Please note there might have been changes to schedules etc. I am updating on an ongoing basis, but occasionally I don’t get notified of changes. Therefore, should you see something that is no longer correct, please don’t hesitate to contact me on NW8mums@gmail.com. Thank you. Karin x
Please note that many playgroups and regular activities often run according to school term times!
- Little Locusts is a playgroup for pre-school children or crawling babies with their parent or carer, and they meet every Tuesday from 30-12.00 in St John’s Wood Church (not the hall, but in the church itself) which is located by the roundabout at the bottom of the High Street. People can drop in and out as suits, no need to be on time or stay the whole time. No charge. For more information, please call Abigail who runs the group on 0207 586 3864.
- The playgroup Little Lions in St Mark’s Church, Abercorn Place, takes place every Tuesday 10am – 11.30am. Playing, chatting, singing and refreshments for 0-3’s and their carers. No need to book – just turn up to this friendly group on Tuesdays during term-time.
- Another firm playgroup favourite with NW8-mums is the one at The Church of our Lady at the corner of St John’s Wood Road and Lisson Grove. The sessions run during term time only on Tuesday, Wednesday for soft play, and Thursday for music between 9.30-11.30 am. £2 per child which includes snacks for children and hot drinks and biscuits/cakes for adults. Nannies/childminders are welcome. There are often craft activities and always singing and stories on Thursdays and outdoor play in the summer.
- St John’s Wood Baptist Church runs a toddler group called ‘Tots@cafe39′ on a Thursday morning between 9.15 – 10.45 am during term time. They have lattes, tea and pastries for the big people and snacks for the little ones. Most of the session is free-play with a craft activity, and ends with singing and a story from the Bible. Cost is £1 per child. Should you have additional queries, please email email@example.com or call on – 020 7289 5468 asking for Justine or Scott Little.
- Wigmore Hall (in Marylebone) is best known as one of the world’s most famous chamber music venues, and they offer various musical events for the family (from birth and up). They have concerts called For Crying Out Loud aimed at babies up till the age of 1, then from 2-5 there is Chamber Tots. They also have a variety of Family Concerts and other events. Most of their child/family events sell out very fast, so act quickly. Even though something is sold out, it can well be worth turning up on the day for returns (I know this well as I used to work in the Wigmore Hall Box Office right after leaving college).
- North London Strings Club – Ignite your child’s love of music with award-winning weekly classes. North London Strings Club offer fun-filled and motivating tuition, developing their musicianship alongside their confidence, focus and social skills. Choose from Violin, Guitar, Ukulele or Cello – they offer hire of an instrument for £3/week, leaving the stresses of buying an instrument behind! Their 10-week courses coincide with school term-times and offer children the chance to learn an instrument in a fun and rewarding environment. Lessons incorporate their carefully-crafted curriculum, ensuring they develop a real understanding of music theory and performance. Plus, the end-of-term concert lets them show off what they’ve achieved! For more information and/or to book a class, call North London Strings Club on 0121 369 1950 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mini Mozart – They run classes in various venues in St John’s Wood, Maida Vale and Swiss Cottage. These are all music classes featuring live instruments performed by professional musicians.
- The lovely Anita runs Caterpillar music. Check for current venues.
- Hartbeeps multi sensory classes in St Johns Wood for 0-2 years take place at Poem Bar & Grill. Baby bells classes for newborn to sitting babies every Thursday at 2.30-3.15pm and Baby Beeps classes for sitting babies to toddlers every Thursday at 3.30-4.15pm.
- St John’s Wood Library on Circus Road has a lot on weekly for children. They also have half-term and holiday activities. You can also check their schedule online as activities do change from time to time.
- Regal Ballet – This is a lovely ballet class; warm and friendly, and gets the children inspired to dance and create. It is a gentle class and both my daughter and I loved it.
- Creative Movements – Another lovely class. Many of my friends’ children go the their classes and love them. I have seen them in action at a friend’s birthday party and was very impressed. Classes in various local venues.
- Rosy Thompson Academy of Dance offers a whole array of classes from singing, drama, musical theatre to street jazz. Situated in Portland Place in Marylebone, this academy offers so much for children from the age of 3.
- Huggle – This is a wonderful shop in Swiss Cottage (next to the Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre) and they also put on a lot of different classes. Have a look at their website to see what they have going on.
