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Ottie & the Bea

12 Old Dover Rd Blackheath London SE3 7BT

If there's a better small shop for children in south London than this, we've yet to find it. Set up by Julia and Peter (and their children) lss than a decade ago, it does a fantastic job of being that it aspires to be – a place of playfulness, creativity and possibility. It's also much more than just a toy shop, with everything from stationery to art materials to books and clothes. Everything is well chosen and high quality, which means it's not especially cheap, but there are refreshingly few signs of the plastic tat that parents with young children become so used to – indeed the great thing about Ottie and the Bea is that it's almost as much of a joy for parents to browse as kids. Almost, but not quite – kids will always find something they want here, service is as great as you would expect, and the shop also runs regular events and readings to whet their appetite.  As they say themselves, playing and having fun is a serious matter whatever age you are...

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