So, you know how often you need to entertain your 3-year-old in Fitzrovia on a Sunday morning? No? Just me? Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not the most toddler-friendly part of town. It’s pretty hard to find a slide around these parts. But I struck gold on this particular Sunday and discovered the Fitzrovia Children’s Playground.
It started, as most Sundays do, by parking on New Cavendish St for church. But this week, Nathan was back On Rota post paternity leave, so the children and I needed to make ourselves scarce for an hour or so, while Daddy wrestled with the laptop and swore gently at the Apple Corporation. I’m going to admit this right here and now. We are PCs. Church is all Mac-based nowadays. Swearing often ensues.
So, we wandered off towards Tottenham Court Rd, past the construction site that used to be a hospital of some kind, I think. Or a university building. Or something. Anyway, it now has cranes and diggers, which are far more interesting to Roo than some smelly university/hospital thing. And isn’t that just the prettiest construction site photo you’ve ever seen?
We turned off down Whitfield St, and there at the corner of the excellently-named Chitty St was the Fitzrovia Children’s Playground. I’d found out about the playground through a few snippets on the internet, but there wasn’t a lot of detail. It’s next to a nursery, so looks like private property to the casual observer. However, the sign says that at weekends it’s open to the public from dawn till dusk. If that’s wrong, blame the sign.
The entrance is on the left of the playground. It’s a narrow gate and there are a few steps to get up, so not ideal when you’re on your own with a buggy. But the playground is designed for 8-12 year olds, so I’m guessing buggies were not a primary concern.
It is very much a “big boy”‘s playground. But as Roo said as soon as he ran in “it can be fun for yittle boys too!”. He later clarified that it could also be fun for big girls, but not little girls. Now you know!
Anyway, despite being a full 5 years too young for the equipment, Roo managed to entertain himself for a good 30 minutes. He climbed over the swinging net and lay in like a hammock. He gave all the ladders a good go before conceding that he was “too yittle” for them. He span in one of those weird silver bucket things:
But the Big Hit was the climbing wall. This may have been because he’d just been watching an episode of Fireman Sam, where Mandy and Norman climb one, but he was very keen to give it a go. The wall was a full two sides of the playground, with varying degrees of difficult footholds (I think they may have been colour-coded by difficulty, but I’m not sure) and he struggled at first, but eventually hoisted himself up.
It looks like he’s really high up here, but the darker green bit is actually the ground….
So, climbing wall was a hit, he liked the totem poles and it was just a safe place to run around, in a very urban bit of the city. Naturally, we were the only ones there. I got hungry after a while, so we left in search of a Starbucks and Roo spotted a man with a blue mohican, much to his delight (“That man got funny hair!”). Then we went to church, where Daddy was stressed with the laptop.
As a reward for such good solo-parenting, I later got to hand BOTH children over to Nathan (this is a first!) and skip off to buy some new undies. Stuck in Soho with a restless toddler and a wailing baby, he took my advice and went to Soho Square. There, Roo did a short survey of the naked statues, before pronouncing his verdict on this one:
“She has nipples, she has no willy”.
Again I say – Now you know.
VERDICT: A great place for a runaround in Fitzrovia.