There are many companies and venues that offer various types of sports and here are just a few.
Alvaro Castano coaching football (photo above) in a 1:1 class. He offers amazing small group football classes as well as 1:1 and 2:1 sessions.
Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre also offers a range of sports for children, but it does change from time to time so best to check with them if there is something specific you are looking for.
- French – Stella of Club Petit Pierrot is wonderful and her classes have been going for a very long time and they are very popular.
- French – La Jolie Ronde offers French playgroups from babies and up in Swiss Cottage, Hampstead and Maida Vale.
- German – There is a German playgroup is situated in Lancaster Gate at the German YMCA. Bus 46 takes you there.
- German – The German Saturday School in Hampstead offers classes from nursery age. Please contact them directly for more information.
- Spanish – La Jolie Ronde offers Spanish playgroups from babies and up in Swiss Cottage, Hampstead and Maida Vale.
- Swedish – On Tuesday afternoons between 1-3 pm, the Swedish Church in Marylebone offers a stay and play group in the downstairs main hall.
- Swedish – There is the North London Swedish School in Marylebone on Saturday mornings, but it has a very long waitlist. If you are keen for your child to start, I suggest you register your child as early as you can. We had to wait for two years before we got a space.
Arts & Craft
- Mini Picassos – I know this is not in St John’s Wood, but I have to mention Mini Picassos in Kensal Rise. Sarah who runs it puts on fantastic classes for children starting from 15 months (till teenagers). There are after school clubs, and she also offers adult classes. Bus no 187 runs all the way from St John’s Wood to Kensal Rise Station and Mini Picassos is 30 seconds away (or you can hop on the no 6 from Warwick Avenue and it takes you there too), so you can get there very easily. You can also go on the Overground from Finchley Road & Frognal and get off at Kensal Rise. Highly recommended!
- Little House of Science is a popular group and they run classes in various local venues.
- Emma Holliss runs lovely soft play sessions which are now based in Paddington Rec’s new Studio on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10-11.30 am and at Moberly Sports Centre on Fridays at 10-11.30 am. Many NW8-mums go and love Emma’s soft play sessions! email@example.com
- At Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre there are many things to do. There is soft play for the smallest children called Toddler’s World on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday mornings at 9.15 am, 10 am and 10.45 am. If your child is a member of the Leisure Centre, there is a member’s discount. You can usually turn up, but the Sunday one (especially the 10 am session) can get very busy, so you might want to book in advance. There is Rascals too from the age of 2. The sessions last 1 hour. Something to remember: Rascals’ sessions start on the hour. If you turn up at say 10.20 am, your session lasts till 11 am. This is not explained well (if at all) when you buy your ticket. Again, for a child who is a member of the Leisure Centre, there is a reduction in price. This is an extremely popular birthday party venue (perfect for hosting your 3 or 4-year-old’s birthday party) on weekends, so it might be worth calling to see when they have parties on in order for your little one not to be disappointed. Also, if your child is quite small, it is nicer going during school hours. Once the big children get there, it can get a bit wild. (If you want to go to the Leisure Centre gym, there is a creche for children up to the age of 5.)
- The Sherriff Centre and Hullabaloo at the corner of Sherriff Road/West End Lane in West Hampstead is a firm favourite with many NW8-mums.
- The Baby Yoga Company – So many of my friends tell me about Alice Morgan’s fantastic yoga sessions, and they say it is the best baby and parent yoga they have ever done.
- The Kailash Centre – For those of you who are either pregnant or are new mothers, The Kailash Centre in St John’s Wood offers pregnancy and mother and baby yoga classes. Other than yoga being great to do, it is also a good way of meeting other mothers and/or mothers-to-be.
- Swimming Rocks is a firm favourite with many NW8-mums and dads.
- Turtle Tots – I used to take my little boy swimming with them and we both loved their baby classes.
- The Hub in Regent’s Park offers a variety of mummy and baby friendly activities such as Parent and Pram.
- Buggy Fit – It is easy to get fit and meet other mums with Buggy Fit. The nearest places to do this are in Primrose Hill and Maida Vale.
- Your GP surgery usually has lots of information about things to do, classes etc so it might be worth checking with them as well.