burgess park outdoor playground

The Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Playgrounds in London

by LondonDucklings
Published: Last Updated on

Here’s a round-up of the best playgrounds in London by area. Not just the celebrated well-known play areas but several local gems as well. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, take advantage of London’s many excellent adventure playgrounds!

What we’re looking for in a good playground:

  • Play Elements: Are the play areas safe and secure? Our favourite play areas have customized play areas for different age groups.
  • Fun factor: No fun with fancy-looking play parks if the kids get confused and it’s just chaos everywhere you look. For us, it’s function over form when it comes to playtime.
  • Facilities: How are the nappy-change facilities? Playground toilets are not always the best.
  • Good for parents? A cafe with good coffee is always a big plus!

Also, don’t forget to check our list of the most loved indoor playgrounds in London!

☛ Playgrounds by Area

  • Central London: With all the playgrounds in the Royal Parks, you’ll find plenty of well-maintained play areas. Great for the kids taking a break from the busy streets in the city centre.
  • South West London: If you’re looking for the creme de la creme of playgrounds, head to Hampton Court and Kew Gardens for two awesome playgrounds (paid entry).
  • West London: Holland Park stands out with its celebrated new playground in West London.
  • North London: If you’re out walking on Hampstead Heath, don’t forget to check the great playground right below Parliament Hill.
  • East London: There’s a good mix of old and new play areas in East London. For London’s longest slides, head to Vicky Park’s play area.
  • South East London: You’ll find several big and well-maintained play areas located in areas like Greenwich, Peckham-Rye and Crystal Palace.

Check our extensive Playgrounds Map for an even larger selection of play areas in London.

London Playgrounds
Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens.

☛ Central London Playgrounds

Sightseeing can be a tiring business for kids, but luckily there are some great play parks in central London when in need of a break. Be warned though, they quickly get crowded during weekends and school holidays!

Diana Memorial Playground

👧 1-12-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤🐤 (4/5)

🆓🚾🚼 🍴☕

📍Kensington Gardens, Queensway


– A classy London playground

  • Climb to the top of the Peter Pan-inspired pirate ship (for older children)
  • Enjoy a large water and sand play area great for toddlers and preschoolers
  • Several wooden climbing frames, safe for the youngest members of the family
  • Site on staff managing queues
  • Great location with all of Central London’s attractions close by.
boy playing in london playground
The Diana playground in Kensington Gardens is one of our shortlisted 10 best playgrounds in London

Diana Memorial Playground is an admission-free play area beautifully located in Kensington Gardens right next to the Royal Kensington Palace, home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The theme of the playground originates from the late Princess Diana and is inspired by the stories of Peter Pan. Considering this is a public playground, it’s really well maintained and a wonderful way for kids to relax while sightseeing in Central London. Given the location, it gets really busy during school holidays which can result in queues. Get there early if you want to beat the crowds (like everywhere else in London).

Horseferry Playground

👧 2-10-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤 (3/5)


📍Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster


– A fun corner of Westminster

  • Well-maintained play area perfect for toddlers and younger kids
  • Proximity to some of London’s prime attractions
  • Combine a visit with a picnic in Victoria Garden right next to the play park
  • Large sandpit, just remember to bring some toys!
  • The playground is missing a more challenging play area for older kids
Horseferry Play Area with the Palace of Westminster in the background

Horseferry Playground is a great place to stop if you’re visiting the area around Westminster and want to reward the kids with some playtime. It’s not a large play area, but there’s enough for toddlers to have fun for a while. We also like its open plan with lots of rubber surfaces and conveniently located right next to a park where you can watch the boats on the Thames pass by.

St James Park Playground

👧 2-10-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤 (3/5)


📍St James Park, Westminster


– Play next door to Buckingham Palace

  • Small, but well-planned play space Natural elements like wood, sand and rocks
  • Easy for parents to relax and watch (when free boulders are available)
  • On the tourist trail, means big crowds during weekends and holidays
  • Kids will get fed up quite quickly (it’s really small)
St James Park Playground
There are lots of big boulders to enjoy in St James Play Park

St James Play Park comes in really handy when the kids get tired of sightseeing. Despite the small play space, we always enjoy this play park because of the climbing boulders and sand area. This is a key adventure playground in Central London to keep on your radar if you’re visiting with young children!

