Hot town, summer in the city. OK, so technically it’s autumn in the city but the second day of September was a darned sight hotter than most of August (25c in Borough) so we were off in search of a paddling pool. Specifically the mythical Paddling Pool of Pimlico. I had heard about it from this blog, which is a similar kinda idea to this blog but far more professional, but didn’t really believe I could find it. The residential area just off Vauxhall Bridge Road doesn’t look like the kind of place you’d find such a gem. I asked a friend who had lived in Pimlico and had a small boy and she agreed it was something talked about in hushed tones but no-one had ever been there. So, it was with some trepidation that we set off. It was a very hot day (did I mention that before?) and walking the mile or so to Pimlico with no guarantee that there was a paddling pool at the end of it was somewhat of a daunting quest.
And it was not easy to find, that much is true! Disappearing up the wonderfully named Posonby Place off the embankment, we took a left in order to get off a pavement that had suddenly become three steps high and very nearly ended up on Vauxhall Bridge Rd (not the intention). So, with the vaguest of instincts, I turned the ship around, headed down Causton St and lo and behold, the green metal railings rose out of the housing estate like the Emerald City.
It was everything I’d hoped for. Paddling pool! Sand pit! Slide! Swings! The paddling pool was a decent size and depth (my calves, Reuben’s torso) and pretty clean. One of the filters was making the weirdest squelchy noise, like a monster lived inside it, but I tolerated it and Reuben positively loved it. And talking of things I tolerated and Reuben loved, there were also some schoolkids there. School-age kids are the bane of a toddlermama’s life. Except the little angels I’m related to, obviously. It’s weird -when you have a newborn baby, toddlers look so big and confident and stompy. Once you have a toddler, you realise that they are still quite fragile compared to 10-year-olds divebombing off the sides of the paddling pool. I tutted as they repeatedly splashed our buggy and Roo’s dry clothes. Roo hooted with laughter as they pushed each other over and shouted “go go go” as one of them was preparing for another divebomb in. Win some, lose some. They go back to school next week, right?
So, the rest of the park? Well, it was compact but well designed. No green space but you wouldn’t really expect that in such a built up area (zone 1, near a major railway station) and in a way, it was good for detracting childless adults from hanging around (although there was one random man asleep in the sandpit. Of course). The sandpit was pretty big and had different areas to play in. The slide/climbing frame was a good size but had a scary drop so I couldn’t really relax while Roo was on it. It also had those annoying opaque sides, so you never know quite where your toddler is until they try and plummet off something. There was also a seesaw and some low-slung, open sided swings.
Overall, a lovely little park. It felt a bit like being on holiday, especially walking back along the Thames (it had a particularly fishy smell yesterday) and through St George’s Wharf, which has that surreal holiday-apartment-on -a-traffic-island vibe. But it was the kind of holiday you didn’t need a passport for, despite what the 1949 Stanley Holloway film would have you believe…
VERDICT: Great if it’s a hot day and you are anywhere nearby.