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Adventure playgrounds in London

Discover the best places for kids to run, play and tumble in the capital

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground

Many of London’s parks have fantastically imaginative adventure playgrounds that will keep the brood happy for a whole day. Check out our pick of the capital's best below.

CHECK THIS OUT: 101 things to do in London with kids

Adventure playgrounds in central London

Coram's Fields

The children's park on this beautiful walled garden site is simply the best for miles around. There's an enormous sandpit and all sorts of toddler climbing frames, plus an adventure playground for the older kids.

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Bloomsbury

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground

This commemorative play area is easily the best bit of Kensington Gardens for a child. A huge pirate ship on its own beach takes centre stage (take buckets and spades). Beyond this lies the tepee camp.

Note that there are likely to be queues at popular times, and if you'd rather not wait you can head to the nearby Hyde Park Playground. Refurbed in summer 2014, the more modest space includes a 'jungle area' where kids can get up close to nature, as well as conventional attractions like a slide and nest swing. It is located on the southern boundary of the park between the Serpentine and South Carriage Drive.

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Hyde Park

Regent's Park

Regent's Park has several playgrounds, but the most interesting is at Hanover Gate where, in 2010, a new timber treehouse area for older kids was built within a large sandpit next to the boating lake and existing playground.

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Regent's Park

Adventure playgrounds in north London

Clissold Park

Clissold Park opened a new wheels park, all-weather table tennis table and basketball area early in 2011 - the surrounding landscaped hillocks making a great viewing platform from where families crowd around to watch the stunts on sunny days.

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Stamford Hill

Finsbury Park

The children's playground here will keep kids amused for hours. There are fast slides going into the sandpit and really tricky climbing equipment to challenge older children, plus lots for toddlers to enjoy. Kids of all ages also love the enormous wooden structure adjacent to the playground.

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Finsbury Park

Highbury Fields

The children's playground at Highbury Fields in Islington is popular, combining old-fashioned thrills (such as a circular train requiring Flintstones-style propulsion, and an excitingly long, steep slide) with more recent additions, such as the flying fox and giant, web-like climbing frames.

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Highbury

Highgate Wood

Highgate Wood has an excellent and well-equipped playground, complete with sandpits, climbing equipment of various levels of difficulty and a zip wire that gets very busy at peak times. Great thought has gone into providing fun and challenges for the various age groups, and there's a separate area for the under-fives to call their own.

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East Finchley

Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill sports a state-of-the-art adventure playground, still looking spanking new after its award-winning refurb. The imaginative equipment is designed to challenge children rather than keep them boringly safe, and there's also a huge and popular paddling pool.

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Hampstead

Adventure playgrounds in south London

Brockwell Park

The playground in Brockwell Park is a favourite, with its aerial slide, massive sandpit and sections for different age groups; nearby are the duck ponds and the huge new paddling pool. A revamp is due to continue anytime soon.

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Herne Hill

Battersea Park

The park's adventure playground is superb, with plenty of original and imaginatively-built features. The climbing structures, slides and high climbing nets present unusual challenges for children aged 5+, and there's a separate area for younger kids too.

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Battersea

Goose Green

The new adventure playground at Goose Green in East Dulwich is a hit with all ages.

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East Dulwich

Horniman Triangle

Just over the road from the Horniman Museum (SE23) is the Horniman Triangle playground. This was completely revamped in 2009 with a massive circular sandpit, a climbing boulder with a giant spider and rope ‘web’ attached and lots of other interactive sand-play additions. There’s a new café onsite too.

South East London

Adventure playgrounds in east London

Glamis Adventure Playground

The idea behind this community project was to create a space where children can take controlled risks while they are playing – and Glamis Adventure Playground must be one of the few playgrounds in the country where children are actively encouraged to build and light a bonfire. There’s an amazing climbing structure, as well as swings and slides, and a vegetable garden to get grubby in. Indoor activities include arts, crafts and cooking. The playground won Adventure Playground of the Year 2007 and there’s a play-scheme organised during school holidays.

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Tower Hamlets

Mile End Park

The Children's Park here is the place to head for a colourful and imaginative space that has a rope slide, scrambling wall, complicated climbing frame, swings and a see-saw, as well as a dedicated area for under-fives that includes a vast sandpit.

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Mile End

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Opened to the public in April 2014, the new children's playground on the southern side of the park is ungated and very much open to visitors of all ages. It’s not easy to make us wish we were seven years old again, but Tumbling Bay pulls it off. It’s a truly awesome-looking area, packing in swings, slides, stepping stones, sand and water play, and a big treehouse with rope walkways, as well as squashy orange hills and a climbing wall to conquer. Energetic kids will spend hours here. Exhausted adults will find it conveniently close to the outdoor tables at the Timber Lodge café.

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Olympic Park

Victoria Park

Vicky Park is wonderful for youngsters: the V&A Playground is equipped with swings etc, and the fantastically designed Pools Playground encourages creative play. Victoria Park is seeing multi-million pound improvements in preparation for London 2012.

