Introduction: Getting Started in NW3
A to G
H to Z
TRAVEL: Buses, Taxis and Planes
Term-Time Day Planner
Classes around NW3: Birth to 5
Selecting Nurseries and Primary Schools
Expecting/New Mothers
Doctors, Dentists, Chiropracters: the Medical Page
Advice from Local Experts
Previous articles by Local Experts


WELCOME TO NW3KIDS............................................

This website is managed by two mothers and provides information about activities, services and products for 5 year-olds and under in Belsize Park, Hampstead and surrounding areas in NorthWest London. Feel free to email us on nw3kids@yahoo.co.uk with comments or ideas. Please be aware that we cannot guarantee the quality of each service or product --  we are merely listing what is available. So buyer beware


Aggie: has three boys and lived in Belsize Park for eight years before moving to Switzerland in 2009. Worked as a reporter for Bloomberg News before having children. Degrees include an MSc in Economic History from the London School of Economics and a BA in Political Science from McGill University in Canada.

Steffi: also has three boys and lives in Hampstead. Worked as Key Account Manager for Citibank Card Acceptance and has also worked in various companies in sales and Human Resources. Studied at University Trier and Eichstaett in Germany (Diploma in Geography and Economy) and also has language certificates from University Sorbonne, Paris and in Portuguese (University Trier).


The two main indoor hubs of activity in Belsize Park and Hampstead are Swiss Cottage Community Centre and the Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre (not the same thing) at one end and Talacre Sports Centre in Kentish Town at the other.

          Swiss Cottage Community Centre (19 Winchester Rd., 0207 586 5272) holds various children (and new mother) classes so it's worth stopping by to see if anything interests you. The Centre also has a drop-in centre as well as a play scheme and upstairs is a decent cafe that does children's basic foods (fishfingers etc.) Just behind the Centre in the square is a small playpark and a splashy fountain in the summer. The Swiss Cottage Library is within the same complex as the Swiss Cottage Community and the Leisure Centre (see below). They have toys for little ones as well as some activities and is worth stopping by in person. The C11 stops close by as does the 46.

        Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre 0207 974 2012, Adelaide Rd: The Leisure Centre has a teaching pool that -- provided it's working -- is warm and comfortable with clean changing rooms. (NB the main pool is very cold.) The Centre also has a soft play area, gym classes for children and adults and a creche. Rascals climbing frame can be fun but I don't find it particularly well supervised on the weekend so not a great choice unless your child can take care of him/her self. The cafe (Del'Aziz) is lovely but really crowded on the weekend. Again, it's worth checking out in person to see if there's something that might interest you. Birthday parties a possibility.

       Talacre Sports Centre (Dalby Street NW5 0207 974 8765): Has hysterically popular gymnastics classes for over threes as well as "baby gym" times in the morning. Football classes for over threes and tennis at age 5 is also available.Treetops climbing frame is safe for little ones BEFORE 3 pm when schools let out and the savages take over. Having said that, it is well supervised in the afternoon. Birthday parties possible. Rather mediocre and frantic cafe serves up decent coffee but food is strictly for the kids unless you are really hungry. The 46 bus stops in front while the 24 is not far.

If you have a child three and under, you should register with Surestart (surestart.kentishtown@camden.gov.uk, 0207 974 8961), especially if you live near or in Kentish Town. Lots of play groups, creches and other support services for parents with young children. http://www.euston.surestart.org/ 

You should also pick up the Camden Information Under 5s booklet (phone 0207 974 1679 for a copy.) Camden also lists activities for under 2s on: http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/contacts/categories/contacts-for-under-twos-activities.en

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     Blue Daisy (South End Green -- next to Starbucks, 0207 681 4144) Brand-new high-end shop that specializes in rather useful stuff like all-in-one bathing suits, backpacks, wooden toys, organic baby products crayons etc... Good for new baby presents and for difficult-to-find items. C11, 46, 24, 168, 268 -- all go through South End Green.www.blue-daisy.com

     Gap: (Rosslyn Hill -- very close to Hampstead Tub Station) Wait for the sales and buy items for the year ahead. It is a rare item indeed in my boys' wardrobe that doesn't originate from Gap. Do not wait until winter and pay £50 for a 1 year-old's coat. (46, 268 go past.)

     Happy Returns: 36 Rosslyn Hill 0207 435 2431. Quite a large selection of toys for such a small place... but convenient Hampstead location comes at a price. (46, 268 go past.)

     Lotus and Frog: 32 England's Lane, 0207 586 3931) Gift store with quite a selection of (rather expensive) toys. C11 goes past the store.

     Party-Party: 11 Southhampton Rd. NW5 4JS 0207 267 9084. Everything you need for your darling's special day: party bags, paper plates and cups, baloons, games and costumes. 46 and 24 go past.

     Simpson Cycles (114 Malden Rd, NW5 0207 485 1706). Best place for little cycles. They also replace punctured buggy wheels for £5. 46 and 24 go past.

Guide to using the website: Finding your way around

1. A to Z: includes all available information on everything from where to see rabbits to Yoga classes for three year-olds. And everything in between.

Travel: explains public transport options in and out of NW3.

Term-Time Day Planner: Lists all free or pay as you go activities, including playgroups, story hours, swimming, babygym and singing, Monday through Friday. Particularly good for working parents who want to select their children's activity with a carer.

Classes in NW3: Organizes all (in-advance) fee paying classes by age groups and by activities. Includes ballet, football, gymnastics, art, language as well as new mother fit courses.

Birthday: Lists entertainers, venues, party shops and party planners. Also includes tips on throwing a successful party.

Selecting Nurseries and Primary Schools: Lists all pre-school options and provides advice on how to make the best choice for your child. There is also a section on state school versus private school.

Medical Assistance: Whether traditional or alternative medicine, we list the available options as well as emergency numbers.

Articles by Local Experts: So far, titles include (from most recent)

First Aid

9. Summer Page: Includes sports, art and multi activity programs, camps and playschemes. Also includes enteries from the Hampstead Heath Diary.

What the Baby Books Don't Tell You
: Information on everything from how to survive jetlag and long-haul travel with toddlers to passport advice for U.S. citizens.

Join yahoo nw3kids groups and you can make playdates, ask a question or sell/give away old items directly with other parents and carers in the area. Send an email to nw3kids@yahoo.co.uk to get an invite and get started. NB: this is only for parents and carers -- businesses will not be allowed to join.