London’s top nursery and preschools

For many children, the long journey that is education does not only start when they enter school. It begins at home, and for many children some time between 5 months and 3 years, it continues in nurseries or pre-schools. The best of these can offer an enjoyable and smooth transition from toddlerhood to the Reception classes at primary school.

Many of the prep schools featured on this site have a nursery class for 3 to 4 year-olds attached to them – I will not go into details on these again, but you can find a list of top schools that start at the nursery level at the end of this article. Instead, I want highlight several of the most popular pre-school choices in Central London that I have often heard recommended by other parents. If your child is attending a warm and loving nursery that you do not see listed here, please feel free to share this information with other parents by leaving a comment below. The nurseries below are all oversubscribed, so make sure you also read our advice on “getting a place at a top nursery school!” and what to look out for when you visit nursery schools.

    • Acorn Nursery (Notting Hill) – top nursery in Notting Hill with a lovely small garden, owned by the same lady as Notting Hill Prep School. No website, so you better do your research well to be ready for registration at birth.
    • Broadhurst School (Hampstead): a small but very well known nursery school for children aged 2 to 5. The youngest children attend 3 hours per day, the older children 6. This nursery is known to provide children with excellent preparation for the tough North London 4+ and 5+ assessments at highly selective prep schools. The programme is fairly structured, so may not suit those who are looking for lots of free play. Register asap BEFORE birth, believe it or not!
    • Chelsea Pre-Prep and Nursery (Chelsea): is an outstanding rated pre-school offering early education for children aged 2.5 to 6. It is located in St Andrew’s Church Hall in a small side street running parallel to King’s Road.  The impressive list of fun activities offered to children includes Chelsea Ballet School and Little Kickers sports lessons, music and drama, French and animal care. Luckily, its sister school Kingsland Nurseries has opened nearby, easing the pressure on places in the area, and Grand West nursery is due to open in Notting Hill in September 2020
    • Hopes and Dreams Montessori Nursery School (Angel) – a lovely and oversubscribed Montessori School near Angel tube station in East London. It has an outstanding Ofsted rating and offers a varied curriculum with excursions, Spanish, French and ballet and sports. There is even a small garden for children to play. The late opening till 7pm proves popular with working parents.
    • Little Owls Nursery School (Brook Green) – the nursery of choice in and around Brook Green. Morning school for all with an optional afternoon club. Ofsted rating only “good” but the main point of criticism seems to be lack of exposure to technology – decide for yourself how important you think this is for 3 year olds!
    • Marmalade Cat (Battersea) – this Montessori nursery school in Battersea is getting raving reviews from parents, children are happy and nurtured while also getting prepared for tough 4+ assessments in the area.
    • the Minors Nursery School and Rolfe’s Nursery School (Notting Hill) – these are both part of the Alpha Plus Group and are a popular choice for parents who like to see their children to continue on to Pembridge Hall and Wetherby.
    • Pangbourne House, W10 – recently opened by Sophia Russell-Cobb who has had over 30 years experience working with children as Headmistress of Ladbroke Square Montessori School. She has now decided to set up her own school with a team of dedicated teachers. The nursery is part of a modern development just next to St. Mark’s Park which has opened this September. There are three classrooms fitted with all the Montessori equipment and extensive imaginative role-play activities, one art room with a wide range of art and craft materials, an outdoor garden and a large hall for games, music and other movement classes.
    • Pippa Pop-ins – another very popular and well regarded group of nurseries with three sites in Fulham and one in Kensington. It prides itself in being structured and preparing children well for assessments while offering lots of play and outdoor excursions. They offer morning and afternoon as well as full day sessions, so better for working parents than most other choices. Thomas’s Fulham, Kensington Prep and Fulham Prep are the most common destinations for children from this nursery. Helpfully, children can start from age 18 months, so a year earlier than most other nurseries
    • Ringrose Kindergarten Chelsea – an academically oriented kindergarten for children aged 2 1/2 to 5. Located in the St Luke’s Church Hall in Chelsea. Describe themselves very much as a “school” rather than a “playgroup”. Excellent preparation for school.
    • The Roche School nursery, Keswick House (Putney) – rated outstanding across the board, with enviable outdoor space, highly qualified staff and the perfect mix of free play and structured learning. Many girls move on to Wimbledon High and Putney High, others stay on at the Roche School, with the Merlin School and Thomas’s popular options for boys.
    • Strawberry Fields Nursery (Notting Hill) – Notting Hill yummy mummies adore this nursery and it has a glowing Ofsted review. Not big on outdoor space, but nice classrooms and good teaching.
    • Willcocks Nursery (South Kensington) –  one of the longest established private nursery schools in the area led by the highly experienced and wonderful Lavinia Taylor. Located opposite the Royal College of Music and Imperial College, the nursery has a spacious playground. Children can start in the afternoon school aged 2 1/4 years old and can progress to the morning school aged 2 3/4. Outstanding Ofsted rating.
    • Willow Tree Nursery (Stamford Brook) – Plenty of room to play, a garden, highly experienced staff and an outstanding Ofsted rating, what more can one ask for? They even run a holiday club. Popular with families around Ravenscourt Park / Chiswick.
    • Young England Kindergarten (Pimlico) – one of the original nursery schools in London founded in the 1960s and for decades run by the very experienced and dedicated Miss Kay (now joined by her son Henry), this nursery’s motto is “where learning is serious fun!”. Free access to stunning St George’s Square in Pimlico is a big advantage here, as is the busy programme of Ballet, Music, Little Kickers, Gardening and French (to name but a few).
    • Zebedees Nursery (Parsons Green) – outstanding Christian nursery with excellent teaching and impressive individual attention. 2-3 year olds start out in afternoon sessions, moving to the morning school after spending at least a term in the quieter afterschool. There is a weekly toddler group for those who don’t want to wait until age 2.

Of course, always make sure you do your own research and talk to lots of other parents! This list is by no means complete.

