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what's it like for babies, kids (and parents!) in FOREST HILL?

(13 Posts)
mograu Wed 26-Jan-05 22:42:35

Hi, we're thinking about moving from Crouch End to the Forest Hill area, but don't really know South London at all and are feeling a bit daunted about going somewhere new. Just wondering what it's like for kids - what is there to do, is there a local NCT, playgroup, music class scene etc etc. Have a three year old and a one year old. Would love to hear from any of you!

Sponge Thu 27-Jan-05 12:50:16

I lived there about 10 years ago - pre kids - and didn't really like it. It was a bit of a wilderness - nothing much to do, no sense of community etc, nothing like Crouch End. And it just felt really far away from everything. I suppose it depends on your priorities but I had to get into the west end every day and so trains to Waterloo weren't brilliant and it's a huge cab fare home if you can find one to take you.
Also I was mugged once on the way home from the station so I don't have very fond memories of the place. IMO it's quite cheap for good reason.
Sorry if this puts a bit of a downer on your plans and it was quite a while ago so things may have developed.

Marina Thu 27-Jan-05 12:57:24

You need to keep bumping this mograu as I am sure there are some people on here who have happier perspectives on Forest Hill than poor Sponge
I live in a different part of SE London so don't have that much feedback on SE23...but there is the Horniman Museum and Dulwich Park within easy reach for starters. There is a superb children's bookseller on Westow Hill in Crystal Palace (Bookseller Crow) as well. For more detailed info on what's available for young families, try this website Here . It is the online version of a very informative monthly free mag available from libraries, clinics etc in SE London.
Lucky people who can afford to stay in bijou areas like N8, I say. The rest of us just have to scratch out an existence in less classy postcode areas

muminlondon Thu 27-Jan-05 12:59:49

I used to live there - apparently the trains have improved a great deal in two years, now every 15 minutes to London Bridge in the evening and more regularly in the daytime. You can get direct trains to London Bridge or Victoria and there are also more links via Clapham Junction which I'm glad to hear.

I liked it - it felt safe and peaceful. And I was registered at a fantastic doctor's surgery which I really miss now (Adelaide Avenue, near Brockley). But there aren't as many shops as in East Dulwich, which you may also like to consider, although it's only a bus ride away.

muminlondon Thu 27-Jan-05 13:01:39

There's also a fantastic Indian restaurant (Babur) which delivers takeaways!

I got mugged in Tulse Hill so I know how bad experiences can colour your perspective. In comparison I always felt safe in Forest Hill.

Sponge Thu 27-Jan-05 13:23:17

We also got broken into 8 times in 10 years, once when I was at home, so I didn't feel that safe. We did go to a great Indian though - so often they used to send us a Christmas card .

muminlondon Thu 27-Jan-05 13:46:17

Oh dear, Sponge, that sounds very unlucky

serenequeen Thu 27-Jan-05 13:49:38

mograu, is there any particular reason you have plumped for forest hill? you could also try streatham hill or brixton hill.

Sponge Thu 27-Jan-05 13:50:49

We finally got an alarm and that put a stop to it. We never lost much - just kids nicking what they could from places that were easy to break into I think. More annoying than anything else - apart from the time I was there which was scary.

Marina Thu 27-Jan-05 13:51:59

Oh I'm not surprised you were unhappy there Sponge, that's awful

Raindog Thu 27-Jan-05 14:03:07

I've lived in Forest Hill for 3 years now and I really like it! I'm expecting my first baby in April and I'm sure I'll find plenty of things to do with the baby. I've signed up for NCT classes which are in Catford because FH doesn't have a group, but Catford is really close.

The rail links are fine (and the tube extension has been approved if you can wait that long!) and there are lots of buses from central london which run all night, or you can pick it up from Oval/Vauxhall etc. Cabs home cost £20-£30 depending on where you go from.

The shops aren't up to much at the moment but Sainsburys have FINALLY got planning permission to rebuild their store which is starting now and should be done in a year (it's dire at the moment) but will have a deli, bakery etc. And there is a massive savacentre just down the road in sydenham anyway.

The Horniman Museum is fantastic and has loads of stuff for kids to do - workshops, summer schools, special exhibitions, the hand on base etc, plus it has a completely child-friendly cafe and beautiful gardens for picnics. There is a playground opposite, and Dulwich Park and crystal Palace Park are also close.

There has been a lot of work recently on several pubs which have been refurbished and we now have the Dartmouth Arms which is a sort of gastropub where a lot of people take kids for lunch at weekends, plus lots of other places to eat. And East Dulwich is only just up the road. And there's the swimming baths, library...sorry! beginning to sound liek an estate agent!

I like it anyway, and have never had any problems with crime in the area. But I'll probably move in a few years anyway to somewhere a bit more green and a bit more Northern!

Raindog Thu 27-Jan-05 14:07:22

PS you could take a look at Forest Hill Town Talk website or

motherinferior Thu 27-Jan-05 14:11:16

I lived in Forest Hill for 11 years and was very happy there. The only reason we moved is because we couldn't afford to buy a house there, so we headed 15 minutes round the corner to Catford (which, although my neighbour insists is The Forest Hill End Of Catford, is not the same).

There were things about it I wanted to change - a cinema wouldn't go amiss, or some delightful shops and perhaps a cafe where one could sit and linger - but whenever I felt like leaving I didn't feel it was worth it really. It was a bit like being married to it

It's not as posh as Crouch End, though.

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