☛ South West London Playgrounds

There’s no lack of big and adventurous playgrounds in South West London. Great for little climbers in need of a nature fix, both Battersea Park and Kew Gardens offer treetop experiences.

Battersea Park Playground

👧 2-14-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤🐤 (4/5)

🆓🚾🚼 🍴☕

📍Battersea Park, Battersea

Free (except for Go Ape)

– Little monkeys climbing high and low

  • Gated area for the little ones, shielding toddlers from older kids
  • 4 different play areas for different age-groups
  • Easy to keep an overview since the area is really compact
  • Challenging climbing frames for older children
  • The area is extremely popular during weekends and feels crowded
Battersea Park Playground
Battersea Play Park on a typical busy day during weekends

Battersea Park is a family-friendly park. The adventure playground area has been cleverly designed to facilitate many different play areas within a limited area in the park’s southwest corner. For families with children in different age groups, it’s relatively easy to keep an overview even when playing in separate sections. Clustering the play areas so close together is a double-edged sword; when the park becomes crowded during weekends, the place feels chaotic, with kids and parents high and low.

Children’s Garden at Kew

👧 2-12-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤🐤 (4/5)

💷🚾🚼 🍴☕

📍Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew


– It’s all about nature

  • State-of-the-art playground, safe and well maintained
  • Educational with focus on nature’s elements
  • Wide range of play areas for all abilities, great for toddler-aged children
  • The different areas are divided up, making it hard for parents to maintain oversight
  • Hard to predict and plan for the time slot you will be assigned
Kew Gardens Playground
Having fun running around the treetops in Kew Garden

Children’s Garden at Kew feels 100% organic. We love how they have focused on natural elements when designing the playground around the key elements of earth, air, sun and water. On the other side, we also found it hard to watch our kids with different park sections divided by bushes and hedges.

Magic Garden at Hampton Court

👧 0-10-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤🐤 (4/5)

💷🚾🚼 🍴☕

📍Hampton Court Palace, Molesey


– Play in Tudor style

  • Excellent sand and water play area
  • Very popular mound with a built-in tunnel slide
  • Inspirational for kids interested in history
  • Very crowded, despite the limitation on visiting time
  • Some of the elements like the royal towers seem mostly for display purposes
Girl playing with water in The Magic Garden
Enjoying the Magic Garden at Hampton Court on a sunny summer day

Magic Garden has been designed to be an inspirational play garden for children visiting Hampton Court just starting to learn about Tudor history. It’s a truly unique play space, combining modern design with historical elements, making it one of the best playground parks in London in our book. It also gets crowded during school holidays and weekends, which surprised us since entry is ticketed with dedicated time slots. We also felt the layout was slightly confusing, with sections of the park divided up, making it hard for parents to keep an overview of multiple children simultaneously.

☛ West London Playgrounds

Home to one of the most stunning play areas in London built in recent years, West Londoners can be proud of their beautiful Holland Park.

Holland Park Playground

👧 2-14-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤🐤 (4/5)


📍Holland Park, Kensington


– Beautiful AND functional

  • Inspiring with play elements well integrated with the park landscape
  • A challenging climbing structure called the “Fishing Tower” keeps older kids occupied
  • Very little use of plastic and rubber, play frames are mostly made of wood, metal and ropes.
  • Safe and accessible for toddlers around the sandpit.
  • As always in London, great public play parks like this one gets really crowded during weekends.
Enjoy climbing frames made of natural wood in Holland Park Playground

Holland Park Playground has everything you’d expect from a newly designed play area. Challenging and accessible simultaneously, it’s made of natural materials and feels both functional and safe. Note that there’s a traditional play area for toddlers not far away from the main adventure playground, which is gated and a lot less busy.

