Things to do and places to go to keep them entertained, all year around…
Queensbridge Leisure Centre
Toddlers world. 6mths – 5 years. This is a big bouncy castle, inflatable forest and lots of soft play. Perfect for a rainy day. Take a packed lunch – no café near by.
These are EXCELLENT resources for parents on Lockner. All activities are FREE, each children’s centre runs its own timetable. They run stay and play, messy play, cooking, baby massage and singing sessions, amongst others.
Mapledene childrens centre, Comet childrens centre & Seabrite childrens centre are all within 15 minutes walking distance from Lockner.
Dalston CLR James Library
This library was opened in 2012 and is kitted out with everything you could think of. They run school holiday activities, and have weekly story telling and music drop ins.
Kidzmania is an indoor play area near Clapton pond (short bus ride/25 min walk) with ball pond, climbing frame etc. It can get very busy at peak times. Personally I have found it to be perhaps a little bit grotty in the past.
I can not recommend this enough, it’s a ten minute walk away on Hoxton market. They cater for all ages with creative/storytelling/arts and crafts workshops.
This is a hidden picnic destination gem. Botanical garden, great café. They run a comprehensive school holiday programme for children of all ages.
Brittania Leisure centre – a 6 minute walk away. This is great for little ones as it is designed like a beach, so you can let them toddle around in the shallow parts. They have a wave machine that the big kids enjoy. Their swimming classes are very popular.
Clissold Leisure Centre – a bit further away, near to Clissold park, but brand spanking new and very posh. They have two children’s pools. The area for toddlers is very tiny though & only ankle deep.
Fantastic beautiful community garden opposite the Dalston CLR James library. Great place to picnic on a beanbag under a tree (bean bags provided!). They run children’s workshops during holidays and occasionally in term time – see website. They have recently started serving drinks/cakes.
Hackney city farm
Situated in Haggerston park, about 15 minutes walk away. They have donkeys, chickens, pigs, ducks and a couple of goats, I think. The café is excellent; so good, it can be hard to get a seat.
Spitalfields city farm
Perhaps a bit too far with a buggy & bored toddler to walk, I tend to get the overground to Shoreditch high street (3 stops) and walk from there. It’s a brilliant farm, with play area, and tree house to enjoy a picnic in. They have a much bigger variety of animals then Hackney city farm, its much bigger, with more of an ‘eco’ vibe – but no fancy café.
Swimming – lido, London fields
Brand new, excellent 50m outdoor pool, great for hot summer days (although beware, on very popular days they operate a 1 in 1 out queuing system), and you can swim with the steam from the pool (its heated) in the winter. Hot showers in the winter, very little shady area for little ones in the summer. Nice café.
Discovery Story Centre (a bit further afield in Stratford, but worth the journey)
New children’s play/story museum. Children go on adventures to space with storytellers, do arts and crafts, its very interactive and fun. Wonderful outdoor play area as well. Highly recommended. Note: to get to Stratford you are better off going from Dalston junction and changing than going to Dalston Kingsland, as Dalston Kingsland has no lift for buggies.
Highbury fields 1 O’clock club
Does what it says on the tin! Highbury fields also has a large playground, sandpit/waterplay, café with toddlers area and swimming pool. Across the road from Highbury Islington station.
V&A museum of childhood
Big museum, exhibiting all things to do with… childhood. Be prepared to be depressed to find all the toys you had as a child – in a museum case. Lots of interactive things to do, and a full school holiday events & activity programme on offer. Great café.
Of course, this list is by of no means exhaustive, just some things that I have enjoyed doing with my children. If you have any other gems to share with your neighbours, then email them into us firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will add them in! Many thanks, Lisa (Lockner Mum of 2)