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Welcome to Parenthood in Harpenden!


If you are new to Harpenden, or a new or expectant parent, then here's our essential guide and top tips for living in Harpenden with children...

Health & Education

  1. If you have a baby or young children make sure you register with the Family Centre Service. They offer a range of different support groups, activities and services for families and their child/children from pregnancy to age 19. 
  2. If you need to register with a doctor or dentist you can find them listed in our Health & Wellbeing section.
  3. Registering with a doctor will also ensure your children are registered with the health visitor if necessary, and will ensure you receive the relevant information when the time comes for your child to start school.
  4. On the subject of school, it's worth knowing that there is no such thing as a designated "catchment area" for any of the local state schools (primary or secondary). The furthest distance allocated can vary greatly from year to year and from school to school.  When the time comes it's worth researching your options. Take a look at our Education & Childcare section for more information with details of all the local state and independent schools and links to other useful sites. 
  5. If you have children with additional needs have a look at our Support & Advice for Parents section to see what support is available locally.

Activities and Groups

  1. If you have a young baby the Family Centre Service run a free weekly drop-in Baby Group in Park Hall for those under 6 months and offer a range of other groups and classes for under 5s.
  2. If you need to get your children involved in some activities have a look at our Activity clubs and classes section.  With hundreds to choose from catering for babies to teens you won't be disappointed.
  3. Scouting and Girl Guiding is oversubscribed in the area so if you are hoping to get your child involved make sure to put their name on the relevant waiting lists (full details are in our Scout and Guide listings). If you are interested in becoming a leader they would love to hear from you and it will ensure your child gets a place.
  4. If you have under 5s and you find yourself needing something to fill an hour have look at our handy list of drop-in/payg groups and sessions by day
  5. If you child has additional needs have a look to see what club and classes are specifically geared towards supporting children with additional needs.

Around Town

  1. Harpenden Library is located in a prime location on the High Street.  It has a great children's section and runs regular baby and toddler story sessions.
  2. That funny shed-like building outside Pizza Express houses the main public toilets.  If you have toilet-training toddlers we know how important it is to be able to access facilities quickly so you can find the location of others on our Facilities & Services page.
  3. Want to go for a coffee with the little ones in tow? On the High Street try Wesleys (in the High Street Methodist Church) or The Oval Cafe at Highfield Oval - both are buggy-accessible and have toys and books to entertain the children.
  4. For older children the Shaken Cow (take-away only) is popular thanks to their range of milkshakes!
  5. Highfield Oval is also a great location for teaching your little ones to ride a bike with its smooth, wide perimeter road and limited traffic.
  6. If you need to get passport photos taken of the children try Topkins Pharmacy on Station Road where they use a hand-held camera, which makes the process much easier with little ones. 

Things to do

  1. We have lots of green spaces around Harpenden including the Common and Rothamsted Park. Have a look at our map to locate your nearest playground.
  2. If you want to try out the facilities at the local Leisure Centre (located within Rothamsted Park) then you can ask for a free 1-day pass.
  3. Back at Highfield Oval (it’s all going on there!) is Fit Mums, where you can jog and exercise with your babies in buggies and meet other mums.
  4. Once you've exhausted all the local parks try Stockwood Discovery Centre - a little gem just 15 minutes up the road on the outskirts of Luton and have a look at our things to do page for more ideas.
  5. There are lots of great family events that take place in Harpenden including the Teddy Bear's Picnic, Harpenden Carnival and Larks in the Park during the summer (all free) and at Christmas there’s the Christmas Carnival. Keep an eye on our What's On page for details of these and much more. 

You can find a lot more information here on the website so do have a browse.  If you're new to the area have a look at the Facilities & Services page and Things to Do section to find out what’s available.  If you're a new or expectant parent you might find the Antenatal & postnatal support, Antenatal & postnatal groups & classes and Pregnancy & New Mum’s Fitness sections useful.

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