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Victoria Park

Adventure playgrounds in west London

Dukes Meadows

Dukes Meadows is a great local addition to Chiswick, with a paddling pool and a variety of climbing and adventure play equipment constructed largely from wood and landscaped earth.

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South West London

Holland Park

The history of Holland Park, one of London’s finest green spaces, makes an interesting tale for history buffs and horticulturalists alike. The park surrounds a Jacobean mansion, Holland House, named after its second owner, the Earl of Holland, whose wife was the first person in England to successfully grow dahlias. In the 19th century, Holland House became a hub of political and literary activity, visited by Disraeli and Lord Byron amongst others, but was largely destroyed by bombs during WWII. These days, dahlias are still grown within the 55 acres of Holland Park, which also houses the Japanese-style Kyoto Gardens with its koi carp and bridge at the foot of a waterfall. Not to be missed for families is the playground, with its extensive climbing equipment, zip wire, giant see-saw and tyre swing. There’s also a fenced-in separate play area for younger children. In summer, open-air theatre and opera are staged in the park.

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Holland Park

Queen's Park

Queens Park has a giant sandpit, a paddling pool (resurfaced in 2010) and patrolling wardens, and plans are afoot to give it a naturalistic makeover when sufficient funds have been raised.

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Queen's Park

Ravenscourt Park

Kids are well catered for with a nature trail and four play areas which feature a paddling pool, a rope and post fitness circuit and an adventure playground with fort-style climbing frames, slides and a popular basket swing.

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West London

Comments

13 comments
JU L
JU L

Life savers during the summer holidays!

Emily M
Emily M Spammer

My three year old decided last week that he was totally obsessed with pirates. I think that the playground with the pirate ship would be so much fun for him. I really appreciate all of these reviews for the best places around. It's good to know where the safest places to take my kid are. 

Fiona S
Fiona S

There are in fact around 80 staffed adventure playgrounds in London, and a number which cater specifically for children with disabilities and special needs. These include the excellent Oasis Children's Venture and Charlie Chaplin playgrounds in Lambeth, and KIDS in Hackney. Visit www.londonplay.org.uk and click on 'Find a place to play' to see a map of adventure playgrounds or 'Find local play organisations' to search by key word.

Tamsin
Tamsin

There are accessible swings and a roundabout at Priory Park in Crouch End. There are accessible swings in Finsbury Park, Hampstead Heath (Gospel Oak playground). This Timeout list of 'adventure' playgrounds is completely shocking - only three in the whole of London. I could do better in about 5 seconds! My favourites: amazing adventure play in Trent Park petting zoo, fantastic open outdoor play in Stoke Newington playground plus a small animal enclosure and paddling pool in summer. Priory Park also has an ace paddling pool.

Petra
Petra

Queens Park playground in NW6 is a great place to go with your little and big kids. There is a massive sandpit, paddling pool and a great climbing wall with a big slide. The park is a treat itself.

marie
marie

Coram's fields. in my opinion no great, rather shabby. Though my god daughter quite enjoyed herself on the slides, climbing frames and rather dubious paddling pool. It was a very chilled out relaxed place. Lots of tree cover so good on a sunny day. The petting zoo didn't seem to be open when we went, though it was nice to look at the animals. As parks go, rather average. But I did have a nice day at the same time. Mostly because of the company.

Peter McGladdery
Peter McGladdery

There is a big (relatively) new one just behind the London Eye. Smaller play areas in town include one between St Giles in the Fields & Phoenix Gardens (off Tottenham court road south of Oxford St) and Whitfield Street (between Charlotte St & Tottenham Court Road)

clare
clare

Coram fields is not worth the travel was hugely disappointed no fields in sight in fact not even a piece of grass. More like a concrete jungle in need of desperate repair and up dating. Hardly anything there for the children to play on and they were bored within 20 mins of getting there.

Roz
Roz

Further to Hayley's comment, I have to agree why no information on those playgrounds that cater for children with additional needs/mobility access. I lived in London for 15 years but now wish to visit with my learning and mobility impaired son. There is a shocking lack of information in the city that claims to have it all! Hayley, be sure visit us at The Yard in that other capital city, Edinburgh. Its an adventure playground in the heart of our capital city specially designed for children with additional needs. Looks like London hasn't got there yet.

Chris
Chris

There's something seriously wrong with your idea of adventure playgrounds; most listed are not apg's. How you can only list 3 staffed sites is beyond me. contact London Play for a full list & information. There are also several sites that cater specifically for children with special needs / disabilities.

Hannah
Hannah

There is another Adventure Playground in Richmond - Upon - Thames called Marble Hill Playcentres, We are an inclusive facility which has an informal family drop in centre for 0 - 5 year olds, a Toy Library and an Award winning Adventure Playground for 5 - 15 year olds. Please see www.marblehillplaycentres.com for more details. Thanks

Hayley
Hayley

There is never any info about places to go with disabled children, something where they too can join in and interact. And we need playgrounds with wheelchair accessible swings, roundabouts etc. Please help disabled children feel included too!