40 Years of Busy Bees


Nursery in

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Busy Bees


Book your visit today Use our funding calculator

New parent? Call 0330 333 8133

Existing parent? Call 01325 468774

Opening Times:

From 07:30 to 18:00 Mon - Fri

Looking for a safe environment where your child can learn while having fun? Kids 1st Ferndene provides excellent quality childcare in Darlington.

Formerly known as Ferndene Nursery, it's situated in what was once a large Victorian lodge and coaching house just a short way from the town centre. Its soothing decor creates a warm and welcoming environment, while the building's multiple rooms provide plenty of space for the children.

Our nursery is divided into three sections, one for each age group: babies, toddlers, and pre-school-age children. The rooms are equipped with lots of toys and games designed to help little ones learn and have fun. From role-play kitchens to water tables, and train sets to building blocks - we always look to keep your child happy and engaged.

We also believe it's important for kids to get out and learn outdoors. The Ferndene nursery features a walled garden featuring a playground, a woodland area, and lots more. Here, the children can challenge themselves and learn about taking safe risks, all while supervised by our dedicated nursery team.

Throughout your child's time with us, we'll prepare them for the next big chapter in their lives - the move into full-time primary school education. We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. This helps the development of those all-important skills - such as reading, writing, maths and understanding the world around them.

Want to find out more about our Ferndene nursery in Darlington? Book your visit with Kids 1st today to come and meet our friendly team.

Not sure if Kids 1st Ferndene is the best option for your family? View all of our Nurseries in Darlington to explore all Busy Bees locations in your area.

Pebble flexible childcare at Kids 1st Ferndene

We understand that parents and carers lead busy lives, and we want to do everything possible to help. That’s why Kids 1st Ferndene offers the flexibility of booking additional sessions for when you need them.​ Find out more about our nursery session booking app, Pebble.

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Busy Bees

Kids 1st Ferndene

64 Elton Parade


County Durham


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Elizabeth Charlton - Centre Director

Elizabeth Charlton

Centre Director

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Nursery Facilities at Kids 1st Ferndene

Here's a snapshot of just some of the wonderful facilities we offer at our Day Nursery in Darlington. Click on each facility to find out more.

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Car Parking
We offer ample parking on-site for your safety and convenience.

Buggy store
A safe place to store your pram while visiting the nursery.

Our nursery is fitted with CCTV for the safety and security of our team and the children in our care.

Secure Access
Our entrance ways are fitted with an intercom system and all access points are safe and secure.

Nappies and Wipes inclusive
Fees are all-inclusive to include nappies and wipes.

Formula Milk provided
Fees are inclusive to include formula milk if required.

Meals and Snacks Provided
All meals, drinks and snacks are prepared on-site by our chef and NHS accredited.

Outdoor Facilities
Our outdoor environment offers space to explore and take safe risks with the support of our team, aiding child development.

Sensory Room
Our Sensory Room is a relaxing space providing a unique sensory experience with activities and equipment to explore, engaging and stimulating children’s senses.

Parent Room
Our parent room is a dedicated safe space for us to get to know your family and you to speak in confidence with our nursery team about your child's nursery life.

Smart Board
Our Interactive Smart Board is used daily to bring learning to life and provides children with a hands-on approach with technology.

Funded Childcare
We offer government funded places for children aged 3 to 4 years, please speak to the Centre Director for more information.

We have a fully qualified Teacher in our pre-school room who delivers exciting learning opportunities, whilst ensuring statutory and legal welfare requirements are met for every child.

Foundation Class
The foundation class nurtures each child's natural curiosity within a structured framework providing pre-school children with an early introduction to school life.

We keep families informed through ParentZone, an online learning journal platform, which can be accessed via a smartphone app.

Exclusive to Busy Bees, UP is a learning and development app used by educators in our nursery and parents at home. Search ‘UP by Busy Bees’ on the app store to find out more.

Book Extra Sessions Online
We offer online booking for extra ad-hoc sessions at this nursery with Pebble.

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Food at Kids 1st Ferndene

We know just how important it is for little ones to get the vitamins, nutrients, and goodness they need as they grow up. That's why your child will be provided with delicious snacks, drinks, and meals during the time they spend at our Ferndene nursery.

There's nothing extra for you to arrange, and you don't have to pay any extra - it's all-inclusive in the fees you pay. Everything is freshly prepared on-site by our experienced nursery chef from our NHS-accredited menu. We take great pride in introducing the children to new foods, as well as old favourites with a healthy twist.

Our nursery chef can take any dietary requirements or allergies your child might have too - simply let your Centre Director know.

Here's just a sample of what your child might enjoy on a regular day at our nursery.


Fresh fruit with a selection of cereal or porridge.

Morning Snack

Fresh fruit with wholemeal toast or baked goods. Served with a cup of milk or water.


Cheesy garlic bread with pork Bolognese or red lentil and vegetable Bolognese. Served with a cup of water.

Afternoon Snack

Fresh fruit or vegetable sticks. Served with a cup of milk or water.

Early Evening Snack

Salmon crunch wrap and egg crunch wrap with carrot sticks. Caribbean fresh fruit salad with vanilla natural yoghurt. Served with a cup of water.

See food menu
5* Food Hygiene
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Our Fees

We believe in an open and transparent approach to nursery fees. Click the button below for weekly, daily, and session rates for our exceptional childcare.

Did you know Busy Bees also offers government-funded childcare? If eligible, you could be entitled to up to 570 or 1140 hours of funded childcare, depending on your eligibility and your child's age, each year for your child. Find out more on our 'Funding Options' page. Or alternatively, speak to your Centre Director to learn more.

Download fee sheet

Preparing for School

In order to best prepare the children for the next big chapter of their lives, Busy Bees do all that they can to support and celebrate the transition. All of the planned activities and experiences which take place within our Kids 1st Nursery in Darlington are designed to provide a foundation of skills that will help them grow in becoming confident and capable learners.

Learn more about how we support the journey from nursery to school by taking a look at our "My Journey to School Tracker". To read more and learn about the other ways our expert team supports the transition to school level, take a look at our Starting School page.

Kids 1st Nursery Darlington Location

Our nursery, formerly known as Ferndene Nursery, is on Elton Parade, around a five-minute drive or 20-minute walk from Darlington town centre.

If you're planning to visit us by public transport, the nearest bus stops are a five-minute walk away - West End Hartford Road and Hartford Road. Both stops are served by 29, 72, X75 MAX and X76 MAX buses.

We have a buggy store, so you safely leave your pram or pushchair whenever you come to visit us. The building is also protected by CCTV and features secure access points on all the main entrances and exits - for complete peace of mind.

Find the exact location of Kids 1st Ferndene by using our What3Words:


Book a Tour

Our friendly, expert team of staff are always happy to welcome you and your child for a tour of the facilities on offer at our nursery in Darlington. Book a visit today to arrange a personal tour to see Kids 1st Nursery Darlington for yourself.


Claire W.


"Wonderfully positive, caring and attentive staff. Our children are extremely happy and well looked after."

Nicola W.


"Excellent nursery "