Things to Do in LONDON with KIDS: The Best Parks & Playgrounds

Hi folks, welcome to my series on London, United Kingdom! Having lived as a student in London from 2011-12 and visited it multiple times, I’m sharing my knowledge of this wonderful city. I plan to post content every week. The content will largely focus on my recent trip there in June-July 2018, but there’ll also be some gems from the past. If you’d like to know more, please follow my blog.

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Parks are the best way to keep children entertained while traveling abroad. London has gorgeous parks and playgrounds, both natural and manicured. Depending on where you’re staying or what activities your children prefer, you can visit either one or all of these parks and playgrounds.

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KENSINGTON GARDENS:

This lush park has large areas to picnic, sunbathe or just chill. There is a pond with ducks and plenty of food and ice-cream stalls. Old-school carousels are operational in the summer months which are extremely popular with children of all ages. The adults will enjoy sightseeing Kensington Palace– the royal residence of both Princes with their families.

Timings: 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Lancaster Gate and Queensway on the Central Line. Bayswater on the District Line. High Street Kensington on the Circle and District Lines.

By Bus: 9, 10, 27, 28, 31, 49, 52, 70, 94, 148, 274, 360, 390

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DIANA MEMORIAL PLAYGROUND:

This wonderful playground inside Kensington Gardens is extremely popular with children. The Pirate ships particularly attract younger children. Avoid excessive crowds by visiting during the week or at off-peak hours. The Broadwalk Café is conveniently located next to the playground. An adult must accompany each child.

Timings: 10:00 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Lancaster Gate and Queensway on the Central Line, Bayswater on the District Line, High Street Kensington on the Circle and District Lines

By Bus: 9, 10, 27, 28, 31, 49, 52, 70, 94, 148, 274, 360, 390

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HOLLAND PARK:

Though less popular than its other Central London counterparts, this park has plenty to offer. A large forested area for leisurely walks; a manicured lawn and garden with gorgeous peacocks among other exotic flora and fauna; a life-size chessboard; a playground for young children and a sports field for older ones. There is a café and pottery and other craft classes for those interested. The Design Museum located here has a lovely outdoor fountain and water play area that will keep children entertained while parents peruse inside. An Operatic stage is another major attraction.

Timings: From dawn to dusk

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Holland Park, High Street Kensington and Notting Hill Gate

By Bus: 9, 10, 27, 28, 49 and C1.

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HYDE PARK:

This lovely green space in the heart of London is the mother of all parks. With a nice playground, plenty of restaurants, frequent concerts and events and a weekly Shakespeare Corner open to everyone, the park has plenty for visitors of all ages.

Timings: 5:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Lancaster Gate, Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Knightsbridge

By Bus: From the north via routes C2, 6, 7, 10, 16, 19, 23, 36, 52, 73, 82, 98, 113, 274, 390 and 414, from the south via routes 2, 36, 137, 148, 159 and 436, from the west via routes 9, 10, 14, 19, 22, 52, 74, 94, 148 and 414, or from the east via routes 8,15, 23, 30, 38 and 274.

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Picture courtesy: http://www.royalparks.org.uk

HAMPSTEAD HEATH:

If you fancy a swim while on vacation and don’t have access to one in a hotel, Hampstead Heath is place to go. With lovely natural pools open to public, this green space is quite popular with Londoners. A playground and eating joints are added attractions.

Timings: Open 24 hours

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Golders Green, Hampstead, Kentish Town on the Northern Line. Hampstead Heath and Gospel Oak on the Overground.

By Bus: C2, H3, C11, 24, 46, 168, 210, 214, 268

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Picture courtesy: http://www.londonengland.ca

KEW GARDENS:

Located in Zone 3, this lovely garden surrounding the Kew Palace is a popular option for wedding parties. Its royal environs add that romantic touch, and lush greens make it a fantastic picnic spot. As with the other parks, there is a separate childrens playground too.

Timings: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (last entry at 6:00 p.m.)

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stop: Kew Gardens Station

Nearest Train Stop: Kew Bridge Station

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Picture courtesy: http://www.kingfishervisitorguides.com

GREENWICH PARK:

Though famous for the Royal Observatory located here, this area also has a beautiful hillside park that offers stunning views of the city of London. Make a day trip where you can visit the main attractions including the Observatory, the Maritime Museum, the Greenwich Market, the Cutty Sark Ship and have a lovely picnic in the park.

Timings: 6:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: North Greenwich on the Jubilee Line

By Train: Connecting trains depart from Cannon Street, Waterloo, London Bridge and Charing Cross and go to Greenwich, Maze Hill and Blackheath.

By DLR (Dockland Light Railway): Cutty Sark and Greenwich stations

By Bus: 53, 54, 177, 180, 188, 199, 202, 286, 380, 386

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Picture courtesy: http://www.rmg.co.uk

BATTERSEA PARK:

This park is most famous for its raucous Guy Fawkes Day celebrations. Britain lights up with fireworks every November 5, to commemorate the man who attempted to blow up the English parliament centuries ago. Though London sees widespread celebrations, Battersea Park is known to have the largest one. It’s also a nice park to visit at other times as it has a petting zoo.

Timings: 8:00 a.m – dusk

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stop: Sloane Square

By Train: Queenstown Road Railway Station, Battersea Park Station

By Bus: 19, 44, 49,137,156,170, 239, 314, 319, 344, 345, 452

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Picture courtesy: http://www.letsgowiththechildren.co.uk

WESTFIELD MALL KIDZANIA:

If you don’t have the patience for regular parks or just want to get your shopping quota filled while your kids are entertained, Westfield is your best option. With a large Kidzania and a separate baby play area, the children won’t get bored.

Timings: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Shepherd’s Bush and White City on the Central Line. Wood Lane and Shepherd’s Bush Market on the Hammersmith & City Line.

By Bus: 31, 49, 148, 207, 237, 260, 607 and C1, 72, 94, 95, 220, 272, 283, 295 and N207

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Picture courtesy: http://www.funkidslive.com

This is a pick of my favorite parks but London is peppered with many others. Do explore the parks in the neighborhood you stay in, and let me know your favorites in the comments section!

Stay tuned for more London posts.

Some more pictures from my trip!

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Picnic-ing in Kensington Gardens

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Kensington Palace

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Posing in the manicured lawns at Holland Park

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Giant chessboard at Holland Park

If you’d like to read more about my London adventures, you can check out these posts:

The 5 Best Museums to Visit in London with Kids

Best Budget Shopping in London

Review of Ivy Lettings, Apartment Rental Service in London

If you’d like to read about other fun things to do in Delhi with children, click these posts:

The Dolphin POD

Exploring the Delhi Zoo

The Sunday Market at Bikaner House

If you’d like to read about more places to travel with you kids, click these posts:

South Goa

Amritsar

Mumbai

Nashik

Landour, Mussoorie

Staycation at the ITC Mughal, Agra

 

 

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