Prep schools that have nursery classes are:

224 thoughts on “London’s top nursery and preschools”

  1. Hi, i’m planning to get work transfer to King St. London. Can you pls recommend schools that are nearby. Thanks.

  2. Hi Would you please recommend good nursery /pre school for my 1.6 year old son in South East London near Canada Water or Canary wharf?

  3. I am looking for a feeder type of nursery/preschool for 3+ entry to Hampton pre prep school . Which are the nurseries/preschool would you recommend . Also which nurseries are good for preparing my son for 3+ assessment.
    I live in Isleworth area.
    Many thanks

  4. Just wanted your opinion on Square One nursery school in Putney and whether they are better than other nurseries in the area in preparing for 4+ assessments. Checking their ofsted they only are Good but seem to have an impressive school destinations list. I would appreciate your advise. Thanks

  5. Any opinions on Square One nursery school? Manager seems great and seems academically strong. Do they prepare for Wimbledon high / Putney High? How come are they only Good on Ofsted. How do they compare with the Roche nursery school.

  6. Thank you for the lovely website and useful info. I would like advise on your recommendation for a good nursery in putney to help prepare my daughter for 4+ at Putney High. Currently we have offers from Lion House nursey school and The roche nursery in Keswick House. I would be grateful for your advise. Many thanks

    1. these two are both fantastic!! My kids both went to the Roche nursery and we have been very happy with it. Keswick House is lovely. Nicer garden than Lion House I think. But the teaching at Lion House is also very good. You can’t go wrong with either. I think Lion House is a bit more convenient for working parents potentially, but both are loving and warm, they teach a lot but in a playful way. Neither of them can guarantee 4+ outcomes but they each send a good number of girls to Putney High and the like each year.

    2. Thanks for your prompt reply. I think this is why I’m struggling to make a decision. I am not sure if you are aware but the lion house is now part of the Hurlingham school so I am just concerned they will not be doing any preparation for other schools although I know Keswick House generally do. Can I also ask you for your recommendation for good prep schools in putney with academic background if she does not get a place at Putney High. I have been looking at Hurlingham, The Roche, Fulham Prep and Prospect House but they all seem very good but I just want to know which one has the best academic results overall that would suit a bright but rather shy girl. I would be so grateful for your further advise. Regards Amal

    3. Thanks for your prompt reply. I think this is why I’m struggling to make a decision. I am not sure if you are aware but the lion house is now part of the Hurlingham school so I am just concerned they will not be doing any preparation for other schools although I know Keswick House generally do. Can I also ask you for your recommendation for good prep schools in putney with academic background if she does not get a place at Putney High. I have been looking at Hurlingham, The Roche, Fulham Prep and Prospect House but they all seem very good but I just want to know which one has the best academic results overall that would suit a bright but rather shy girl. Thanks

  7. Any recommendarion on good nursery/prep in hampstead and West Hampstead area, which feeds to top primary schools please?

  8. Hi Would you please recomment good nursery /pre school for my 2.2 year old son in hampstead/west hampstead area whuch feeds to good primary schools later?

    Maria Montessori childrens house seems ok. Assume Broadhurst and Mulberry house too late to apply?

  9. Hi. Would you please recommend a good nursery/prep for my 2.2 year old son in west Hamspead? Any good one which feeds to top primary schools please?
    We checked our Maria Montessori Childrens House, which seems lovely/ but not sure if they can feed into good primary school. Broadhurst school, Mulberry House might be too late to apply now/ we guess.

    Any great nursery/prep nearby at West Hampstead/Hampstead area ease?

  10. Are Strawberry Fields and Pooh Corner (SW7) among these nurseries that needs register from the maternity ward (3 or 6 months, let alone 1-year-old is too late)?

    1. You can still apply with a 1 year old. You may only get the afternoon session at Strawberry Fields, if that is okay for you. Pooh Corner may still offer a morning or full day place, which is probably more convenient.

  11. I am moving to London this summer , so I am looking for a nursery school in Fulham area that has summer school , so my son which is 4years old can get used to the new place .
    Do you have any recommendations
    Best wishes

    1. only daycare nurseries have summer school, most private preschools will be closed for the summer holidays. Pippa Popins runs a few summer day camps, other than that, best to look at local holiday camps such as Little Forest Folk / First Experiences / Supercamps etc

  12. hi, within the Kindergartens group there are quite few branches, do you the difference between Pooh corner SW7 and Mouse House SW6? we know Pooh corner SW7 was the recommended one, how about the Mouse House SW6, will it be similar? there wasn’t much info about Mouse House SW6, we are going to visit both, but would like to know more before going. many thanks!

  13. We were always going to move out of London and last night our plans completely changed which means I have not registered my son to attend any pre-school! He is going to turn 3 end of May. Is there any chance for him to get into a well structured result driven Preschool in central London? We live in Paddington so would love to find out any great preschools taking late admissions. Please help

  14. what feedbacks you get for the Rolfe’s Nursery in notting hill and what do you think? is it true there’s a bullying issue?

    1. Hi Cleo, I really doubt you would find a bullying issue in a small nursery looking after 2-3 year olds! Some kids might misbehave at some point (it happens!) but it is a small, structured and well organised nursery, I am sure they will deal with any problem that occur! Have always heard parents very happy with it.

  15. Hello, My wife and I want to find a nursery school for our 5months boys in Earl’s Court, do you know how can we attend an open day around 24 of October?

  16. what do you know about Kensington kintergarten (23 Addison Rd)? is it as good as chelsea pre prep? is it good at sending girls to Kensington prep? what chelsea nurseries are successful at sending girls to Kensington prep?

  17. Good evening, I am helping a family find placement in London for their 2 1/2 year old daughter. They are moving from the US and I would love any feedback about the following neighborhoods and what schools you would recommend: Kensington, St. John’s Wood, Hempstead, Notting Hill, Primrose Hill.

    Thank you

  18. Hello
    I’m looking at nursery schools for my three year old in Barnes. Are all the outstanding ones fee paying? Which nurseries in Barnes are recommended? Thanks

  19. I’m so surprised that Herne Hill School never features on this site. It’s a fantastic early years specialist with great facilities and an extremely nurturing ethos – “Love, Care, Excellence”. My son is very happy in the Pre-Reception and I would highly recommend it.

