Play fountains in London

Make a splash in these cooling public fountains in London

© Scott Wishart
In summer, the capital is sprinkled with water features that invite everyone to dive right in. Pack a picnic and spare set of clothes and get set to cool down in these refreshing jets.

Appearing Rooms

Back for another year (it first appeared in 2007), Jeppe Hein's interactive fountain is a refreshing addition to summer at Southbank Centre; find it outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Walls of water rise and fall randomly to create a series of constantly changing 'rooms', challenging visitors to keep their wits about them if they don't want to get soaked (unless they're kids, of course, in which case the aim will obviously be to get as wet as possible). The installation is part of the Southbank Centre's Festival of Love, which also features many family-friendly activities including an urban beach.

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Southbank Centre Until Monday August 31 2015 Free

Granary Square Fountains

This impressive courtyard offers a lovely escape from the bustle of King's Cross, and its expanse of playful fountains are just the thing for a hot day. Designed by the Fountain Workshop (who created the watery wonders at More London, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Coram’s Fields), no less than 1,080 fountains create the drama in fashionable Granary Square. With spurts choreographed to erupt at different heights, children love to play chase across the area as the jets shoot ever higher, before it all goes momentarily quiet – then the fountains begin to bubble all over again.

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Kings Cross and St Pancras

Edmond J Safra Fountain Court at Somerset House

Somerset House's imposing snowy-white neoclassical architecture provides salubrious majesty, while the 55 fountains in the Edmond J Safra Fountain Court provide mischief. With water jets sprouting in an orchestrated sequence, from teasing trickles to magnificent sky-high spurts, the fun is trying to predict what will happen next. Daredevils love to dart in and out, dodging the spray, but it’s usually only a matter of time before they’re caught out! The fountains are in situ from spring to autumn and are turned off during courtyard events such as the Summer Screen film series, so check the website or call to make sure they’re on before you set out.

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Tumbling Bay Playground Fountains, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Opened to the public in April 2014, the new children's playground on the southern side of the park is a truly awesome-looking area, packing in play fountains and water pumps, swings, slides, stepping stones, sand play, and a big treehouse with rope walkways. 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

John Madjeski Garden Fountains

The V&A's Italianate courtyard is home to a beautiful lake fringed with water jets. The oval shaped central water feature is surrounded by shallow steps which are perfect for little feet, and fragrant lemon trees fringe the garden lending an extra sensory dimension to the elegant space.

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Royal Academy of Arts Fountains

The nozzles of the courtyard fountain are laid out to match the position of the stars and planets on the night in 1723 when Sir Joshua Reynolds, artist and RA Founding President, was born.

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Splash Playground by The Hub, Victoria Park

The Hub Playground, on the east side of the park, is equipped with a fantastically designed fountain featuring gently undulating hills, water jets and giant slides. It's open during the summer months, see the Tower Hamlets Council site for times. There's more water play in the V&A Playground on the west side of the park near Grove Road, which has toddler-friendly water pumps and a sandpit.

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Victoria Park


Peter Jay
Peter Jay

Actually the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain is in Hyde Park, not Kensington Gardens and isn't particularly near the Diana Playground.