their scooters (which have been much neglected over recent months).  As Bollie is still bum-shuffling we kept her entertained with The Bears’ ‘bucketful of dinosaurs’ (which absolutely had to come with us as Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaursis currently our top book)which she put in and out of the bucket and threw to passing dogs!

Scooting in the park

Scooting in the park

Next stop was the playground which was, oddly, quiet.  With a pair of waterproof trousers (the pair that Bollie is wearing are fleece lined and from Jo Jo Maman Bebe) Bollie gets to join in here and is thrilled with the swing and slide.  I have to say I sometimes forget how much young kids love the simple things (and how immune they are the cold and dirt)!

Wow - we forgot how much we love a slide!

Wow – we forgot how much we love a slide!

We then take our buckets and spend the next 30 minutes collecting ‘treasures’ (i.e. any item on the floor which takes our fancy!).  This is an eclectic list including (a baby pine cone, some rotting leaves, a sticker which another child seems to have discarded and what looks like an eraser!  I have promised myself we will use these this weekend for an art project so they are now sat by my front door waiting for my moment of divine inspiration!

We are starting to flag so we head to the ducks where we get rid of all of our stale pitta bread and ‘shoo shoo’ the mean goose who is big on stealing it all before the other ducks get a look in!

We are starting to flag so we head to the ducks where we get rid of all of our stale pitta bread and ‘shoo shoo’ the mean goose who is big on stealing it all before the other ducks get a look in!

Feeding the ducks in the park

Feeding the ducks in the park

Final stop is the café for a baby chino and a brownie treat before we head home, playing hide and seek between the trees and jumping in every muddy puddle we can find (Peppa Pig has a lot to answer for!) on our way.

Who doesn't love chocolate brownies!?

Who doesn’t love chocolate brownies!?

Suffice to say both Terrorists slept like the dead and I earned myself 2 quiet hours to do chores (mainly washing all of the muddy clothes we created!).

‘Park’, I salute you, you’re free, you provide endless fun (or in our case about 3.5 hours) whatever the weather and I promise I won’t neglect to visit you for so long again!

Top Tips – on weekends (at any time) and on weekdays (any time other than between 10am and 11am) you can park on any of the roads of off Burntwood Lane for free.  This puts you about a 5 minutes walk from the Common.

If you really fancy treating the kids, head to the South West corner of the park where Belvue Road meets Trinity Road and a couple of minutes’ walk South (away from the Common) on Trinity Road is a fantastic old fashioned sweet shop that has a super cute tea room (Flavin’s Tea Room) complete with vintage china.  It is every child (and every Mummy’s!) dream! – http://flavinstearoom.vpweb.co.uk

Falvins tea room

Falvins tea room

Time to visit – on a wet and muddy day it is probably no more than half a day, but if you go in the summer and want to check out the exercise equipment (i.e. pull up bars etc – meant for adults but loved by children!), the tennis courts and bowling green then you could make a full day of it

Highlights – the duck pond on the South side of the common is awesome with little board walks running through it and a little (toddler height) fence to make feeding the ducks a (relatively!) stress free experience.  There is also a very good playground with a section for toddlers and one for older kids in the middle

Getting there – Wandsworth Common Station is the nearest.  It is an overland station and does have lots of steps but there are usually people willing to help you out.  Otherwise go to Clapham Junction and walk / take a bus down the Northcote Road (worth a visit in itself – see below) and it is just a short walk up any of the roads to your right past Battersea Rise

Pushchair access – whilst it can get muddy there is a great network of paths for pushchairs so the whole Common is very accessible

Price – Free!

Food and Drink – in the middle of the Common is ‘The Common Grounds’.  It is a big white building and you can’t miss it.  It is a little run down inside but does great food and is very reasonable.  It also hosts toddler music groups etc.  This is the best place in the common for baby change and toilets if you don’t fancy the public ones.

There are also a number of options on the Belvue Road which runs on the Southern side of the Common and has a great selection of pubs (the Althorp is especially nice and very child friendly with fab food) and Cafes (Prestige Café has a great selection of cakes and good coffee)

Other attractions nearby –The Northcote Road in Clapham Junction for its boutique kids shops and cafes and restaurants.  Belvue Road for a smaller version of the same

Baby facilities – there is baby change in the Common Ground Cafe (in the middle) or the Althrop and the Hope pubs on the South side.  There are also plenty of benches and due to the high volume of mums often a lot of breast feeding ladies in all of the cafes and restaurants



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