After having a baby, all of a sudden your priorities for where to spend a few hours change significantly. Not only do you need somewhere to enjoy a glass of wine, but you need enough space for a few prams, decent changing facilities and no side glances when your baby kicks up a fuss. Don't worry though, Roman Road has plenty, and new mother and local resident Tara Hounslea has compiled the ultimate list just for you.
IDEA Store Bow
The IDEA Store in Bow holds a free story time every day from Monday to Saturday for babies and kids up to 5 at 10.30am. On Saturday, there is also a Dads’ Club on Saturdays at 11.15am.
IDEA Store Bow, 1 Gladstone Place, Roman Road, London E3 5ES
Meath Gardens Children's Centre
Meath Gardens Children's Centre is the closest to Roman Road but there’s a whole network nearby that offer a comprehensive programme of activities for children, parents and carers, including baby massage courses. If you go too early, the whole thing might seem a bit strange – particularly if your baby falls asleep through a whole session like mine did and you just end up sat singing nursery rhymes at other adults. But they’re a great place to meet other people and as your baby starts to interact a bit more around the 12 week-mark, it all seems to make a bit more sense.
Meath Gardens Children’s Centre, 1 Smart Street, London, E2 0SN
St Paul’s Old Ford
It might not be the obvious place to hang out but St Paul’s Church hosts a number of baby classes (Sing and Sign, Baby Sensory), a weekly NCT meet up and has an affordable café with baby changing facilities and high chairs.
St Paul’s Church, St Stephen’s Road, London, E3 5JL
You can’t walk 100 yards without spotting a pram in Victoria Park and there’s usually a congregation around both the Pavilion Café and The Park Café on any given weekday, where you’re guaranteed to meet someone in a similar boat. The V&A Building (near the playpark up towards Victoria Park Village) hosts baby music class Piccolo for kids aged 0-5 and Hartbeeps, for newborns, babies and toddlers, while The Hub (by The Park Café) offers mum and baby yoga for babies aged between 1 and 9 months.
Mae + Harvey and Muxima
We are still mourning the loss of the Chesterfield but Roman Road has cafés in abundance. The likes of Mae + Harvey or Muxima are the perfect place to recharge after a long night with a piece of cake and both are very baby-friendly.
Mae + Harvey, 414 Roman Road, E3 2RZ
Muxima, 618 Roman Road, E3 2RW
V&A Museum of Childhood
The sensory pod at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is great for slightly older babies, with colour-changing lighting and a tactile wall, plus there’s a sandpit upstairs, which can be chaos when busy but is worth a look. The MOC also holds a daily story time and other events, but these are generally aimed at older children. There is a café, good shop and changing facilities too.
V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Rd, London E2 9PA