After years of crisscrossing London in search of great indoor playgrounds, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite play areas across the city. We bring you the best indoor play areas for babies, toddlers, and older children, from classic soft-play to indoor adventure playgrounds!
Indoor Playgrounds by area (jump to section):
Indoor Playgrounds in Central London
All Aboard, London Transport Museum
London Transport Museum in Covent Garden is an excellent choice for kids fascinated by London’s bus and tube network. In addition to the fantastic collection of different types of vehicles in the museum, you’ll find two highly interactive play areas suitably named “All Aboard”.
There are many opportunities for pretend play activities like driving a tube simulator, sitting in the driver seat of a modern double-decker bus and being a mechanic fixing a tube carriage. There’s a small soft play area for babies, with an interactive wall and building blocks to play with.
Age Guide: 0-7
Indoor Play Areas in East London
Owls Play Centre, Fairlop Waters
Fairlop Waters Country Park is an area in North East London where you’ll find a range of family-friendly activities indoors and outdoors. The Owls Play Centre is located in a beautiful setting surrounded by a lake and a golf course. And it ticks all the boxes you expect from a decent indoor playground with classic soft play features like climbing nets, bridges, tunnels, ball pits and slides on multiple levels. There’s a maximum time limit of 2 hours during busy periods, and you should always try to book sessions in advance.
Age Guide: 0-12s
Mudlarks Gallery, Museum of Docklands
A short hop across the river from us, the Museum of Docklands near Canary Wharf has an excellent play area called Mudlarks Gallery. While kids up to 8 years can enter, the play area is mainly designed for toddlers and young kids. In addition to a lovely soft play area for toddlers, kids can enjoy role-playing as dockworkers loading cargo on board the ships. There’s also a very popular water play area with lots of opportunities for splashing (waterproof aprons provided).
You’ll need to book a free ticket in advance through the museum website, and you’ll get your token at the museum ticket desk located at the entrance when you arrive. There’s a cafe area next to the play centre as well as a buggy park. We also recommend checking out the museum while there. With several hands-on displays and interactive galleries, this is an excellent place for children to explore.
Age Guide: 0-8s
Discover Children’s Story Centre
The Discover Story Centre located in Stratford is a magical place for children. In the intimate storytelling sessions, kids can step into the story and become real characters as they discover things from the books. Full of oddly shaped objects and fairytale play areas, this is no ordinary soft-play area but rather a journey into the unknown sparking the kids’ imagination.
Covering two floors, plan for plenty of time for the kids to run around and explore the “Story Worlds”. There’s also a decent outdoor playground with plenty of climbing equipment called the “Story Garden” for nice weather.
Age Guide: 0-11s
Soft Play Centres and Play Areas in South London
Under 1 Roof: A Kid’s Urban Oasis
Based in Woolwich, Under 1 Roof offers a cute little soft play area for children aged 5 and below. There’s a cafe and a children’s hair salon with little cars for the children to sit in while they get their hair cut. It’s a popular place to organise kids parties; it’s an excellent place for imaginary play and lots of fun.
Age Guide: 0-5s
Soft Play, Wavelengths Leisure Centre
Just off Deptford High street, Wavelengths is a modern leisure centre with several facilities, most notably a big swimming pool great for the whole family. The soft play area is located just above the swimming pool and features a two-level climbing frame, a ball pit and a giant slide with several lanes. There are also special areas for babies and young toddlers.
Age Guide: 0-10
Big Little Fun Soft Play
Big Little Fun is a classic indoor soft play area in Greenwich, South East London. This is a compact soft play space for younger children five and under, and you’ll find all the typical features you’d expect like a slide, climbing wall, ball pit, air juggler and an arts and crafts area. There’s also a separate area for under 2s to stay out of harm’s way.
Age Guide: 1-5s
Soft Play and Climbing Wall, Sutcliffe Sports Centre
Sutcliffe Sports Centre in Eltham offers a range of modern indoor sports areas for kids to stay active, including soft play, climbing walls, skatepark and indoor athletics tracks. We’ve tested the assisted climbing sessions, and the kids had a perfect time learning how to get high up on the climbing wall.
The “Clip ‘n climb” sessions are offered from age 4 and upwards, and no climbing experience is required. Full training is given, including a thorough safety briefing, and they provide all the equipment necessary. Make sure to come at least 30 minutes before your session starts to have time for the introduction before your session begins.
The indoor playground is a classic soft-play area located right next to the climbing wall, perfect for young siblings to have fun while their older brother or sister take part in the climbing class.
