South East London: Top Family Friendly Activities

by LondonDucklings

Looking for family-friendly activities in South East London? This is an area that has lots to offer for kids! Probably only second to Central London, you’ll find a wide array of activities to explore, ranging from museums to city farms and state of the art playgrounds.

Horniman museum in South East London

We also really enjoy the stretch of Thames from Tower Bridge all the way to North Greenwich and the O2 centre. The Thames Path is well shielded from traffic and safe for kids when it comes to both scooting and cycling. At the O2 centre, the Oxygen trampoline park is something for the whole family to enjoy, with separate toddler session at a discounted price.

When it comes to active days, we also like the modern Sutcliffe Sports Centre, where you can enjoy different climbing walls as well as a skatepark. If we would recommend a playground in South East London, it would probably be Peckham Rye Adventure Playground.  We really like how they created the park, with clear divisions between older kids being challenged by a huge treehouse and younger kids splashing around in the water and sand area.

Greenwich – The jewel of South East London

Greenwich is one of the nicest parts of London for families to spend a day, about five miles east of Westminster, right on the banks of the River Thames.  There are just so many great places for children, including:

The nicest way to arrive at Greenwich is by taking a riverboat on the Thames. When you walk off the boat and out of Greenwich Pier, straight in front of you is Cutty Sark, a 19th-century tea clipper with interactive galleries for children. To the right is a circular red brick building with a glass-domed roof which you might think is an old Victorian public toilet – it’s actually the entrance to the Greenwich foot tunnel that runs all the way under the River Thames to the Isle of Dogs.

Greenwich in South East London

Greenwich foot tunnel in the foreground

The foot tunnel was opened in 1902 to allow dock workers living in South East London to get to work at the Millwall docks. It’s still open today, 24 hours a day, there are elevators but they only run from 5 am-9 pm. The walk shouldn’t take more than five to ten minutes to get to Island Gardens on the other side, very close to Mudchute City Farm. Not only can you say you’ve walked under the Thames but you’ll have a good photo opportunity from the north side of all the great buildings on the Greenwich bank!

entrance to Greenwich market in South East London

Greenwich in South East London is a great place to take the kids. There is plenty of great food options in the local market that you can bring to the park to have a picnic on the grass.

The central part of Greenwich is a lively place and fairly small so it’s easy to walk around and see what’s there. As well as a popular area for tourists, Greenwich has a University in the Old Royal Naval College buildings on the banks of the Thames.  The University took over some of the main buildings in 1999 from Royal Navy and Trinity College of Music moved into the King Charles Court building in 2001. If you walk past Greenwich Market and through the gates at the end of College Approach you’ll often hear students playing classical music through the open windows.

Tasty Lunch from Greenwich Market

Greenwich must be just about the grandest university campus in London, big and imposing with columns everywhere, but nicely spread out with a large manicured lawn is in the centre. If you’re getting lunch from Greenwich Market, this is a nice place to sit and enjoy your food. Walking down to the riverside you’ll see Canary Wharf rise above the trees from the other bank, and if you go further down the bank towards the Trafalgar Tavern you get a good look at the Millennium Dome at the head of the next bend in the river. A number of films have shot scenes around the college including Patriot Games, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Four Wedding and a Funeral and The Crown.

View from Greenwich Park in South East London towards Canary Wharf

Greenwich Park in South East London overlooking Canary Wharf

Walking towards Greenwich Park, you’ll pass through the National Maritime Museum where kids can play in the wonderful Children’s Gallery. Once you go past the Museum towards the park there’s a large open grass area crisscrossed by paths that leads up the Royal Observatory on top of the hill where the view is fantastic overlooking the Thames and Isle of Dogs.

Walking Towards Blackheath Village

At the top of the hill leading away from the Observatory is Blackheath Avenue which ends at the heath (starting point of the London Marathon). If you’re out walking on Sunday, follow the path down from the heath to Blackheath village and by the train station you’ll find a great local farmers’ market (open until ~2 PM). Spending a day in Greenwich with kids is well worth your time, you’ll find it a lot more relaxing than the hectic pace in Central London.

Other family-friendly activities in South East London

Also in South East London, you’ll find the Horniman Museum with lots of activities as well as the Dinasour garden at Crystal Palace and Severndroog Castle which is open every Sunday.

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