You may not think much of it at first but Balham, with its vibrant social scene and excellent transport links, has become a magnet for young families looking for the perfect mix between city and urban life.
Once considered to be London’s best kept secrets, the lively district, which falls within the borough of Wandsworth, is now where every yummy mummy wants to be.
The area is so popular with young families that a large portion of Wandsworth and Lambeth boroughs has lovingly become known as “Nappy Valley”. In fact, there’s even an entire Nappy Valley forum dedicated solely to the parents of South West London.
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(Image: Kat Pirnak)
Siobhan, 35, who yesterday visited the area with her baby to meet a friend, told MyLondon that Balham is an attractive option for mums because of its geographical location.
She said: “Balham is between Clapham Common, Tooting Bec Lido, and Wandsworth Common so there’s a lot of green spaces for children. It’s also more affordable here than in Clapham and there are a lot of cafes and places where mums can enjoy time together – it’s very family friendly.”
With such a large influx of young families coming to the area, it’s hardly surprising that Balham has become saturated with family-oriented businesses and independent cafes. Emma, who works at soft play area Bertie and Boo Adventure Island told MyLondon that kid-friendly businesses have boomed since the easing of covid restrictions.
“With Balham and Clapham, it’s the perfect mix between city and rural life,” she said. “There’s some really nice parks and lots of green spaces. Over the last two years, I’ve also noticed lots of cool trendy family-friendly cafes and coffee shops pop up.
“The whole set up has become very geared towards grown ups having a lovely Saturday morning with a nice cup of coffee whilst also making sure the babies are being taken care of.”
(Image: Kat Pirnak)
It only takes one look at the Bertie and Boo Adventure Island menu to understand just how important it is for businesses in Balham to cater for parents and their children. Not only is the entire play area covered in convenient cup holders for busy mums, the children’s menu even includes a £3.75 “Baby Meze” with smashed avocado, cucumber, smashed banana, and buttered soldiers.
There are more than a dozen such play areas for children dotted across Balham. However, even the average restaurant makes sure to have space for large prams and an abundance of high chairs available to use at a moment’s notice.
Marnie, who grew up in the area and now works as an assistant at FARA, told MyLondon charity shops in Balham also benefit greatly from its location. “The area has always been like this because there’s a real sense of community here,” she said.
“On weekends, we’re extremely busy and we get so many donations that you can’t even see the floor of our donation room. It’s great and I think it’s all because mums and their children feel very welcomed here in Balham.”
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