The Marylebone area is surprisingly lacking in activities for babies and children - many of the organised classes and groups do not have venues in the Marylebone area due to a lack of any suitable venues to hold classes in. You have to travel out to Notting Hill, Kensington, St John's Wood and Swiss Cottage to find classes.
For active indoor play, there are Gymborees in Hampstead/Swiss Cottage and Kensington, plus the Seymour Leisure Centre Jungle Gym but that's about it. For playgrounds, try Paddington Street Gardens, Marylebone Green and Hanover Gate playgrounds in The Regent's Park; slightly further afield options include Buck Hill playground in Hyde Park, and of course the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens.
Please email email@example.com with listings for other groups you may know of and we will add them. Alternatively check the Marylebone Mums Facebook group where you can find lots of discussion about activities.
Jellybabies and Jellybeans
In my opinion, the best and friendliest group for babies who are not walking yet.
The group meets on Monday mornings 10-11.30am at St Paul's Church on Robert Adams Street (just next to the Wallace Collection on Manchester Square).
The group is staffed by the loveliest volunteers who make you feel ever so welcome and even make harassed and bewildered new mums a well deserved cup of tea. The group costs £2 but you get coffee or tea, and cakes and biscuits. I went to this group from when my child was 6 weeks old, and some days the delicious slice(s) of cake were the first thing I had to eat all day!
The toys and surroundings are neat and clean, which is also great for neurotic first time mums like myself. There is a good mix of mothers and nannies, with more mothers due to the young age of the babies.
Note that Jellybabies is also a twin-friendly group so do feel free to bring your multiples along!
Once the babies are walking, they graduate to Jellybeans, which runs on Tuesday and Friday mornings 10-11:30am. You can find more information here.
St Mary's Bumps & Babies and Toddler Groups
These groups are extremely popular. They are run in the basement of the beautiful building that is St Mary's Church at the end of Bryanston Square on Crawford Street.
The Bumps & Babies group runs on Wednesday 11-12:30pm. The sessions have a relaxed format (coffee/cake/chat) and in some sessions there is the opportunity to enjoy 'tasters' for groups run in the area such as sing and sign, baby massage and sensory classes. The cost is £25 per term or £3 per session.
The toddler groups currently run on Monday 10-11:20am and Wednesday 9:30-11am. The toddler groups can be large, up to around 30 children in each session, which means it can be quite loud. Most children are toddlers but there are a few babies and there is a baby corner with more suitable toys. As a morning playgroup, it is very popular with those with more than one child. It is also more heavily skewed to nannies than mothers. There are lots of activities, toys etc including paints. The cost is £25 per term or £3 per session. There are refreshments and pastries for adults to buy. At the end of 1 hour of play there is snack time and then songs.
The group is more geared to older children in my opinion. It can get very noisy as the basement hall is large and echoey, but there are lots of things for a toddler to do so can be great fun for the right age group. This playgroup sometimes has a waiting list.
You can find more information here: St Mary's
St John's Stay and Play Group
This group is held in the church on Thursdays from 9:30-11:30am. It is aimed at children and babies (0-5 years) - the two hour sessions consists of flee play for an hour, followed by snacks/drinks and time for songs (with instruments).
You can find more information here: St John's
This is the local centre for the area with many activities for children and advice for parents. There is a stay and play as well as more structured activities. Unfortunately local budget cuts mean that this has been converted to a nursery school and no longer is a drop-in centre. However there is now 1 open session per week so local parents can drop-in.
The current timetable of activities is at the link here: Micky Star
Fitzrovia Community Centre
The Fitzrovia Community Centre is a great place running lots of classes and activities for those with children, and also for the broader community. Some examples of classes include Stay and Play, Mini Mozart, Play Chinese and Belissimo Ballerinas.
You can find more information here.
In terms of room hire for a children’s party, there are a number of rooms which would be ideal for this. http://www.fitzroviacommunitycentre.org/roombooking/our-rooms
Portman Early Childhood Centre
This is another Westminster Council centre. The current timetable of activities is at the link here: Portman
Poco a Poco Music Classes
These fab music classes are run by a local mum and are great fun as well as being educational. Run by a fab local mum!
Visit www.pocoapocomusic.co.uk to book and for further information.
Mini Mozart Music (minimozart.com)
Run at St Marylebone Church, these 45 minute classes are designed for babies and toddlers and taught by professionally trained musicians. Real instruments are played in class, and there are always scrunchie games and a big parachute as part of the themed sessions. Classes run at 9:30am, 10:15am and 11:00am on Tuesday mornings. The classes are also run in other locations (Covent Garden, Hampstead, St Johns Wood etc) which are worth checking if the Marylebone groups are full.