    1. thanks for the suggestion – this is really more a question of location, as the site focuses mainly on schools in zones 1 and 2, with a few exceptions.

  20. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing the information. I have recently moved to Ealing Broadway W5 and I’m looking for a nursary for my 11 month daughter as i plan to join work soon. Any leads on the best nurseries in this area?
    Thanks in advance

  21. Hi,

    this site has been hugely resourceful for me, thank you for this. I am currently looking to sign up my 4 months young son at a nursery and a prep school (ideally one that offers German and music lessons) near’ish to our home in Limehouse. I know someone has requested assistance to find a nursery in Limehouse area before.

    Any advice would be gratefully received.


  22. Thank you for the information shared on this website. We have just moved back to London Angel area with our 2 yrs old daughter. There is a space available at the Gower Montessori Nursery and would appreciate any feedback on this institution. Many thanks

    1. there are extensive discussions about this school on the mumsnet forum that you should check. That said, I have met numerous families who were happy with the nursery.

  23. Fantastic list. I wondered if there was anyway you might look at our central London Nursery? I would be more than happy to share details of our successes and certifications?

    We promote bilingualism and have a fantastic ango mandarin learning environment. Our nursery is called Hatching Dragons. I would welcome your thoughts on our site which is

  24. Rosemary Works early years is an Ofsted outstanding nursery with amazing facilities beside the canal in Hackney. It’s also connected to Rosemary Works School located nearby which goes up to age 11. It’s a fantastic environment using progressive methods of education and achieving a high standard of results, with no excessive pressure on the children. I’d thoroughly recommend both the Early Years and the School.

  25. I live in Wapping and looking for a Montessori nursery in Wapping/Limehouse area (E1) for my 18 months old daughter. Any information or suggestions on nurseries on above areas are appreciated! Thanks!

  26. Hi,

    Thank you for a great resource. Do you have any information on the new nursery Phileas Fox nursery in Paddington? Will you be adding it to the website?

    Many thanks!

  27. PLease can I have help I am searching nuersery for my baby can someone help. I live in NW9 HENDON , I am about to register her on Clowns NUrsery. PLease I need Help. Thanks

  28. I’m surprised that Herne Hill School isn’t mentioned on here given its one of the largest pre preps in the country. It’s really excellent and would recommend it

  29. Most of girls at Bute House came from what nursery/ies? The school have some preference to select girls from ‘certain nurseries’? When Falkner House rejects girls who went its nursery, what schools they used to be accepted?

    1. it really makes no difference to Bute which nurseries they come from as it is a lottery at 4+.
      FH girls who don’t get into the main school can be a wide range – Glendower is a common choice, as is Queen’s Gate, Knightsbridge School, Garden House…

  30. We are relocating to London end Aug somewhere in the Notting Hill
    And surrounds area – I have 3 year old twins that I would like to go to nursery for the 15 hour government funded. Any suggestions of schools that may accept them this late preferably catholic as we are practising. Thankyou so much in advance!!

  31. Hi I’m looking for a nursery, nursery school or montessori near Totteridge & Whetstone. Please can you help recommend? I am a mum of an 18 month old so looking for 2 plus. Thank you

  32. Hi,
    We are an Indian family who shifted last week to London for work. I’m looking for a pre school for my 3 year old son. Since we are yet to finalise the area where we would be living, can you please guide areas in London(preferably near canary wharf since my hubby works there) where we could find good play school, nursery for my son. Many thanks.

  33. Strawberry Fields Nursery and Ringrose Kindergarten are feeders to Kensington prep? What nurseries are known as feeders to Garden House Boys school?

    1. not really, I wouldn’t call any nursery a feeder but most girls at KPS obviously come from the local nurseries – Pippa Popins, Zebedees, Dawmouse Montessori, Bishops Park Montessori, some from Chelsea Pre-Prep and a wide range of other nurseries. Garden House has its own nursery which is obviously a feeder, otherwise Miss Daisy’s and Chelsea Pre-Prep as well.

  34. Looking for good nursery and prep school for my 5 months baby. Any recommendations? Please help.

    Thank you in advance

  35. Hi,

    I am an Indian mother of three year girl child and new in london , looking a play school or day care near SE 16 plough way 32 Iceland whraf.

    Could someone suggest me some gud options.

    Thank you.

  36. Hi,
    Could you recommend me on the best nurseries or pre-school with nursery in Chiswick? My son is 30 months .

  37. Would highly recommend great beginnings Montessori in Marylebone – the headmistress is wonderful, staff is loving and caring and almost every parent has had all their children go to this nursery (including my two). True montessori and very nurturing and skill enhancing!!!

  38. Relocating to London in August with a 3 year old. Will live in Kensington/West Kensington area. Is there any way to apply for a Catholic school before moving, or would I have to do that once we’ve arrived – are they considered state schools? And in that case, would it be too late? We are Catholic and daughter currently attends a Catholic nursery school. I am interested in Larmenier and Sacred Heart which has an Ofsted Outstanding rating, but they were less than helpful when I telephoned for information. I have researched private nurseries as well, but I’m extremely discouraged as all the ones I’ve researched appear to be oversubscribed, some won’t even allow me to apply until after I visit which won’t happen till June. Is there even any point in putting my name down, or just a waste of the application fee at this point? I am looking at Bright Sparks Montessori, Iverna Gardens Montessori, Ladybird South Kensington, Pippa Pop-ins Kensington, Miss Delaney’s, Holland Park Pre-Prep, Little Cherubs and Les Chatons. Worried I will end up spending 1000 on application fees and still end up with no place for her. Any advice welcome, I’m feeling just sick at the thought of taking my daughter away from her beautiful nursery school at home.

