We love it because... It's the last thing you would expect to come across as you approach the park through the residential streets of South Norwood. It's such a breath of fresh air and an idyllic surprise when you arrive. There's plenty of green space to throw out the picnic rug or if you're keen for the exercise (and need to keep pacing to keep your baby asleep!), striding around the edge of the lake is wonderful, seeing it from each beautiful angle.
We spotted... The lovely, albeit basic, cafe just inside the main entrance to the park (within the sailing club buildings). Offering a range of coffees, brunch, sandwiches and a dedicated kids menu, this is a great option if it's not picnic weather. They also run mum-and-baby sessions, such as children's cinema screenings and drama classes, so check the Lakes cafe social media pages or pop in and see the team for more info (they don't have a dedicated website).
What's not so good... The loos in the Lakes cafe are basic and we didn't spot any baby change facilities. The cafe isn't open first thing in the morning either, and there's very little information about it online to help you plan your day.
Top tip... You may have thought getting your child involved in a sailing club was out of the question living so centrally in London. However, Croydon Sailing Club are based at Norwood lakes, so get in touch.