Hobbledown Heath – Adventure Playground

👧 2-14-year-olds (outside play structures 5+)

🐤🐤🐤🐤 (4/5)

🆓🚾🚼 🍴☕

📍Hounslow, West London


– Blend of play and animals

  • Brilliantly crafted outdoor adventure playground, providing endless entertainment.
  • The vast soft play barn is an absolute joy with a thrilling mix of equipment.
  • The meerkats, with their intricate walkways, offer an incredible opportunity for children to observe.
  • The “Feed the Capybaras” activity includes an up-close encounter with these fascinating animals.
hobbledown playground

Hobbledown Heath promises an unforgettable experience for children and families alike. Challenging outdoor play equipment for school-age kids and safe indoor soft play for the little ones sets the scene for an amazing day out for the whole family. It gets busy during the school holidays, but that’s just London for you.

The cleverly designed bridges that cross over the site create an illusion of goats practically being part of the playground—truly charming! It’s not a cheap day out for a family, priced at almost £20 per person, but you’ll look hard for a more fun place so close to central London.

☛ North London Playgrounds

North London has access to so many green spaces like Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest. Parliament Hill Playground is a local favourite where you’ll find all the essential play features.

Parliament Hill Playground

👧 2-10-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤🐤 (4/5)

🆓🚾🚼 🍴☕

📍Hampstead Heath, Hampstead


– Fun playing on the Heath

  •  Good selection of solid and well-maintained play frames and a large sandpit
  • Sections divided for children of different ages
  • A great play area for local people, one of the best play parks in London
  • No wow factor inspiring imaginary play
Parliament Hill Playground
Parliament Hill Playground is located right next to Hampstead Heath

Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath is what we would call a no-frills play area, with a range of excellent and well-maintained run-of-the-mill play elements like swings, slides and climbing frames. 

You get what it says on the tin, which means it’s not necessarily the most inspiring park sparking children’s imagination. On the other side, being close to Hamstead Heath is a big plus as you can combine a visit to the play space and exploring the beautiful woodlands.

☛ East London Playgrounds

If your kids like long slides, you should definitely consider a visit to Victoria Park Playground in East London where you’ll find three impressive slides right next to each other.

Alexandra Park Playground

👧 0-12-year-olds

🐤🐤 (2/5)


📍Alexandra Park, Haringey


– A big slide saves the day

  • Our kids loved the long slide, which is also the centrepiece of the play area attracting lots of kids queuing up for the big ride
  • Lots of basic types of play elements like swings and climbing frames for the little ones
  • Gated play area for toddlers away from the main playground with older kids
  • Mostly constructed in brutalist concrete (in the 70s?), it feels scruffy and in need of an upgrade
Alexandra palace play area
On top of the mound in Ally Pally Playground

Ally Pally is a super popular spot for North London families during weekends, and we were surprised about the play area not being better maintained. Kids are not as fussy about playground design as parents, so they’ll most likely have a great time. Our kids enjoyed the long slide, and the toddler’s gated play area was safe and functional.

Olympic Park Play Area

👧 0-14-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤🐤 (4/5)

🆓🚾🚼 ☕

📍Queen Elisabeth II Olympic Park, Stratford


– Active in Olympic surroundings

  • We like the huge rubber-surfaced mounds safe for kids of all ages to climb
  • Innovative climbing elements challenging school-age children
  • Lots of space to run around without kids bumping into each other
  • Except for physical activity, more functional than an inspiring play area
  • Quite hard to get to from public transportation/parking
Playground in Stratford
Enjoying a swing (and a swim?) in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford

Olympic Park is a vital part of the regeneration project around Stratford. The modern-looking playground works well from the parents’ perspective; it’s easy to keep an eye on the children, and the grounds are covered with safe rubber surfaces. This means kids can explore and play more freely with less worried parents 🙂

Victoria Park Playground

👧 0-12-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤🐤 (4/5)

🆓🚾🚼 ☕

📍Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets


– London’s longest slides?