    1. you can only apply once you live here. You should always call the nursery first before sending in an application to make sure you don’t waste your fees. We do offer consulting services if that could help you save time and money during your search…

  39. Hi,
    could you give me advice on the best nurseries or pre-school with nursery in Richmond? My daughter is 2 years.
    Thanks in advance,

  40. Hi all…
    This article is great for new people moving to London soon.
    I will be moving to London this March and really messed up on the nursery and school structure in London. We starting from scratch and have the option to search for a house based on good nurseries. May I know good nurseries around Ilford? Looking out for specially Montessori method of teaching. Please advice. My daughter is 2.5 years old.

  41. Hi there,

    I am a mother of a 19 months daughter , and I just moved in London, I was wondering if there is a list of good French nurseries in SW London , and if there are certain schools which give priority to children who attended specific nurseries ?

    Thanks in advance for your help.


  42. Hello,

    Any opinion on Devonshire Nursery in Chiswick? I would like my daughter to start just a couple of mornings when she will be two and I am not particularly selective in terms of whether the nursery is a feeder of a particular school or not as we already have a place in the school of our choice when she will be 5 but I do care about cleanness and calm environment (and being a day nursery from 6 months old babies I am doubtful about the latest…..).
    Not really much of a choice in the area but maybe you have any suggestion?

  43. Hello, we are relocating from Kensington to Barnes and I am looking for a good nursery for my 2yr old in the new area. I visited 6 nurseries already and have been pretty disappointed about the facilities when comparing them to Kensington standards (too dark, no central heating, no proper kids toilets etc etc). Of course, a purpose built nursery does not make a good nursery alone, but I also have doubts how well trained the staff are to prepare the kids for the 4+ assessments. The new Bright Horizons seems nice but not a fan of the big chains and it feels a bit unpersonal there. Any advice on good nurseries in Barnes?

    1. Hi there
      We send our 8mo to noddys on Gwendolen Ave in putney. It’s beautiful and lovely staff. Quite expensive but all of the nurseries in this area are. I’ve checked it cheaper options and wouldn’t touch them personally. Gwendoline house and noddys at the best in this area
      Good luck!
      I don’t rate brighten horizons 🙁

  44. Hello, we are relocating from Kensington to Barnes and I am looking for a good nursery for my 2yr old in the new area. I visited 6 nurseries already and have been pretty disappointed about the facilities when comparing them to Kensington standards (too dark, no central heating, no proper kids toilets etc etc). Well, a purpose built nursery does not make a good nursery alone, but I also have doubts how well trained the staff are to prepare the kids for the 4+ assessments and if they are learning enough. The new Bright Horizons seems nice but not a fan of the big chains and it feels a bit unpersonal there. Any advice on good nurseries in Barnes?

    1. most people in the area go to state schools or to independent schools that are mostly non-selective in that area, so it is really tricky to find one that prepares well for assessments. Montessori schools are usually a good choice in that regard, as they encourage a lot of the skills selective skills look for. If you can make a sure drive to East Putney, Keswick House (part of the Roche School) is a fantastic nursery school with beautiful facilities.

  45. Hi Everyone,

    Very helpful all information posted ! On our way to moving to London and I really need some advice. I ve got a 15 months baby boy and I don t know what s the procedure with the nurseries. Are all of these private? How much does it cost per month? Thank you! Tatiana

  46. Hi Our son is 8 months old now. Is it too late to apply for Mulberry and Broadhurst etc? Is it worth to put him on the waiting list? Or should we just look for other options? Many thanks!

  47. If you are in the Cockfosters and Hadley Wood area then do visit this brand new nursery school, which is focused on education and making children School-ready. I was very impressed by them and they seem to have strong ties to the local community and private primary schools.

    1. Thank you for the suggestion, I visited them during an open day and was impressed by Alphablocks nursery school, i decided to send my 2 year old there. Carefully selected furniture and all-wooden toys in the school.

  48. Hello!
    I live in Spitafields (near Liverpool Street Station) and there are not many options for nurseries around, I visited the Bright Horizon one in Spitafields, the staff looked lovely but I found the place a bit small. Does anyone have any opinion on this nursery? Do you have any other recommendation?
    Thank you so much

  49. Hi,
    We live near Lambeth North and Waterloo and our expecting our first baby in January 2016. We are completely new to this…please can someone help with names of recommended day care nurseries with good prospects and training for following education, in this area? Also, any ideas on when we need to register, please let us know. I’m in my 6th month currently. Thank you for your help and advice in advance 🙂

  50. Hello

    I am also looking for an outstanding nursery/childminder/nanny for my twins (under 2 yrs) in Stratford as Little Bears has a huge waiting list… Many thanks in advance,


  51. Hi – does anyone have current recommendation for nurseries in Stratford please? Have looked at Little Bears in East Village and am on the huge waiting list (little one not due until November!) and also planning to visit Alphabet House. Any thoughts much appreciated!

  52. I just visited Active Learning fulham nursery and was very impressed with the manager there who was both friendly and knowledgable. The nursery it self was great with loads of different settings for the children to explore, alongside having different teachers coming in to teach specialist subjects such as French, Music, Sports & Dance. Another great bonus was the nursery isn’t too full which I prefer so my child isn’t lost in the crowd

  53. Hello!

    This site is brilliant! Thank you for providing all of this info and keeping it so up your date.

    My husband and I would value your thoughts on the following two nurseries (Islington/Hackney borders, N1) for our son who will be 1yrs old when he begins. Both nurseries offer a pre-school option (Rosemary Works, I think goes to 7yo) We don’t envisage additional tutoring, ideally the preschool will prepare him sufficiently to hit the ground running at an Independent primary. Our thoughts at present:

    Rosemary Works (Branch Place/Regent’s canal): Very informal, family feel, the staff seem very friendly and chatty – pefect for a tiny baby aged 1-3yrs old. However we wonder whether it may be a tad too informal for when our son needs prepping for Primary School)

    The Grove Nursery & Preschool (Shepperton Road). Very switched on Directors. Great policies and procedures. Great facilities and great attention to detail. However, the place itself left us feeling a little cold. The environment was spacious, lots of natural light, however it also seemed a little austere. The staff seemed friendly, but timid, almost as though nervous of saying/doing anything wrong in front of their manager conducting the viewing.

