Paddington Street Children's Playground
The Paddington Street Children's Playground, tucked away at the far end of Paddington Street Gardens, is a bit of a hidden gem. It's a real 'local playground', right in the centre of London, and a stone's throw from fashionable Marylebone High Street.
Marylebone, Central London
A shady playground that is especially good for younger children.
When we lived in Marylebone we used to meet friends here most afternoons, and even now, when we visit, we often bump into people we know. If you want to meet locals with children, this is a great place to start.
Fancy a game of hopscotch?
The play equipment is especially good for smaller children (officially it is intended for ages 3-11), with a fun and toddler-friendly climbing frame and slide, and a connecting 'Spiderman' rope net for slightly older kids. There are toddler and standard swings, and a network of long, low walls with a sweet wooden cash register and two wooden telephones for imaginative play! There is also a large seesaw that can seat lots of small children and several cute rocking animals. There are numbered stripes on the ground for little children to follow, and a couple of hopscotch
An unusual roundabout, and equally different climbing frame.
A favourite with the children (if not the adults) is an unusual roundabout - a large rotating circle, set at 20 degree angle. Little children like sitting on it, older children love trying to stand on it or walk around it as it moves. It's all a bit nerve wracking for anxious parents!
For bigger children there's an unusual and fairly challenging climbing frame incorporating ropes and rock climbing holds. My older son calls it 'the spaceship'. A new feature is a thrilling tyre swing that can be used by several children at once.
'The Spaceship' - quite a challenge!
A cash register perfect for playing shop!
This is a great place to visit on hot summer days as it is one of the few shady play areas in London. The three great trees, two of which are London Planes, create a high green canopy and mean that the playground has a lovely dappled light. With buildings on two sides, it's a fairly sheltered spot, so not too uncomfortable in winter either. There are benches for grown ups and a couple of picnic tables which are often used for birthday parties on summer weekends. The large pavilion at the entrance is handy if it rains.
One of the two telephones waiting for your calls...
Usually fairly quiet in the mornings, full of excited children from around 3pm when the local schools finish, and lively on sunny Sunday mornings when the nearby Marylebone Farmers' Market () is in full swing, this playground never seems to get unbearably crowded. Perhaps this is because the adjacent Paddington Street Gardens are also so attractive, with lots and lots of benches, bushes for hide and seek and a big circular path that can be used for multi-lap scooter races (although bicycles are not allowed)!
A great climbing frame and slide for little ones.
Adults are only admitted to the playground with a child. There is no attendant on site, but there is usually someone on duty in the park itself (there is an attendant's cabin near the Paddington Street entrance). There is an attendant at the nearby Paddington Street public toilets (see below).
For refreshments stroll over to Marylebone High Street where you'll be spoilt for choice (try Waitrose
) or, for lovely cakes and pastries,
at number 105 (sadly now closed
), or Paul
at number 115).
In the summer there's often an ice cream van parked just outside the playground and the park's Moxon Street gate.
There are no toilets in the playground, however it's only a short walk through Paddington Street Gardens to the public toilets on Paddington Street (just outside the entrance to the park). These are clean and well kept - some of the nicest in London.