You can find more information and book here.
Rhyme Time Music Classes, Marylebone on Wednesdays 10am
Rhyme Time's lively preschool music and movement classes (0-5 years) help children develop their abilities, skills and confidence by unlocking their natural love of music. Sessions are interactive and are fun for you and your child. They use songs and music you know and love, plus new songs you'll love learning, along with pom-poms, maracas, parachutes, puppets and instruments, all topped off with lots of bubbly fun.
Drop in classes, no need to book. Just turn up and enjoy the fun! The Marylebone classes are held at the Greenside Community Centre NW8 8SR, and cost is £8 (£4 sibling or nanny share).
You can find more information here.
The nearest Gymboree is in Hampstead (Finchley Road) which does have direct bus links from Marylebone.
Wigmore Hall holds classical music concerts for babies every 2 months called For Crying Out Loud. They are very popular, especially the earlier performance of the day. The concerts are for babies up to 1 year old.
For toddler and preschoolers from 1-5 years old they hold regular Chamber Tots sessions. With experienced music leaders and emerging chamber musicians the 1 hour sessions include music, movement, singing and listening to a chamber group perform. A great way to explore new instruments and build a love of music with young children. More information and tickets available here.
There are a number of baby and toddler/preschooler swimming classes in Marylebone. The Marriott Marble Arch, Hilton Metropole Edgware Rd and Fitness First on Baker Street (all run by Swimming Nature) and Seymour Leisure Centre (run by Everyone Active) all run a range of classes.
For older children there is Swimming Rocks at the Thirdspace gym, Bulstrode Place, Marylebone, W1U 2HU. You can find more information here.
All the local Westminster libraries run sessions for younger and older children. Depending on how far you want to walk, you can find events at Marylebone Library but also Mayfair library, Church Street, St Johns Wood etc. You can find lots more details here: Under 5s Library Events. The sessions are only during term time (yet another gap in the market - under 2s don't go to school and school holidays are when we need activities most!). They are also very popular and can get very busy so get there early if you want to find somewhere to sit.
Sing and Sign
Classes run at the Rudolph Steiner House on Park Road/Baker St NW1. There is information on our blog www.marylebonemums.com/blog.html or here
The Marylebone Ballet School / Vacani Ballet
Vacani Ballet and The Marylebone Ballet School have been established for many years. Kezia Mitchell became the Principal of The Marylebone Ballet School in 2003 and Vacani Ballet Bayswater branch in 2005. Children can start dancing at the schools from three years - these early classes consist of songs with actions, stories and movements to develop co-ordination.
They hold classes at Seymour Leisure Centre, Sylvia Young Theatre School and St Mary’s Bryanston Square Primary School in Marylebone and St Sophia the Greek Cathedral in Bayswater. Contact Kezia to register for a free trial class on 07887574390 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find more information here.
Bluebird Ballet School
Bluebird Ballet Schools runs classes for children aged 18 months and over on Monday and Thursday afternoons at Danceworks on Balderton Street. More information can be found on the blog or here.
Rosy Thompson Ballet (3+yrs)
The Rosy Thompson Academy of Dance is located in Regents Park, London and offers classes in many styles of dance and performance for pupils aged three and up. Classes run from Monday through to Friday after school and on a Saturday. You can find more information here.
The lovely Xtend Barre Studio on Marylebone High Street runs classes for mummy and baby and for older children too. You can find more information in our Blog post on our experience of the classes here http://www.marylebonemums.com/blog/xtend-barre-petites-and-babies-classeswww.marylebonemums.com/blog/xtend-barre-petites-and-babies-classes
The yoga studio on Baker Street runs baby and toddler yoga classes. You can find more info at http://totalchi.com
Buggyfit class provide a platform for healthy exercise at the right level for mothers with babies in buggies, whether newborns or toddlers. Each class includes group exercises specifically selected to strengthen and tone particular muscle groups, and enable us to cope with the demands of motherhood. Cost = £10 per session, or block of 10 for £90 (used within 5 months), or block of 5 for £45 (used within 2 months). Cash only.
Contact Becky either email@example.com or facebook.com/bumpbabyandmefitness
Marylebone Farmers Market
On Sundays from 10am-2pm, you can go to the Farmers Market in the car park behind Waitrose on Marylebone High Street. Its always bustling with activity, good things to eat and delicious cooked and raw foods to take home. Its a nice community atmosphere and there is always something interesting for children to look at.
Activities in Neighbouring Areas
If you are happy to venture to neighbouring areas, there are many classes in SJW, Maida Vale, Notting Hill etc which I will list over time.