    In spite of the above we’re confident that our son would be very well equipped to go straight into a competitive primary at an extremely high level.

    Would you be able to offer any views or thoughts on either of these nurseries? Or be able to signpost me to more information. I’ve scoured mumsnet and netmums but I’m not finding anything recent, relevant or particularly helpful at present.

    Any guidance and/or insight greatly appreciated!

    Best wishes,


  54. Hi. I’m looking for any advice on a nursery in the north west london area. I’m based in Mill Hill, NW7. Was interested in bright little stars however there waiting list is too long. Any other suggestions please?

  55. Im moving to London in august and i would like to know about full time nurseries in any area of London,i have two boys, 11months and 3 yrs.
    I would like to know about costs when they both go to the same nursery,ive read that some give a discount in this cases.
    Also i’d like to know a range of costs if its possible.
    Another question, does my 3 yr old be elegible to go to a preeschool in order to then go directly to the same school after? (he will be 4 in march)
    Thank you for the help!

    Thank you

    1. there are plenty of daycare nurseries. Bright Horizons and Kids Unlimited as well as Active Learning are bigger chains. Sibling discounts tend to me minimal. It depends on the neighbourhood but a full-time place (Mon – Fri, 8am – 6pm, 50 weeks a year) tends to be around £1,300 – 1,500 per month per child. Not cheap! Daycares are not linked to specific schools so 4+ admission would be independent of that.

    1. in terms of assessment preparation and quality of teaching supposed to be really good. not big on outdoor space and facilities, as many other nurseries in the area.

    2. pooh corner in Holland Park has just opened and it’s a lovely little setting. The head is very experienced and has vast knowledge of local prep as well as primary school. The teachers focus on the children and take a holistic approach to learning.

  56. We are moving to Chiswick from Singapore in July and would love some recommendations for where to send my almost three year old (he’ll be three in October) and also preschool for my 18month old. Is it going to be a nightmare getting a place somewhere good? Thanks so much

    1. Chiswick has lots of good places, the question is always availability, so best to call all the five or so prep schools there to see who has space, and otherwise focus on nurseries with an outstanding Ofsted rating (ideally). I could tell you all the best places but in your situation you probably need to go by availability as it is quite late.

  57. Elaine Postill

    Dear all,
    The comments on this site have really helped me. Does anyone have experience of nurseries in South West London? We are in Furzedown, near Tooting and Streatham with easy access to battersea, clapham and balham too. Thanks, Elaine

  58. Does anyone have any experience of nurseries in Queens Park or Kensal Rise? NW6, NW10, NW2 areas. Especially Beehive, Jellytots and Crickets.
    thanks very much

  59. My son goes to an absolute gem of a nursery in Kew, Richmond it’s called ‘The Barn’. It’s not-for-profit in a large church hall, lovely staff and Ofsted calls it “awe inspiring”. I would really recommend it.

  60. Hello and congratulations on this excellent website, I have found it extremely helpful.
    Do you have any suggestions for a nursery that could potentially lead to a place in a good primary around the Islington border with Hackney area?
    Exactly as you have written I discovered that The Gatehouse is oversubscribed, William Tyndale is a distant dream and the closest school, Our lady and St Joseph is outstanding but I am worried about sending my child in a catholic school as we are neither Catholic or particularly religious. Do you please have any suggestions?
    Many thanks.

    1. Thank you although this is very far away from the islington-hackney border. Is the New north academy or Rotherfield any good? Unfortunately this is what the catchment area rule has in store for us….

  61. Any suggestions for my 3 year old for a preschool near harrow to prepare him for 4+ tests? He’s currently at Asquith in hatch end since he was a baby but would like him better prepared for the test.

  62. Hello! First of all, thanks for this informative article website – a great help to those of us moving to London. We will be relocating to London later this year, and our daughter will be two in October. I am rather overwhelmed at how ‘late’ we are to be enrolling for top nurseries/schools etc, but we only just found out about the move. My husband will be working near Liverpool Street, and we would like a vibrant/cosmopolitan neighbourhood, so we are looking at Notting Hill/Holland Park/Chelsea. I would love to find a nursery that is attached to a good school, but my other aim would be to find a place where she could start earlier than 3 – maybe half days from January 2016, as I think will be ready for more varied group and structured activities (Montessori or Montessori-light, maybe!). At the same time, we still want a warm and nurturing environment at her young age. Any advice? Other schools in areas that might not be on my radar? Thank you!

    1. You could
      Look at Pooh Corner Holland Road W148Ah (
      A new Nursery starting at two

  63. We are a young family of 4 (a soon to be 2 year old girl end of this month, and a 3 week old baby girl). We are moving to London from Oslo this April (both my husband and I, having lived in London before for many years). We are looking for a nursery school for our eldest, hoping to find a good school that will enable her to go on to a good primary school later on. We are looking to Chelsea, St Johns Wood and Hamsptead as potential places for finding a place to live (in order of priority), we will decide on the place based on where we get a spot in a nursery. After reading your site (which is superhelpful!!!! thanks for sharing all these useful info) I am wondering if you have recommendations for these three areas, I like the Montessori method, but I’m open to other places which have a good curriculum and where you have received positive feedback! Thanks.

    1. Hampstead has the Maria Montessori Children’s House which might be worth checking out, otherwise in Chelsea you will find a lot of places that call themselves Montessori but are really not, always check for accreditation! You would not believe how very formal, structured nurseries with mostly teacher led activities call themselves Montessori here. In Chelsea, Paint Pots Montessori is “proper” Montessori but it’s only for nursery age, the schools after are generally mainstream.

  64. hi, is there an updated version of the London nursery list above? moving yo parsons green and looking for some nursery advice? thanks.

    1. Hello London Preprep and mums!

      Any experience/ thought on Bishops Park Montessori Nursery – close to Parsons Green area?

      Great website, extremely helpful… Thanks!