Age Guide: 4+
The Oxygen Trampoline Parks
You’ll find three Oxygen Trampoline parks across London; North Greenwich, Croydon and Acton. We’ve visited the North Greenwich Park located within the O2 Arena and always had a good time. After all, most kids love jumping, and for adults, it’s an excellent chance to bring out the inner child again :-)
If you have a toddler under 5, try to take advantage of the Little O toddler trampolining sessions, which take place in the morning at discounted prices. You will need a ticket for a supervising adult per 2 toddlers, and the sessions include connected trampolines, airbags, games and much more! It’s a true toddlers paradise.
Age Guide: 1+
Discovery Planet Soft Play Fun
Located on the first floor within the Surrey Quays shopping centre, Discovery Planet is a local long-standing local soft play favourite. There’s a separate section for toddlers and multiple climbing framed divided into sections, making it possible for children to make a circular journey through the indoor play area. You’ll find all the classic soft play features like soft blocks, swing balls and soft mats. If you would like more ideas about what to do in the area, we recommend a trip to visit Surrey Docks Farm nearby.
Age Guide: 0-11s (height restriction of 53 inches (134 cm))
Ahoy! Children’s Gallery, National Maritime Museum
You’ll find the Children’s Gallery on the ground floor of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. A popular spot for families with young children, Greenwich has a lot to offer when planning a day out. The Ahoy! Gallery is free for children under 6 months and costs £3 for 6+. Make sure to check out the other interactive areas for kids at the museum, such as the Great Map and Sea Things Gallery.
Age Guide: 0-7s
Best Indoor Playgrounds in West London
Gambado Indoor Playground and Soft Play
Gambado in Chelsea offers children the chance to play, learn and explore in an exciting indoor play area. With good reviews on both Google and Tripadvisor, this is a soft play facility that does not disappoint. There’s a large soft play climbing area with several slides great for children around three and above. Children under three can enjoy a separate play area, with no risk of clashing with older kids.
You can also try the bumper cars (included in the entry price), which comes in two sizes; a large version that allows you to sit with your child and a smaller car that children can drive on their own.
Socks are sold at the front tills if you need them; they have rubber grips, so you will need to bring them with you if you need anti-slip. Parking on the street is limited, but the car park down the side of Tesco express is accessible at weekends if you get Gambado to validate it.
Age Guide: 1-11s
Play Base, National Army Museum
The National Army Museum is a popular spot for local families in Chelsea, with several interactive galleries and activities for children of all ages. Children under 9 can look forward to a military-style soft play course, taking the kids on a journey through different obstacles. There are various military themes and functions like communication, mobility, driving, and mechanical repair. One of the most popular activities is to climb aboard an army command liaison vehicle, and the Camp Kitchen and Mess Hall will ensure that the troops are nourished. How do soldiers get their uniforms? What are the best ways to send messages and get supplies from home? All these questions can be answered in the army storeroom.
Age Guide: 0-8s
The Garden, Science Museum
The Science Museum is a classic family favourite in London. While areas like Wonderlab and Space are popular with school-age children, younger children have a designated play area in the basement called “The Garden” (not sure if ironic). This indoor playground is a celebration for the senses, with different spaces playing with water, light, and sound concepts.
The play area is free of charge, but you need to remember to book in advance together with a general admission ticket to the museum. Note that it takes at least 10 minutes to walk from the museum’s main entrance until you reach this area. If you’re planning to go during the weekend, make sure to book far ahead (i.e. weeks) to secure tickets since the gallery is so popular.
Age Guide: 3-6s
Clip n Climb Chelsea
Clip n Climb Chelsea offers climbing sessions perfect for a fun-filled day out for daredevil kids aged four and upwards. No climbing experience is necessary, full training is given, and all the equipment is provided.
Members of staff clip climbers onto walls with carabiners, and automatic belay devices take in the slack as you climb before lowering you gently to the ground. Supervisors are close at hand at all times. Special weekday morning sessions are also offered for toddlers aged 2-4, giving young ones time and space to get confident without being intimidated by older kids.
Age Guide: 2+
KidZania is an international chain of family entertainment centres. Started in Mexico in 1999 as an indoor mini-city allowing children to role-play adult jobs, the concept quickly gained popularity and has since then expanded to more than 30 countries worldwide. The London version of KidZania is located in Westfield shopping centre, Shepards Bush.
Types of jobs and activities kids can enjoy include:
- Aviation Academy
- Banking Services
- Children’s Intelligence Agency
- Cleaning Company
- Courier Service
- Dance Club
- Fashion Studio
- Fire & Rescue Unit
- Hospital and A&E
- Police Department
- Pet Wellbeing Centre
- Science Lab
- TV Studio
Many of the activities are offered in partnership with real-life businesses such as British Airways for the Aviation Academy and H&M for the Fashion Studio. You’ll be allocated an overall 4-hour limited timeslot for your visit, so it might make sense to make a little plan for which activities and areas you want to prioritise as you won’t have time for all of them.