  • Three long slides side by side on top of a mound – what more could kids ask for in a playground 🙂
  • Great for school-age children in need of a challenge
  • The gated V&A play area (separate from the main play area) is perfect for toddlers and kids up to around 8 years.
  • Small skatepark that becomes very full during weekends

You’ll be able to choose from several different slides in East London’s Vicky Park

Victoria Park, or “Vicky Park” as it’s known among Londoners, continues to fulfil its original purpose set out by the Victorians, providing a place for play and relaxation in East London. The main play area can be intimidating at first sight with its massive slides and climbing frames teeming with active kids of all ages, but it’s generally safe and has a friendly atmosphere. Bringing toddlers and young kids, the V&A play area is much less frantic with more accessible play parks.

☛ South East London Playgrounds

South East London is spoilt for choice when it comes to large play parks like Burgess Park and Crystal Palace. Many of them have been refurbished in recent years as well, like Peckham Rye Play Park featuring challenging climbing elements and treehouses.

Burgess Park Playgrounds

👧 2-12-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤🐤 (4/5)

🆓🚾🚼 🍴☕

📍Burgess Park, Camberwell


– 3 playgrounds in one park

  • 3 distinct play areas for different age-groups
  • Beautifully designed wooden climbing frames in the Woodland play area
  • A huge spider web challenging even the bravest of climbers
  • A long slide and zip-line (always a plus)
  • The gated toddler area is really small and easy to miss
Ready for the big slide in Burgess Park Playground

Burgess Park is a family-friendly green area of South East London with impressive play areas for children. We don’t have any big negatives, besides that the two main play areas have been constructed in different parts of the park. So if you’re a family with children of different age groups, you need to split up or tackle one play area at a time.

Brockwell Park Playground

👧0 to 5, 6 – 9, and older children

🐤🐤🐤🐤 (4/5)

🆓🚾🚼 ☕

📍Brockwell Park, Herne Hill


– Wood, Sand and Water

  • Natural feel with clean sand and water
  • Wooden play frames
  • Five slides, tunnels, and several sandpits
  • Lack of shade and seating
  • No path between the two play areas.
brockwell park playground
The climbing frames in Brockwell Park playground are great for toddlers

Brockwell Park Playground got water play, wooden frames, and ice cream that’ll make you say “Blimey! This is a popular spot for families with young children in South London, boasting a fantastic water play area with a large sand pit, paddling pool, fountains, and sprays. Beyond the playground, Brockwell Park offers several cafes, a duck pond, a walled garden, a BMX track, and tennis courts.

Crystal Palace Playground

👧 0-8-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤 (3/5)

🆓🚾🚼 ☕

📍Crystal Palace Park, Bromley


– Perfect for little dinosaur fans

  • We love the dinosaur skeletons and bones sticking up from the sand
  • Lots of other things to do in the area make for a full day out
  • A nice cafe for parents to pick up their boost of caffeine
  • Basic play elements like seesaws, swings and slides.
  • A bit too basic for school-age children
Boy playing in a sandbox in Crystal Palace Playground
Dinosaur bones sticking up from the sand area in Crystal Palace Playground

Crystal Palace Park is usually a winner, even if the play elements are limited to a few basic swings and slides. We like this spacious, open playground, allowing kids to run around while parents relax and enjoy their coffee. The Jurassic-themed sand play area, in combination with a visit to the 1850s dinosaur statues, will make most dinosaur-obsessed children happy!

Greenwich Park Playground

👧 0-8-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤🐤 (4/5)

🆓🚾🚼 ☕

📍Greenwich Park, Greenwich


– Happy toddlers with water and sand

  • An inclusive play space that feels safe for toddlers as well as school-age children
  • Open landscape, easy for parents to supervise
  • Lots of engaging play areas for the youngest age group
  • Very crowded during summer without on-site staff
  • Limited play options for school-age children
Enjoying Greenwich Park Playground
The water area in Greenwich Park playground is a lot of fun for toddlers

Greenwich Park play area, managed by the Royal Parks, is a safe choice for toddlers. We love the water and sand area where children can play together and find new friends. Plenty of old-school play elements are available, like slides, swings and climbing frames. Greenwich Park is next door with its impressive views across London, making it perfect for picnics in the summer. Our biggest negative is that it gets crowded during weekends and school holidays, but that’s London for you! 

