The bandstand on Clapham Common is a great place to hang out … but not when its raining.
And museums and galleries are all very well but my children are still small (2, 4 and 6) and it’s a job to keep them from getting lost or bored or upsetting members of the general public.
And I hate trampolining parks.
This is why Purple Dragon is such a brilliant idea. It’s a children’s private members club on Upper Richmond Rd in Putney (there’s also one in Chelsea) where children can let off steam while their parents enjoy a peaceful cup of coffee.
The clubs were founded by Sharai Meyers, an entrepreneur and mother of two, as an antidote to the stresses of city living and to give children space and freedom to explore. Her mission was to create a place where children and adults could spend time together without compromise.
This is exactly what Purple Dragon Putney is.
There are numerous activities on offer – a soft play with giant web, monster ball run and agility maze; a Master Chef inspired kitchen; a music studio; a light lab and an art studio; a multi level play house, countless toys and books and – as my youngest discovered – a wooden train set far bigger than the one he has at home.
While trained “play buddies” help children from six months to tweens learn streetdance, taekwondo, ballet and yoga, their parents can enjoy a piece of cake in the cafe, which has a nutritious menu– and, better still, a bar.
The whole place is spacious with high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows and a clean cut Scandi-style design.
Our taster morning at Purple Dragon turned into a taster day as the children got increasingly carried away with the activities on offer: Jedi Training for the six-year-old, cookie-baking for the four-year-old, ball pits for the two-year-old (although really he didn’t want to leave the train set).
Lunch was macaroni cheese and organic juice and then they took to the music room where the long-suffering music teacher let them jive away on a full-sized electric guitar, keyboard and drum kit.
Part of the joy was that I could watch them making a mess or a noise, knowing this was ok. I enjoyed watching them roll out pastry and chop vegetables in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have to clean up afterwards. It was great to have someone else guiding them through some craft.
Of course this luxury comes at a price. Purple Dragon Putney has various tiers of membership, though: an anytime family membership costs £208 per month, while weekdays cost £168. Or you can buy an out of towner membership for £900 for 20 visits.
If you live anywhere near Putney, I’d definitely give it a go. When you think how much you spend on entertaining your children you might find this is an invaluable lifestyle investment.
There’s also a new youth club for bigger kids (8 to 13-year-olds) from 6:30pm to 9pm on Friday nights, costing £500 per year. Think Nerf battles, scavenger hunts, karaoke competitions, table tennis championships, movie nights, survival techniques and life skills.
“The idea is that parents can enjoy some child-free evening time, whilst the kids get some freedom and a delicious supper in a safe environment,” says Sharai.
What could be better than that?
– For more information see the Purple Dragon website