Children aged 7 and under must attend with an adult, while kids 8 and older can be left to explore the activities independently. At the same time, the parents do something else (like going shopping in Westfield London). All the kids will have special electronic wristbands as an extra safety measure and can only be removed by an employee with the parents’ consent.
Kids get 50 kidZos (Kidzanian money at the start of their session and will learn how to earn and spend their play money on their journey, taking them through all the different city activities. Role-playing is a fantastic way for kids to use their creativity, and it’s incredible to see how quickly they adapt to each type of job.
Age Guide: 4-14 (age 1-3 very limited activities)
Children’s Indoor Playgrounds in North London
Snakes & Ladders
With a gigantic three-level playframe, Snakes & Ladders is a hugely popular indoor playground in Brentford, West London. With solid reviews across Google and Tripadvisor, this is an excellent place for pretend play with a hospital, post office, shop, home corner, construction zone and even a London bus! Children under 3s have their own special area packed with soft play, swings and bouncy castles.
Age Guide: 0-11s
Soft Play, Sobell Leisure Centre
Sobell Leisure Centre in Islington is a leisure centre with lots of family-friendly activities like a trampoline park, ice rink and a big soft play area. The indoor playground consists of 3 floors bursting with fun activities like slides, tunnels, rope bridges, vertical and horizontal rollers, hanging snakes and a sky glide. There’s also a particular area for under 2s, with lots of interactive and soft elements to play with.
Age Guide: 0-11
Treetops, Talacre Community Sports Centre
Talacre is a council-run leisure centre in Kentish Town, North London. Located next to Talacre Park, this is a multi-purpose indoor facility with opportunities for lots of different activities for all ages and abilities like football, basketball, badminton and gymnastics. The “Treetops” area houses a gigantic indoor adventure soft play structure where kids can have a lot of fun. Older children can enjoy climbing to the top of the structure, while younger kids can play safely in their dedicated areas with soft cubes and ball pits.
Age Guide: 0-11
Sorted! The Postal Play Space
The Postal Museum‘s fittingly named indoor play space is called Sorted!, which is just perfect for young kids with a Postman Pat obsession. The play area is created like a mini town full of streets and buildings, and it’s up to the children to sort out the mail by moving packages and postal bags across different stations. It usually ends in complete chaos with loads of fun for the kids.
The Postal Museum is a brilliant place to take the kids, but make sure to book tickets to Sorted at the same time as you book the general admission to the museum. In this way, you avoid disappointment in case Sorted! is fully booked. You can also book separate tickets to visit Sorted! at a lower price if you want to see the main museum.
Age Guide: 0-8s
Little Dinosaurs Soft Play, Alexandra Palace
Hidden away on the western side of Alexandra Park, you’ll find Little Dinosaurs Soft Play located in its own little house. Here the kids can enjoy multiple levels of play and classic soft play equipment like cubicles, climbing frames, bridges, slides and a ball pool. There’s also an outdoor play area and a cafe on site. The outdoor playground in Alexandra Park is located on the opposite side of Ally Pally, where you’ll also find the GoApe treetop challenge. And inside Ally Pally, you have them all year ice-rink at your disposal. There are lots of things to do for families around Ally Pally, in other words.
Age Guide: 6 months – 11s
N20 KidsClub Indoor Playground
N20 KidsClub is another classic soft play venue with all the soft play features you’d expect like slides, tunnels, climbing ropes and ball pits. Children up to 11 years old are allowed in, but it’s best suited for your younger children up to around 6 years old. The indoor playground is also a popular birthday venue.
Age Guide: 0-6s
Are soft play centres clean?
Cleanliness varies a lot when it comes to soft play areas. While many play centres have a rigorous cleaning regime in place, other locations are reported to have sticky surfaces in need of a deep clean. Checking reviews on sites like Google and Tripadvisor usually give you a good indication of the level of cleanliness.
Are indoor playgrounds in London expensive?
You’ll find play areas that are completely free (like The Garden in Science Museum) as well as more extensive entertainment centres like KidZania in West London costing more than £30 per child. For an average-sized soft-play centre in London, expect to pay around £5 per child.
What age is soft play best for?
The age guide for soft play centres is usually somewhere between 0 and 11 years old, with most equipment targeted towards 3 to 6 years olds. Many soft plays have a special area for 0-3 years olds, and a few have more challenging climbing equipment suitable for children older than 6.
Do you need to book soft plays in advance?
Not always, but it’s usually recommended in case they get sold out. You’ll often get cheaper tickets if booking online in advance.
Can children be left on their own in soft plays?
Usually, no. But there are some exceptions like KidZania in Westfield Shopping Centre where children 8 years and older can be checked in by their parents.