Peckham Rye Park Playground

👧 0-14-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤🐤 (4/5)

🆓🚾🚼 🍴☕

📍Peckham Rye Park, Peckham


– Parents-friendly play area

  • A clear divide between areas for toddlers and older children
  • Open landscape, easy to keep an eye on the children
  • Nice cafe and parent-friendly
  • The treehouse can be risky for inexperienced climbers
Peckham Rye Adventure Playground
The sand and water area in Peckham Rye Playground is great for toddlers

Peckham Rye play park ticks many boxes in our book, and it’s one of the best local playgrounds in London. It’s safe and challenging for toddlers, and we like the sand and water area. The play area is well planned out, making it easy for parents to keep an overview while relaxing on the many boulders.

The climbing forest for school-age children is at a reasonable distance, but it’s still possible for parents to keep an eye on the toddler area. One word of caution; the treehouse is high up, so children should be constantly supervised when climbing.

Southwark Park Play Area

👧 2-12-year-olds

🐤🐤🐤 (3/5)


📍Southwark Park, Rotherhithe


– Challenging spiderweb

  • We really like the challenging spiderweb climbing frame and the long steep slide
  • Safe and solid toddler section fenced off separate from the main play area
  • Easy for parents to keep an overview
  • Our biggest negative is that you need to cross several heavily congested roads to access the park (from the Surrey Quays side)
Sliding in Southwark Park
This slide in Southwark Park is always popular!

Southwark Park play area received a makeover not long ago and features two separate play areas; a gated toddler space and a more challenging area for older kids. It’s easy for parents to keep an eye on both areas, which is why we like this park so much; definitely among our favourite local play areas in South East London.

London Playground Map

Want to explore even more playgrounds in London? We have meticulously created a London playground map listing 75 of the best playgrounds in town.

london playground map
Map of London’s play areas spread out across the city

FAQ play areas in London

What are the best playgrounds in London?

Three of the best play parks:
Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens
Children’s Garden in Kew Gardens
Magic Garden at Hampton Court

Also, don’t forget about local community play areas where you’ll often find the friendliest faces and best vibes. Examples of good local play parks:
Peckham Rye
Holland Park
Parliament Hill

Are playgrounds in London free?

Yes, the play parks are usually public and free of charge. The exceptions are play areas part of attractions with paid entrance, like in Kew Gardens and Hampton Court.

Are London’s playgrounds safe?

The big public playgrounds are not considered dodgy in any way; these are places where most people are comfortable going during the daytime. Having said that, you run the same risk as everywhere else in London when it comes to robberies and getting your mobile nicked.

What types of play areas are there in London?

A) Free public playgrounds with swings, slides etc. B) Free adventure playgrounds with more challenging areas for older kids C) Indoors/outdoors paid-for play areas

What is the most popular play elements?

Climbing frames, slides, swings and sandpits are usually among the most popular play areas.

Why are play parks so important for kids?

With kids spending more and more time in front of screens, publicly available play areas are more important than ever. Not only do playgrounds provide opportunities to stimulate fine motor skills developing balance and coordination. They also help children develop social skills through collaboration and increase their self-esteem by challenging and mastering physical skills.

What are adventure playgrounds?

These are play spaces with less static elements like swings and slides and more focus on letting children explore on their own. With natural materials available, children can use their imagination to create and build structures for their adventures. In London, many adventure playgrounds started as play spaces in second world war bomb sites that developed into more organised activities over time.

What is a soft play area?

You can find big and small soft play areas pretty much everywhere. Either as stand-alone facilities or part of shopping centres, museums or leisure centres managed by local councils.

Are London’s playgrounds supervised?

Play parks in London are usually not supervised, except for some of the big ones like Diana Memorial Playground and Kew Garden’s Children’s Garden.

Are the playgrounds in London gated?

Yes, playgrounds are usually gated.

Are there toilets and baby change facilities at playgrounds in London?

Yes, when it comes to the bigger play areas you usually find facilities either inside the playground or close by.

What’s your favourite play area?

