There are so many London Parks that you will be spoilt for choice. This is surprising for such a bustling, capital city but these green spaces are perfect for families and children.
Most of the parks have a variety of facilities on offer and many have playgrounds with slides, swings, climbing frames and sandpits. In the summer, the parks and commons can be the perfect refuge from the frantic city pace and you will find many other families spending whole days just hanging out and enjoying a picnic and a few ball games.
1. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of the largest green spaces in Central London and covers an enormous 350 acres of central London and has its own lake. There is plenty to do for kids from with activities such as boating, tennis, cycling, skating and even horse riding available. For great photo opportunities, go to the Diana memorial fountain and the Serpentine Bridge.
2. Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens is a beautiful park with a large pond and the Pirate themed Princess of Wales Playground and has a very large duck pond. There is plenty of space to play games and have a picnic. If you feel like a bit of culture, you can always pop along to the Serpentine Gallery situated within the park which always has free contemporary art exhibitions on which will definitely stretch your imagination! Also worth a visit, are the Albert Memorial and the statue of Peter Pan and if you have been taking your teenagers shopping along High St Kensington this is a lovely place to unwind.
3. Coram’s Field
Coram’s Field is a unique park just for kids situated in Central London. Not many people know that there is a magical children’s park very close to the city centre. It covers seven acres of land and the facilities include a playground, duck pond, cafe, sandpit, paddling pool and even a pet’s corner! It is all enclosed and parents can relax because only adults accompanied by children are allowed in. The park is good for all ages and you can just sit back on the grass and let the kids burn off some of their energy.
4. Regents Park
Regents Park is a large park to the North of London which also houses London Zoo. Regents Park offers all sorts of sporting facilities and has an Open Air Theatre, bandstands and puppet shows. There are four children’s playgrounds each with an attendant, and boating on the main lake. So, this means the park is the perfect place to have a picnic. There are also regular events in the Park so watch out for these.
5. Battersea Park
Battersea Park is a wonderful family park located just by the River Thames. There is something for all the family at this park. Younger children will enjoy the Zoo and for the older ones, there is a boating lake and a fantastic adventure playground. You can easily spend the day here. Walk along the riverfront, see the fountains, stop off at a cafe and just hang out and have fun.
6. Richmond Park
Richmond Park is the biggest park in London with deer that roam free. The park covers 2500 acres and there are around 650 deer that roam free around it. The landscape has changed little over the centuries and is made up of hills, woodlands, ponds, gardens and grasslands set amongst ancient trees.
There is plenty to do at Richmond. Cycling, fishing, wildlife watching and horse riding are all possible. You can also fly kites on windy days and set up your own outdoor games. If you want to go to the children’s playground you will find this situated next to the Petersham Gate. The magical thing about Richmond Park is that you will feel as if you are in the countryside, so if you are feeling cooped up in the city it is the perfect place to go.
7. Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath is the highest natural place in London with great views. The park is only 4 miles from Central London but it feels much further! It is a great place for children to enjoy the outdoors with great play facilities. For children under 12 the best playground is the one at Parliament Hill. It has loads of play equipment including slides, a sandpit and even a paddling pool. There is also an adventure playground with rope swings and more challenging climbing frames.
8. Holland Park
Holland Park is a lovely local park just off the busy shopping area of High Street Kensington. This is a charming local park with everything you might need for kids. You can take a lovely stroll through the wooded paths and spot the peacocks and rabbits running around, walk through the Japanese garden and picnic on the lawn in front of Holland Park House.
There is a One O’Clock club (a drop in area for Under 5s) which is open from 1pm to 3pm on weekdays, an adventure playground for older kids and a large sandpit and play area for younger kids. You can find out more about wildlife in the park at the Ecology Centre or you can just relax and have a piece of cake at the cafe.
9. Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is a world-famous botanical garden with lots for the kids to see and do. No matter what time of year you will enjoy the beautiful trees and plants and there is always something happening.
Although you are not allowed to cycle here or play ball games, there is still plenty for children. The Tree Walk and the Badger’s Sett are particularly popular and there are various glasshouses offering all sorts of things to look at from fish to tropical plants.
The Children’s Garden is an amazing playground, combining nature and play areas in a very elegant way. The two-hour time-slot runs very quickly, so make sure to make the most out of your time! No matter what the weather children flock to Climbers & Creepers in Kew Gardens. It is aimed at children from 3 to 9 and the idea is to teach them the importance of plant and animal relationships.
To be honest they probably won’t notice much but they will love the slide, pod, beehive set behind glass and the rubber play pit. Outside there are leaves that rock and other types of climbing frames. Also, if you book in advance you can take advantage of the special family activities that are laid on.
10. Greenwich Park
Greenwich one of the areas in London with most child-friendly activities, ranging from the interactive galleries in the National Maritime Museum to the modern and accessible Greenwich Park Playground. Within the park itself, you can go and see Queen Elizabeth’s Oak that has been around since Tudor times or check out the even older Roman fountain. But first and foremost, Greenwich Park is a fantastic place to for a picnic wehter it’s on top of the hill to enjoy a great view across to Canary Wharf or to find a green patch in the beautiful tranquil Rose Garden.