  65. Londonpreprep, maybe worth updating this article? Tadpoles Nursery Park Walk is no longer rated Outstanding and I personally agree/ wouldnt put it in the same category as a “top” nursery.

    1. thanks for the hint – will update the wording. It is now rated “good” overall, but if you read the report it is actually very positive and praises many outstanding and excellent features. It also highlights the one area where many agree that there is room for improvement. I certainly think it is a nursery that people should visit and see if it for them. For a lot of “top” nurseries, some might suit some children better than others, there is no absolute best list, it depends on the child and on what the parents are looking for.

    2. Having had a child there personally, I wouldn’t recommend it to most, unless there is no other choice. It is not a bad nursery, it is just not a good nursery in my opinion. (Headmistress blamed parents when the school was downgraded by ofsted, never willing to take any suggestions, teaching is about 6-9 months later on each developmental milestone than other nurseries nearby, I can go on…)

  66. New comer in the streatham area in April, any advice on area primary schools? we are French coming from the US, also interested to know about any bilingual opportunities in the area?

  67. Hi, I have a 9 month old daughter and we have recently moved to watford. I am startung work in March 2015 and looking for an outstanding nursery in watford or near bank station (where i will be working). can you suggest any nurseries that would be happy to take a baby at such short notice. also, i searched for newpark childcare. how would you rate it?

    1. I don’t know about Watford specifically but Ofsted publishes an Excel file with all outstanding providers by age group and council, so you could get a list from the file

  68. Hi, I’m looking for a daycare nursery for my child (will be 13 moths old) in Canada Water/ Rotherhithe and surrounding areas. Any recommendations please? Thank you.

  69. Any views on some of the other nurseries / pre-prep schools in Islington such as St. Andrews, Children’s House, Mars Montessori and the Gower School? Do these places prepare the children for the assessments for prep schools? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    1. I taught in the Gower School and can only say good things about the nursery. The primary school, however, needs some more work especially because there are a lot of newly qualified teachers with not a lot of experience, therefore they do not know how to many professional judgement.
      St. Andrew Montessori school in Islington is a lovely, small, Montessori school. I highly recommend them both.

  70. Hi, I am 5 1/2 months preggers but starting to get organised about the nursery school registration process so we can register just as soon as my little guy is born at the end of March. We are living in Marylebone and are looking ultimately to send our boy to Wetherby. I am familiar with the Alpha group schools (Rolfe’s and Minors) but am wondering whether you have any advice on schools closer to W1 area? I’ve heard that distance may be a challenge in the admissions process. Any thoughts would be appreciated! Thank you.

  71. Hi,
    I would like to know if anyone has any recommendations for nursery or day school in central london that takes in part time 8am-1pm from Monday to Friday and offers the 15 hrs free nursery.

  72. Can you refer me to a preschool and Kindergarten in London that has a special program for students with multicultural background. I am representing a preschool/Kindergarten in Iceland who is interested in visiting and starting a collaboration project. Thank you

  73. Hi I’m looking for a daycare nursery for my child who will be 13 months. I live in north west London (Ealing area). Really want somewhere that will help to progress into a very good nursery. Any thoughts??

  74. Hi. Do you have any recommendation of a good nursery in East London please? I am looking for one near Stratford and Bow area.


  75. Why aren’t the real “heavy hitters” of South London and London listed i.e. DUCKS (Dulwich College’s Nursery-Pre-prepatory school) & “Eaton House Schools…….these students of schools alone get an average of 7 offers “each” from the top prep-schools in the country!!

    1. DUCKS will be included soon, it was mainly out for now because this overview started for Central London schools. But we are very much aware of DUCKS and are due to visit and profile the school soon. EH is another story – if you do a search on this site you will still find them.

    2. Hi,

      I’m a Mum of a 19 month old and am 6 months pregnant with our second child. We live in the Kenley/purley area and would like to see some reviews on the nurseries/prep schools in this area. Is this something we can look forward to in the future? Unfortunalty most of the schools reveiwed on this site are not within an hours drive or commute.
      We have visited Old Palace of Whitgift where we have secured a place for our first child. We were also very impressed by the Head and ethos of Cumnor House Boys, we hoped to send our son to the adjoining nursary school there however unfortunately the manager at the Treetops nursery was rude and unwelcoming when we visited. On the contrary to all that I have read in inspection reports, she was fairly abrupt when we made general enquiries about the day to day activities and did not appear to answer our detailed questions on the education and provision of children with additional needs (a typical query for conscientious parents if you ask me).
      Does anyone know how do some of the Purley/cater ham/Kenley/Croydon independent/grammar schools such as Whitgift, Royal Russell, Trinity, Elm compare to the London equivalents?
      Thank you.

  76. Hello,
    We will be moving for my husband’s work sometime late spring / early summer. I will need to find something for my daughter for next school year when she turns 4. I have no idea what neighborhood to move us to and right now, I feel the school will dictate the move. What is the best way for us to get her into either a private nursery school (love the Montessori approach) or to try to get her into a public nursery when we are moving so late in the application process? Which neighborhoods to people recommend for us to look into that won’t be insanely expensive and might have spots in 4s classes come summertime?


  77. Was a bit too short in my first comment; my daughter has been offered a spot in both but I am waiting on Rolph’s and Minors as well…
    I am trying to make a decision on what is best… And although I really like the Montessori method I don’t have a lot of information on either…

    thank you

  78. Hello,
    Any thoughts on Ladbroke Square Montessori nursery and Pangbourne House, which seems to be a spin off of the former?
    Thank you

    1. LSM tends to get good reviews, the square is a plus of course, compared to some other nurseries in the area that have little or no outdoor space, even the “famous” ones.

  79. Hi,

    We are a Colombian family with two kids: 2.9 and 4 years old. We will be relocated to London but don’t have yet date of arrival. Since my husband office would be near Gatwick, we have been searching on internet in different areas of Surrey (From Woking to Oxshott). First I have one question, what would you recommend me for each of my kids, since Luna is 4, should I consider to join her at a School that offers Early years Education? or should you recommend to look for a Nursery for her also? what would you say about ISL Surrey and ACS Cobham? Wich nursery would you recommend in this area?
    Thanks for all your comments and post, they have been really useful!!!


