Paradise Park itself is just off Liverpool Road, and is a large well-kept open space, with a ‘wild’ garden, outdoor gym, extensive playground and Freightliners Farm. In the corner, you will also find the children’s centre. (Little titbit of local history – the area used to be covered by a pub and housing , but was completely destroyed during the Blitz by a V2 rocket).
On first sight, the centre is friendly and welcoming. There is a small cafe selling simple meals and hot and cold drinks, and always one or two members of staff and other parents to chat with. The majority of the centre is given over to a nursery, which benefits from a fantastic outdoor space – there are plenty of little places for toddlers to hide, a special under 5s adventure playground and an outdoor musical area.
Stay and Play takes place on Wednesdays from 10.00 until 12.00. The facilities for this aren’t as good as other centres in Islington, as the space feels a little like a corridor, but they make the best of it by zoning small areas for different types of play. Snacks and a singsong are par for the course, and the play staff are super – happy to take a squally baby off your hands for ten minutes, which is always a winner in my book!
On Thursdays, the Morris Minors singing group takes place upstairs. This is well worth a trip, so do see my review of this, too.
- Website: www.islingtonplay.org.uk
- Getting there: The 153 bus stops outside, on Mackenzie Road; otherwise a ten minute walk from High&I (via the St. Mary Magdalene churchyard), or ten minutes from Holloway Road tube.
- Stay and Play times: Babies – Tuesday 10-12; Under 5s – Wednesday 10-12; Childminders – Monday 10-12