Fairlop Water Country Park and Boulders!

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Fairlop Water

If you want an outdoorsy day out that’s nearby and on the Central Line, Fairlop Water Country Park is a good option.

Set around a sailing lake, the park includes a large outdoor boulder park with artificial rock climbing boulders for bouldering enthusiasts (‘bouldering’ is climbing on low-level rocks, without ropes) – a great place for parents who climb and can tag-team looking after the kids. Some of the boulders are less steep and ideal for children or beginners to have a go scrambling up (though children will need close supervision as there are some big drops).

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Climbing boulder

There is plenty of shady grass around the boulders for picnics, and gravel areas for the digger enthusiasts in the family…

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The gravel around the boulders is ideal for construction-site play

There are wide paths around the lake and several outdoor adventure areas for younger and older children, with things like logs to balance along or jump between, and a rope balancing maze.

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At the West end of the park there’s a pavilion with a bar and toilets. On the day we visited there was also an ice-cream van and you could pay for rides around the park on a mini ‘train’, much to Finn’s delight.

The park encourages physical activity in kids of all ages and feels very spacious, peaceful and open to the sky – all in all a good escape from London.

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Feels a bit like the seaside…

What?

Fairlop Waters Park surrounds Fairlop Water and includes an outdoor Boulder Park at the north-east corner.Fairlop Waters is also the location of Owls Play Centre, a soft play centre which Aline has reviewed in a blog post here. For non-toddlers, it has a watersports centre, high ropes climbing centre and golf course.

Where?

Fairlop Waters, Forest Road Barkingside, Essex, IG6 3HN.

Tube: Near Fairlop, on the central line. See this map.

Car: there are two car parks, one near the boulder park and the other near the lakeside pavilion.

When?

Open long hours, all year – opening times here.

How much?

Free

Facilities and access

Wide buggy-friendly, accessible paths around the lake. Toilets in the pavilion building (10 minutes’ walk from the boulder area).

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