  80. Hello, My daughter is nearly 4 and she is down syndrom , I would like to know which the best private nursries support special needs in West London or near Park Royal Station..
    Thank you ..

  81. Hello

    I think the Little Tug Boat day nursery in Fulham used to be on this list, but I can no longer see it. Is there a reason for that?
    Thank you.

  82. Hello. My son is enrolled in nursery from next Sept ’15. (He will be a little over 2.5 years old then). I am interested in putting him maybe 1-2 mornings a week from 2-2.5 years (before he starts his other nursery). Do you recommend any good nurseries in the Bayswater area that he could attend. We are in W9 (close to Royal Oak station and not far from Bayswater). I am looking into Warwick Nursery and Carlton Hill. Thank you.

    1. Hi – we are in similar and looking for a nursery in W9 / Bayswater area. Any good recommendation for a full day nursery ?

  83. Hi, I have a child (5y) and Im looking for portuguese/english school near Canary Wharf. Is there an option? Thanks.

  84. Hi, my niece and nephews went to Dawmouse in Fulham about 7 years ago, and my sister raved about it. We now have a baby girl and live in the area, and were thinking of putting her down for it. Any feedback on it? Many thanks – v helpful website!!

  85. Hi

    We are looking for nurseries in the Honor Oak area for our 19month old daughter. We would be extremly grateful for any suggestions.

    Many thanks

  86. Hi,
    What about the Ladbroke Montessori nursery school? Is it good a good one?
    thank you very much for your help

  87. Does anyone have any thoughts on nursery schools in Chiswick? Specifically, Devonshire Day Nursery, or Buttercup or Teddies? Moving to London from the US, and we have FANTASTIC nursery/school situation here, AND need to place multiple little ones in a short time frame so a bit of trepidation!

  88. Sharanjit Dhesi

    Hi, which are good pre prep schools around west london (I live in Ealing).. fee paying please? thank you

  89. Does anybody have any experience with One World Montessori Nursery in Brook Green, Hammersmith? They are rated Outstanding, but little info on what the main schools are it feeds into.

    Many thanks

    1. I have had three children at One World. What a fantastic start to education . The private prep schools they have moved on to are very disappointing after such a wonderful experience

    2. I live in the area and almost put my daughter in there but had heard that lots of parents have been unhappy and pulling children out recently. Staff changes made the nursery a different place than it was before. Try Brook Green Nursery also on the Green and is wonderful – my daughter goes there and we love it. Honest, caring and great preparation for school with a very large garden.

    3. Hello, we’ve just moved into the Brook Green area from Belgium and are looking for a nursery for our 21 month old. I’ve visited One World and Little Owls. I’d be really interested in hearing further about feedback on these. I rang Brook Green Nursery but the manager was quite dismissive and didn’t want to give me a tour as they’re full and don’t do waiting lists. Any feedback or suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you!

  90. Hello,

    We are moving to Richmond soon and have a 20 month old. Having gone through the list here and a few othere places I still havent really been able to identify good nurseries in that Area – any recommendations ?

  91. Hi,
    I am looking for a full time nursery close to Earls Court/Gloucester Road/Kensington Highstreet Area and was wondering if you could recommend good nurseries with extended hours.
    Many thanks!

    1. Francesca Short

      My youngest has followed in my eldest son footsteps at Tadpoles Nursery School is Park Walk. It is a really lovely nursery with amazing outdoor space, a huge garden and large playground.
      The staff are all really nurturing and the head is fantastic, they have a great reputation with all of the ‘next schools’ in the area and they are such a forward thinking and all encompassing school. A lot of the children come from the Earls Court area.

  92. Hello – many of the nurseries in this article have specific term dates. Can you recommend any nurseries in the Fulham, South Kensington area which do not have term dates ? i.e. are open all year bar the obvious bank holiday etc. We are moving back to London with our 2 year old daughter in 2 months and would struggle to cover 10 weeks holiday a year for her !!

    1. Hi Bea – if you scroll down there are suggestions for daycare type nurseries at the bottom. In SW6 that would be Active Learning, Tugboats, Bobby’s PLayhouse, Pippa Poppins (they run term time but have holiday clubs), Peques and a few others…

  93. Hello! We (French-Spanish family) just moved from Paris to London. We live at Imperial Wharf and would love to receive some feedback on the Bright Horizon nursery at Imperial Wharf. We have an 8 monther… Thank you!

  94. Hi, I came across this page while researching for a nursery in London. The list you have provided are all for 2yrs and above. Could you kindly recommend a day nursery for children aged 1-2? Thanks in advance.

  95. Dear Pre Prep,
    I just wanted to add to the comments that we are extremely pleased with Little Unicorn Day Nurseries in Canary Wharf. Very commited, loving staff, all very well trained. Hugely supported me and my son with his many and sincere food allergies. They know all about avoiding food allergies, but also what to do in an emergency. Very personal and individual approach. Also sports lessions and french.

  96. I had recommend Colfes school and also its nursey, after a huge search we zeroed in on this school in the South East. well located for people in Blackheath, Greenwich, Canary Wharf, Lewisham, Lee etc. usually there is a waitlist, so plan ahead. It’s a delight to see our child transforming and the kind of knowledge imparted, methods followed and the attention to details by teachers is amazing. Its been a pleasant journey for us and our child. Wish I had studied in such a school.

    1. Hi Nayana,

      I just read your comments on London prep prep regarding colfe’s school and I am very much interested to find out more about the school. We attended the open day last Saturday and registered for our son for a place in September 2016 term. We are now waiting for a call for the assessment. I would be grateful if we can get in touch as I have number of questions to ask.

      many thanks.

  97. Hello

    I am a Chinese mom of one-year-and-half boy and moving to work in London. Recently I have been doing reseach on nurseries for my little one. But I read an article reporting that nurseries create anti-social, upset toddlers, and come across “Too Much Too Soon” campaign emphasing the importance of play and games at early age. So may I ask the top nurseries in your list, are they good because of academic aspects?