Let us know in the comments if you have a favourite playground in London! Which adventure playgrounds did we miss out on? Any feedback welcome 🙂


Olivia February 16, 2021 - 3:20 pm

This is just fab ? Bookmarked and shared! London is so full of surprises, love that there are so many amazing playgrounds to choose from.

LondonDucklings February 20, 2021 - 10:24 pm

Thank you for sharing our post lovely, you’re the best ?

Kathy February 16, 2021 - 3:29 pm

Brilliant list of playgrounds! With the pain of lockdown, our local playgrounds have saved us from going insane. Staying confined to our local area during the pandemic really made it clear how important it is to have local green spaces and play areas, so hopefully this will trigger local councils to invest more in playgrounds! Oh, and a tip for a playground not on your list: Kilburn Grange Playground is just amazing with natural climbing frames and really cool swings ?

LondonDucklings February 20, 2021 - 10:27 pm

Thank you! And that’s so true about the lockdown Kathy. Without London’s many parks and playgrounds, these hard months would have had a much worse impact on everyone.

Daniela February 20, 2021 - 10:22 pm

Peckham Rye Park is our local playground, and our kids 3 and 6 years old just love it there.

LondonDucklings February 20, 2021 - 10:29 pm

Lucky you, living close to Peckham Rye Playground! One of our favourites 🙂

Lucy February 21, 2021 - 7:53 am

So true about all the nannies in the Diana Playground! Many of them glued to their mobiles, while their charges running wild ?

LondonDucklings February 21, 2021 - 10:35 am

I often wonder what the parents would say if they were aware ?

Celine February 22, 2021 - 11:06 am

Our daughter fractured her arm after falling down from climbing the treehouse in Peckham Rye… and she’s a deardevil and confident climber, so please be mindful of the risk if taking kids there…

LondonDucklings February 22, 2021 - 11:14 am

So sorry to hear about your daughter ? Thank you for the warning Celine!

Dani February 23, 2021 - 12:41 pm

We don’t bother to travel just for the sake of visiting playgrounds, with one important exception; the long slides in Vicky Park ? They’re definitely worth a quick ride on the tube!

LondonDucklings February 23, 2021 - 12:46 pm

Totally agree! It’s great fun (at least until it gets completely crowded and chaos erupts ?).

George February 24, 2021 - 1:02 pm

We love the playground in Kew’s Garden, just wish the time-slots would be a bit longer… we travel quite far and pay a lot for the entrace, and 90 minutes goes by very quickly when having fun!

LondonDucklings February 25, 2021 - 9:04 am

That’s a really good point! The time-slots should definitely be a bit longer, so you also have time for a break when inside the playground.

Donna February 25, 2021 - 3:49 pm

I used to take the kids to Coram’s Field before covid, but now it’s been ages since I visited Central London… can’t wait for London to open up again in spring!

LondonDucklings February 25, 2021 - 5:32 pm

Same here! Fingers crossed the opening will go as planned during spring.

Joseph February 27, 2021 - 8:52 am

The Diana playground has been so nice and quiet during lockdown compared to the normal tourist season…

LondonDucklings February 27, 2021 - 10:50 am

Yeah, the Central London playgrounds have been a lot quieter than the ones in the outer boroughs now during lockdown.

Jane S February 28, 2021 - 7:14 am

Crystal Palace Park is just perfect for a Sunday out with the kids! Just wish the dinosaur statues would look a bit more similar to actual dinosaurs ?

LondonDucklings February 28, 2021 - 9:10 am

Very true ?

Viv Lewis February 20, 2023 - 5:07 pm

Thanks very much for this list, but wondering if you should also include the children’s playground in Brockwell Park, Lambeth, I thin SE24 postal address. This is a lovely playgr0und with areas for 0 to 5, 5 – 9, and older children. Opened 5 to 6 years ago after Lambeth and the Friends of the Park managed to win a big National Lottieries grant. The whole area is very eco friendly but fun for children as the same time.

LondonDucklings April 14, 2023 - 4:43 pm

Thank you, that’s a great suggestion. We’ve added Brockwell Park Playground to our list 🙂


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