Finchley Central - just moved here and cant find anything for kids!

(8 Posts)
Pinkponk1 Wed 26-Mar-14 20:49:17

hi we just moved to Finchley church end a few weeks back and I'm getting worried because I cant find much at all for kids (have one boy who is nearly 4 and little girl who is 1) and not many mums wandering around. There seems to be alot of people in our road whose kids have grown up and moved away and I'm just wondering where all the families hang out? Any ideas and local knowledge very gratefully received x

bonzo77 Wed 26-Mar-14 20:54:08

Oooh. You're right by me. Where to start? What are you after? Your kids are the same age as mine.

Let me get on the lap top rather than my phone and I'll get back to you.

Borntobake Wed 26-Mar-14 21:17:36

welcome to the neighbourhood smile

Finchley is lovely and there is loads to do, but I guess it can take a while to settle in to a new area. Don't panic: this is definitely young-family-central, and Church End especially is fab.

I'd recommend popping along to Church End Library, which is just next to St Mary's Church on Hendon Lane (just before it joins with Regents Park Road). They do Rhyme Time and various other activities and have a lovely little readers corner. They'll also be able to tell you about other activities in the immediate area and at the other libraries close by. For example, I used to take my dcs to the Rhyme Time at Hendon Library (just down the road, the 143 and 326 buses go right to the door) because the times were bettter and it has a really nice cafe and more space

Finchley Ballet School hold lessons in St Mary's church hall, by the way, and there are quite a few boys in the younger classes.

Then there are various playgroups and activities at the churches along Squires Lane and Long Lane. St Paul's Church used to do regular activities - might be an idea to google (and also check out 'the other website' as I vaguely recall seeing a whole list on there many years ago).

There used to be a properly amazing child/toddler group every Friday morning at the old Hippodrome right next to Golders Green tube station - again, probably worth googling that (sorry, my youngest dc is nearly 4 so it's been a few years since I was doing these things...!)

Of course you've already found the lovely playground and park in Dollis Park, at the bottom of your road, haven't you? Of course you have grin But have you discovered Avenue House park yet? You can go in from the 'hidden' entrance along the flats on Regents Park Road: it's a very pretty park with lovely gardens, a very nice cafe and a nice playground too.

And of course there's also Victoria Park just along the high street, after Tesco (on the other side) which also has a nice little cafe and a larger playground.

What else? Well, there's the blinking amazing Arts Depot at North Finchley which has amazing activities for children of all ages and also hosts tons of theatre and other cool stuff for them. Again, check out the website for details.

Soft play: check out N20 (just further along the high road, towards Whetstone - loads of buses go past or you can park there) which also has a very reasonably priced cafe and is lovely and clean. There's also Topsy Turvy World at Brent X, which my dcs love (I do not know why... grin ) and of course there's Clown Town at Friern Barnet (right behind the enomous Tesco...I'd save that one until your dcs are a bit bigger, to be honest).

Best of all for little ones is Little Dinosaurs at Alexandra Palace. Get the bus to Muswell Hill, then walk into Ally Pally from the Broadway side - little dinosaurs is right at the top end (where you'd be coming in) and is super sweet, with a lovely outdoor play area in the summer, decent little cafe and very sweet and safe indoor play.

Hope that helps smile

Woodsider Wed 26-Mar-14 21:27:40

There's plenty to do near you.

Try Avenue park or Victoria park.

I have been to toddler type classes at st Mary's church hall (Hendon Lane) and at Finchley Methodist church (towards w Finchley on Ballards Lane)
There are some nice cafés in N Finchley (Not sure about Finch central as it's not so near me that I hang out there) but friends have mentioned a coffee shop on East End Road, I don't know what it's called though.

Poolside Manor pool is very warm for baby swimming lessons and children's but I found it very expensive.

Dare I say it ... Check out the other mums website which has a more comprehensive local activities section.

bonzo77 Wed 26-Mar-14 22:15:37

right, bit slow to return, and it seems most of what I was going to suggest has been mentioned above.

I would add...

Avenue house and victoria parks both have cafes and playgrounds. There is also the dollis valley green walk, which actually goes on for miles, but has some fab scooting terrain as it passes through west finchley.

Long Lane Pasture. Go down long lane, cross squires lane, past the fire station on your left (look out, they do open days which are great fun), just before the bridge that carries the north circular, turn right and follow the pathway up a slope. follow the fence and there is an entrance gate. it's open 9-5 at weekends only, and is a sort of nature reserve, with bees, butterflies, meadow, wild flowers. It's actually a proper hidden gem.

Sadly you can no longer play with the animals at college farm on regents park rd, between gravel hill and henley's corner (you could when I was a kid, but it's been closed for about 20 years I think). But they often have the horses out in the paddocks, and you can lean over the fence and pat them.

The secret entrance to avenue house is located on The Avenue. It's a narrow road off Regents park rd, opposite the Two Brothers fish restaurant. It doesn't look too promising but head down the little hill and you are there. If you follow The Avenue all the way to the top you get to squires lane. this would be a good short cut to long lane pasture (turn left onto manor view, then right at the lights onto long lane).

Golders Hill park, which is golders green really, but has a collection of animals, a nice if pricey cafe, a newly re-vamped adventure playground, and a playground with sand pit for littlies.

Belmont farm: petting farm. Costs money but quite good fun. I think you can get the 221 bus there from golders green.

The cafe at the bottom of east end rd is called Barista I think. They had a legal isshoo after someone tripped on a buggy, so you have to leave the buggy outside. Not great if you have a buggy!

Creativity crazy opposite the lido, on the high rd at the end of squires lane is one of those pottery painting cafes. the pottery painting is £££, but it's a nice way of making a memorable gift for a grandparent, and they also do messy play activities.

if you don't mind heading east, there's a nice music group called Al's little singers at the clissold arms pub on fortis green. i think its monday, wednesday and friday.

Stay and play at fairway children's centre and at mill hill library are both really fun and good value, though a bit awkward to get to unless you drive.

this website sometimes has useful stuff.

this website has lots of stuff if you are interested in jewish groups.

Pinkponk1 Thu 27-Mar-14 21:00:21

thanks so much everyone, there does seem like there is alot going on. Think at the moment I'm just in a blind...'help Ive just moved to the 'burbs and theres nothing to do' kind of panic! Some of what youve suggested sounds great...I look forward to finding these places

ive already discovered the no buggy allowed cafe! went there the other day and must have looked so desperate for coffee, they served me and the buggy at the door! xx

PseudoBadger Fri 28-Mar-14 22:25:24

Great work everyone, I've lived here all my life and have learnt a bit from this thread grin

Woodsider Sat 29-Mar-14 10:56:28

Joie De Vie cafe in N Finchley is lovely and friendly service and it's near the artsdepot which has a mini soft play and lots of preschool classes. I'd recommend messy play and baby Mozart

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now