    Ideally I would like my baby to go to a nursery where he can be happy, have fun and healthy organic food. Maybe that is what every mum wants.



    1. Dear Lu, thanks for your comment! I think the recent campaign referred to harmful effects of formal schooling at an early age, not so much to harmful effects of early nursery provision. Nurseries here very much focus on learning through play and know about the importance of free play. The list here provides a range of different styles, some recognised for their “academic” quality (usually meaning they are good at preparing kids for 4+ assessments), others for their outdoor space or pastoral care, many of these have outstanding Ofsted ratings which encompasses social and emotional well-being of the children as well as their intellectual development. Healthy food is actually not so easy to find in my experience, even when they claim it’s organic I have noticed many nurseries give young babies healthy veggie purees but then the toddlers get an awful amount of processed food (chicken mcnuggets, tuna bake etc) so you really need to visit and see for yourself!

    2. Hello Lu,

      Have you found your preferred nursary? I am also a Chinese mom planning to move to London with my 3-years-old daughter. Would love to hear your recommendations.

  98. I live in Haringey but I am willing to travel for my son to go to a good nursery. Do you happen to know the closest nursery to Haringey?
    Thank you!!

    1. Thank you for your advice. My son is attending Montissori Nursery. I am looking to move to Walthamstow. Do you know nurseries on their own or nurseries that are part of a primary school unit that are good, I would be very grateful. I’m not sure whether to transfer my son once we move or to still continue at the nursery he is now.
      Thank you.

  99. We just found out that we are moving to London (South Kensington) at the beginning of the year. Do we have any hope of getting our 2 year old into a nursery? Thank you!

  100. We are very keen to tieup/collaborate with a branded pre/prep school in United Kingdom.Kindly help us, in identifying a branded Pre/Prep School of repute to talk/discuss, collaboration.
    Warm Regards,
    Bikram Dasgupta

  101. My daughter (2) goes to Bright Horizons in Regents Park, and we have been extremely pleased with them. And she loves it, as well. They offer 8:00-18:00 M-F, plus half day too.

  102. Hi there!
    We are a British-Brazilian family moving over to London early next year.
    We have started emailing some nurseries, but as we are not there yet, scheduling a visit is not feasible until around November.
    We found a nursery called The Square School in Notting Hill – any reviews on that one? They have an outstanding Ofsted report.
    Thanks for the site, the advice has been so good especially for us with no idea of how the system operates there (we lived in London before but without kids – very different reality!!)

    1. I am in the exact same situation here Andrea, Italian-Brazilian family moving to London with a 2.5 year old. We have been living in São Paulo for the past 2 years but we were in London before that. I narrowed down to 2 neighborhoods I would like to live and now focusing on the nurseries in that area. I started looking at pre prep but even though we can narrow down to some I think it takes time and we have to be there to visit. Keep us posted!

  103. Hi, I’m looking for a good nursery and pre prep school for my daughter in the e14 or se1 area. Can you recommend any?

  104. Hi There – I have noticed when reviewing prep school exit results that there does not seem to be many leaving to go to grammar schools. The majority are continuing onto other independent schools. I have also read the prep work required for entry to Tiffin for instance is sigifnicantly more challenging than gaining entry to an independent at 11+ and therefore tutoring is more likely to yield better results than being at a prep school. Is there any weight to this argument or will your child still stand a better chance of gaining entry to selective grammar schools if they are at a prep school without tutoring?

  105. Talking of good nurseries, My daughter attended the Little Unicorn Nursey at Bank Street in Canary Wharf, since she turned two. It was an absolute pleasure to see my daughter blossom there. Very positive developmental changes we saw, excellent caring staff that we interacted with. often heard other parents saying that its a very homely setting. Our full points to them.

    Have also heard of Muddy Boots Nursery inside the mudchute park,Isle of Dogs. Did visit them, quite impressive setting, and an equally impressive OFSTED rating.however they are usually having a huge waitlist.

    1. Manish – thanks so much for your comment! In fact, I also have friends with two kids at Little Unicorn and they also love it! Sounds like a great place!

  106. Hi, I’m curious…you’ve mentioned Mulberry House, Broadhurst, St Johns Wood per-prep in the north London nursery/ pre-prep context. Any opinion on Hampstead Hill School? That’s from 2-7 as well.

  107. Hi , I’m interested on your opinion of Asquith Day Nurseries especially the one in Hendon,NW4 (Hendon Day Nursery). Do the nurseries serve as a proper foundation for entry into pre-prep schools at 3+. My 19month old son is registered with Grimsdell (Mill Hill School foundation) 3+ and Arnold House 5+, and I am trying to be cautious to ensure he gets a well grounded foundation before being assessed at 3+. Do you recommend any other nurseries in North London?

    1. Hi – I do not know specifically about this nursery. Try asking on the mumsnet forum! The North London nursery best known for 4+/5+ preparation is Broadhurst but it requires very early registration!

  108. Hi there – in terms of registering your child for nurseries and schools. Is it generally earlier the better. ie can you put your child on before birth. Our daughter is now 7m old and wondering if we have left it too late for nurser/school registration.


    1. HI Sam – that depends a bit on when you want her to start. If you go back to work at 7 months then obviously putting their name down at 7m it’s too late- but if you have a year or two more that’s fine with most nurseries. But with very popular one is to get their name down straight after birth. Some nurseries do have an “unborn waiting list” and then you phone after birth to move them to the proper waiting list. It depends on the nursery.

  109. My daughter goes to Busy Bees ( Wandsworth bridge) and I have been very impressed by nursery. The staff are really friendly and caring and it is a real pleasure picking up and dropping my daughter off there. They have a lot of activities, french lessons every week . Also very impressive menu all prepared in house. I would really recommend it to everyone.

    1. I called to enquire about registration for my newborn and found the registrar at Thomas’ Kensington extremely rude without any apparent reason. Definitely not what I expected from such a reputable institution!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top