Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Bucks Baby – Five purse-friendly places to take your baby and toddler in High Wycombe

As this is my first blog post for the Bucks Free Press website, I am dedicating it to helping all those looking after little ones by posting a purse-friendly guide to the best spots in High Wycombe.

Having pounded the parks and fed the ducks everywhere, from Hughenden Park to the Rye, with my two year old, below are some of the tried and tested toddler friendly activities I have discovered to amuse and, most importantly, tire little ones. 

The Eden Centre – not to be confused with the Eden Project (although both are housed in glass bubbles), Wycombe’s Eden Centre is a haven for those moments when you cannot stomach a third repeat of your scratched Peppa Pig DVD.
With oodles of shops, cafes and strange vertical water fountains for your little one to 'sqoosh' their hands in, there is always something to do. 

If you’re looking for an energetic activity you could try one of the Gymboree music and movement classes designed for newborn through to five year olds.  Or, alternatively, if you had a difficult night and want somewhere quiet to sit, hunker down in one of Eden’s many eateries. 

A personal favourite of mine is the M&S cafe: wide seating areas with plenty of buggy room, scones the size of your head and, if you ask, someone to carry your tray to your table.  Perfect.  

Visit the Eden website for further information: http://www.edenshopping.co.uk/

High Wycombe Library – Wycombe library is a great place to hang out with your toddler.  Four floors of books, a lift with big buttons to press (providing it is not the alarm as my daughter has done several times) and during term time, a free ‘Bounce and Rhyme’ session is held every Friday at 11.00.   

For those not familiar with the Bounce and Rhyme concept, it’s a half hour session of singing children's songs and nursery rhymes.  The little ones love it and the big ones giggle when they don’t know the words to 'wind the bobbin up.'

The sessions are popular so advanced booking is required.  For more information call 0845 2303232 or email: lib-hiw@buckscc.gov.uk

Parks – if you’re looking for a place to let your little one to let off steam, High Wycombe is home to some great parks and playgrounds.

The two largest within easy walking distance of the town centre are:

The Rye, which boasts ducks and swans to feed, a revamped play area (including a large ship climbing frame), and a cafe during summer months – what’s not to love? 

The other is Hughenden Park.  Fifteen minutes walk from High Wycombe town centre, Hughenden Park is 25 beautiful hectares of National Trust land.  

With an adventure playground at one end, a cafe at the other and acres of hilly parkland in between, a morning running about and jumping on mole hills here will often mean a peaceful afternoon.

Sure Start Children’s Centres – based in Downley, Sands, Castlefield and other places across High Wycombe, Sure Start Centres offer a variety of support services for parents. 

As well as providing access to health visitors, the centres are a treasure trove of affordable fun activities. 

As one of my friends, Lisa - mum to 18 month old Dane - said:

“I initially went for breast feeding support and was given a timetable of activities while I was there.  

"I took Dane to messy play, dinky dancers and swimming. The sessions are fun, the paint doesn't go on your carpet and I've made some great friends who I now see regularly."

To find your nearest centre visit www.direct.gov.uk

Pets at Home – yes, this may sound a little strange but if your little one is hankering to see, or even better, touch some animals, Pets at Home based at Wycombe Retail Park is a great place to visit.  

As well as offering a large selection of marine life to gape at (remember, no tapping on the glass!) they run events to meet the smaller animals, such as guinea-pigs, rats and rabbits. Call them or drop in to find out when the events are on. http://www.petsathome.com/

If you have other suggestions of free places kiddleywinks love to hang out, in High Wycombe, or anywhere, I would love to hear them.


  1. I wish I had this list when my four year old was two! Great post, thank you. Although I will say the Wednesday morning Toddler Group at St. Margaret's Hall (opposite the church) in Tylers Green is fantastic.

  2. Hey Edward Plunket-Checkemian, thanks for your comment. I kicked myself after writing this for not highlighting the fabulous world of playgroups. They are a haven. I go to one in Marlow on Monday. It's only £1 and the nipper gets fruit, squash and the chance to dress up like a fireman, while I have caffeine and a good natter. Brilliant. Well played Mr E P-C.