Battersea Park is a wonderful family-oriented public park located just by the Thames in South West London. The park can show for several great activities for kids ranging from friendly small animals in the Children’s Zoo to challenging treetop adventures for older kids.
We also like the fact that the park is so close to the Thames. During summer on hot days, there is a fresh breeze of air from the river that you don’t get in Central London parks like Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens which tend to become dry and dusty during summer.
Battersea Children’s Zoo
The highlight for us has always been the Children’s Zoo. Even if it lacks the big impressive animals of London Zoo like lions, tigers and giraffes, it has so many adorable cheeky like animals to admire like the Meerkats, Otters and Lemurs. It’s small enough for toddlers to roam around freely without losing track of them, and there is even a decent playground for when they get fed up with the animals. The entrance fee is also a lot less than London Zoo, so if the kids just want to leave early you don’t need to feel guilty of having wasted a small fortune.
To get the best value from your ticket, make sure to take advantage of the feeding sessions, which is also when the zookeepers will explain and answer questions from visitors. There is also a cafe on-site that serves hot and cold snacks, but we usually bring our own lunch and find a nice spot to have a picnic in the main park.
Battersea Park Highlights
- The Children’s Zoo (and playground)
- Go Ape Treetop Challenge
- Children’s Playground
- Family cycle route
- A boating lake
- The London Peace Pagoda
You’ll also find a variety of sporting facilities, including tennis courts, running track and all-weather pitches. Battersea Park is just a really well run park, packed full of activities that are great for families.
Battersea in football history
Battersea Park played a significant role in London’s football history, with The Wanderers (who won the inaugural FA Cup in 1872 at the Kennington Oval) playing their home fixtures in the park. This connection with the FA Cup’s early days makes this a point of interest with football aficionados.
Great for cycling and scooting
The terrain in the park is mostly flat, and the paths are broad so if you have kids learning how to skate or scoot this is a great spot to start out in a safe environment. As part of mapping out the best cycle routes for families in London, we have also written about the 2 km circular route through Battersea Park which is a great bike ride for kids.
Battersea Dogs Home
Just next door to Battersea Park you’ll find Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the famous animal shelter. You can go for a visit even if you’re not planning to adopt, which is a different animal experience in London. Be warned though, it can be quite upsetting for children to see all the cute dogs and cats trying to get your attention, desperately wanting a new home! If you sense that it’s going to be emotional for your kids to visit the animal shelter, it might be better to go for the Children’s Zoo in the park or check out one of the amazing City Farms in London.