You’ll find The Diana Memorial Playground (free) just next to Princess Diana’s former London home, Kensington Palace. Inspired by the stories of Peter Pan, this is a brilliant but busy playground with a range of play areas for children up to the age of 12. Here are six recommended play areas for families visiting the Diana Playground in Kensington Gardens – one of the best free activities for kids in Central London.
The centrepiece of the playground in Kensington Gardens is a massive pirate ship surrounded by a sand and water play area. Inspired by Peter Pan, this is a dream come true for kids getting to climb and explore an abandoned ship. This is also the busiest part of the park where most families end up.
6 brilliant play areas for kids different ages in Diana Memorial Playground
- The pirate ship: Best for school-age children to climb to the top
- The water play and sand area: Perfect for toddlers and pre-schoolers
- Wooden climbing strucures and bridges: Solid and safe for most ages
- A sensory trail: Great for toddlers to jump on musical instruments
- Indian tepees: Perfect for role-playing and hide and seek for all ages
- Swings and slides: Brilliant for the younger members of the family
Snacks and lunch options: There are a few picnic tables inside the playground area to enjoy a packed lunch and a nice cafe and ice-cream shop just outside the playground gates.
The ship and surrounding area is designed cleverly, giving older kids a challenge climbing the ropes and masts, younger kids on the main deck, while toddlers and babies can play in peace on the sandy beach. This works pretty well, but when it gets crowded children must be properly looked after to avoid injuries, especially when older kids, toddlers and babies mix up.
It’s not all about the pirate ship!
The different areas are divided by hedges and bushes, which is one way is good because families with toddlers and babies get shielded without the risk of being run over by older kids. The downside is that you need to be on the alert since it’s very easy to lose track of your child exploring different areas (read: running away).
Some of the vegetation seemed overgrown, so definitely room to make the grounds more open while still keeping the separation.
A few of the areas also seemed to be in a need of an upgrade such as the Indian teepees that we didn’t find engaging, as well as some of the play sculptures that needed maintenance.
3 things to keep in mind
- Kids “running wild” without supervision: The proximity to West London means many of the kids are looked after by nannies (quite a few of them on their phones).
- Secret “hidden” areas in the park to discover: It seems like a great idea until you lose track of your toddler.
- Like always in Central London: To avoid dissapointed children arrive early to beat the crowds.
Is the Diana Memorial Playground worth a visit?
All in all, Diana Memorial Playground is a fabulous playground for kids tired of sightseeing in Central London. Visitor numbers are also more restricted, and you’ll have fewer issues with overcrowding than before. It’s simply a great free offer smack in the centre of London, giving kids a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city. So the playground is definitely worth a visit, but to avoid disappointment, read the visitor management restrictions in advance (see below).
The park is staffed and will restrict access when reaching full capacity. From the Royal Parks Website:
Visitor management at the Diana Memorial Playground
Keep in mind that only adults supervising children up to 12 will be admitted, and children are not allowed to enter or leave the playground without an adult carer. On busy days when the playground reaches full capacity (maximum 150 visitors at a time), queue management will be in place following COVID regulations. On warm, sunny days, the queue can start as early as 10:30 am and last until the last admission time. The busiest times tend to be between 10am – 3pm, particularly at weekends, and waiting times can range between 15 minutes up to one hour.
What is the age recommendation for Diana Memorial Playground?
You’ll find a mix of play equipment for children up to 12 years old.
In which park is princess Diana playground located?
The playground is located in Kensington Gardens in Central London.
Is the playground free of charge?
Yes, the playground is completely free of charge.
Is the Diana playground gated?
Yes, the playground is gated.
When is the playground most crowded?
The playground is located in a very popular area of London, and will become crowded during weekends and school holidays.
Is there a cafe?
Yes, there is a cafe just outside the main gate of the playground.
Is the playground baby friendly?
Yes, there are areas great for babies and toddlers. There are also baby changing facilities.
Is there usually a queue?
During peak hours during weekends and school holidays you can expect to be queueing up for around 15 minutes.
Are dogs allowed?
No, dogs are not allowed in the playground.
What’s the coolest thing about the playground?
Older kids kids usually enjoy climbing the big pirate ship.