London has some wonderful parks. We’re lucky enough to have Victoria Park, the Olympic Park and Mile End park just a short walk away. I’m not going to write about them here but, as you probably already know, you can spend the whole day in each of these, especially the first two when it’s hot and the water parks are open.
These three local parks are fantastic, but that doesn’t stop me getting a bit bored of them and wanting a change of scene, every now and again. So here are a few other suggestions if you ever feel the same. After all, we need to prepare ourselves for a gorgeous Spring and wonderful Summer when we’re outdoors all day, every day… don’t we?
- West Ham Park
We went to West Ham Park this weekend. It’s our second visit and it’s a really nice place. For us, it’s a short bus ride into Stratford, then a five minute walk down a side road to reach it. It’s a nice big open space, with paths that are good for small people on scooters. The playground was pretty quite and we spent an hour or so there. The highlight was definitely the orangutan swings…
… On fine days in June, July and August, the paddling pool is open for business making this an even more attractive option.
When we eventually managed to persuade our reluctant toddler to leave the playground, she scooted and we enjoyed the ornamental garden. There’s a lovely Spring display right now including bluebells.
There are also wide open spaces for cricket and football. An ice cream van was in attendance but there’s no cafe on site. If you’re up for a bit of a walk, stop off at Sawmill on West Ham lane, close to Stratford High Street DLR for refreshments.
What? West Ham Park (Click here for details)
2. Coram Fields
You can only visit Coram Fields, close to Russell Square tube station, if you’re accompanied by a child. It’s a haven for little Londoners in a busy part of town. There’s a large playground that includes slides, swings, musical instruments and a zip wire. There are also big sandpits and a paddling pool, as well as plenty of open space to run around.
On the far left hand side as you enter is the animal area, where you’ll find chickens, goats and rabbits.
There’s also a cafe. I haven’t tried it but it looks nice.
What? Coram Fields (Click here for details)
Where? 93 Guilford Street WC1N 1DN
3. Greenwich Park
This is only a short journey away on the DLR for us and so is a popular option when we’re looking to go somewhere different. If it rains, there’s no panic. You can head for the National Maritime Museum or the Cutty Sark instead. And it’s proximity to the food market makes it attractive to the adults…
To be honest, Greenwich Park is so vast I don’t think I’ve explored the whole thing yet. We usually go straight to the children’s playground, which has all the usual stuff and has recently had a revamp. It’s a good playground, with a big sandpit and water pump. If you want to stretch your legs, you can head up the hill to the observatory and there’s plenty more park beyond. I’ve always meant to find the deer park, but I haven’t done it yet.
There’s a kiosk selling snacks by the children’s playground, but Greenwich has a ton of food options. But if it’s a nice day, make the most of it – get supplies from the food market and have a picnic.
What? Greenwich Park (Click here for details)
Where? Greenwich SE10 8QY
4. Crystal Palace Park
Going to Crystal Palace Park involves a 40 minute trip on the overground. I did it once when my little girl was a baby but I’m determined to do it again this year when she’ll be better able to enjoy the dinosaurs. Built by Victorians, the dinosaur figures are located around a lake. From memory, it makes for a nice walk for a toddler. The park also has a playground that my daughter was too young to make the most of last time. There’s also little city farm next to the park, so there really is plenty to do if, like me, you’ve got to travel a fair distance to get there.
What? Crystal Palace Park (Click here for details)
Where? Thicket Rd, London SE19 2GA
5. Parliament Hill/Gospel Oak children’s playground and paddling pool, Hampstead Heath
The Parliament Hill playground is just a short walk from Gospel Oak overground station if you’re travelling from East London. It’s a really good playground, although often pretty busy. I seem to remember there’s a paddling pool for toddlers (click for opening hours) but, when I last visited, it was out of season and closed. The cafe is just a short walk away, so is the Lido and the whole heath stretches out ahead of you if you want to then take a walk.
What? Parliament Hill/Gospel Oak children’s playground and paddling pool (Click here for details)
6. London Fields
London Fields offers a good playground with the added attraction of Broadway Market being a few minutes away. Like at Greenwich Park, parents can get themselves something yummy to eat. Hackney City farm isn’t far either if you want to combine the two – and, of course, there’s a paddling pool (click here for opening hours) and the Lido if you want a dip.
I always find London Fields a bit awkward to get to, but there’s a direct bus from Mile End, the overground or the option of walking along the canal.
What? London Fields (Click here for details)