On the blog I’ll regularly be sharing ideas on things to do in London and the surrounding areas, a mix of fun and interesting places or events to visit, with plenty to explore and discover for a curious toddler. With springtime approaching, it’s a great time to venture out and experience something new, and in this post I’ve included both outdoor and (just in case) indoor activities, from getting up close with farmyard animals at a city farm to taking the driver’s seat of a London bus or Underground train…
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground [Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, W2 4RU; Free] – Located next to Princess Diana’s Kensington Palace Home and inspired by the stories of Peter Pan, this playground fit for an intrepid explorer features a huge wooden pirate ship with a beach, a sensory trail, teepees and other toys and play sculptures. Open from 1000 to 1845 (April to September, more details here) with an on-site café.
Review of our visit: Princess Diana Memorial Playground
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo [Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU6 2LF, view ticket prices and current offers] – Venture out of the city to visit the UK’s biggest zoo, set in 600 acres of parkland north of London and home to more than 2,500 animals. Take a safari adventure by steam train and spot elephants, rhinos, lions and camels along the way. Or visit Hullabazzoo, an area dedicated to young children, featuring an indoor soft play area and an interactive farm where kids can meet animals such as minature donkeys, pygmy goats and sheep and lambs. Open from 1000 to 1800, last entry 1700 (April to September, see website for more details) with several food and drink options.
Hounslow Urban Farm [Feltham, Middlesex, TW14 0LZ; £7.50 adult, £6.00 child 2+, Free for under 2s] – Springtime is a great time to visit a nearby farm! Many have opportunities for the little ones to meet baby animals, along with close-up encounters with a wide range of farmyard animals such as pigs, cows, rabbits, alpacas and sheep. Hounslow Urban Farm (near Heathrow Airport) is one of London’s largest community farm, covering 29 acres and, in addition to the farm, features fun activities, pony riding, an outdoor play area and an indoor bouncy castle. Open from 1000 to 1700, last entry 1600, with an on-site café.
Review of our visit: Springtime at Hounslow Urban Farm
London Transport Museum [Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB; £16.00 adult (unlimited admission for 12 month period from date of purchase), Free for kids] – We visited this museum last month and the highlight for Little T was sitting in the driver’s seat of a bus and trying his hand at steering the wheel and pressing the buttons. It’s been put together well for everyone to enjoy – it’s fun and interactive, easy to get around with a stroller (with lifts and ramps) and it’s right in the heart of Covent Garden. They’ve also just launched a new play zone for children aged 0 to 7 years along with an area specifically for infants that includes an interactive wall and building blocks. Make sure to hold onto your ticket for unlimited admission for 12 months from date of purchase. Open from 1000 to 1800, last entry 1715, with an on-site café and plenty of nearby restaurants in Covent Garden.
Coram’s Fields [93 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1DN; Free] Located between King’s Cross and Holborn and covering five acres, Coram’s Fields consists of a children’s centre, sports programme, city farm (with goats, sheep, pigs and rabbits) and a café. The playground has areas for free play and a mix of equipment for all ages from toddlers to older children. Adults are only allowed in if accompanied by a child. Open from 0900 until dusk, with an on-site café (open from March until October).
Science Museum [Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD; Free] This is probably an obvious one, but the Science Museum is a place I would happily bring Little T time and time again. It’s a fun experience with two areas in particular with hands-on activities for little ones. At the Garden, young ones discover science through play, with areas covering construction, water, light and sound. Little T spent most of his time listening to his voice being carried through a giant tube, tugging at the tactile display wall that consisted of wellies, springs and stones and moving little tub boats along a large water table (the highlight of the visit!). The Pattern Pod is a multi-sensory area for 5-8 year olds that could also interest toddlers with its interactive exhibits encouraging children to recognise and copy patterns. Open from 1000 to 1900, last entry 1815 with cafés onsite and plenty more dining options near South Kensington tube station.
What are your favorite places to explore around London? Please let me know in the comments!
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[Updated 6 March 2017 with links to our days out reviews]