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Fountains in London

Make a splash in these cooling public fountains in London

© Scott Wishart

In summer, the capital is sprinkled with water features to refresh Londoners from every angle. Pack a picnic and a spare set of clothes and get set to cool down near (or in!) these heat-quenching jets.

Play fountains

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, South Bank Until Monday August 31 2015

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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King's Cross

More London Riverside Fountains

Approaching these fountains near The Scoop amphitheatre from London Bridge, you can follow a stream laid into the pavement, which dogs and small children are drawn to in equal measure. The fountains themselves are formed of 200 spouting jets with views of City Hall and Tower Bridge in the background. 

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London Bridge

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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Temple

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Fountains

Designed for maximum impact with 195 choreographed jets in a ribbon formation, Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park fountains are irresistible to kids and adults alike. They rise in unpredictable sequences for hours of splashy fun. Find them near the Aquatics Centre and the ArcellorMittal Orbit, two minutes from Beach East with its sand, paddling pool, fairground rides, bars and beach volleyball: it’s London-on-Sea! 

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Stratford

John Madjeski Garden Fountains, V&A

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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Brompton

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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Mayfair

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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South Hackney

Sculpture fountains

Barbican Centre

The Barbican Centre, a vast concrete estate of 2,000 flats and a leading arts complex, is a prime example of brutalist architecture, softened a little by time and rectangular ponds of friendly resident ducks. The lakeside terrace and adjoining café are good spots to take a rest from visiting the art gallery, cinema, theatre, concert hall or library within the complex. 

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Barbican

Battersea Park Fountain

Not content with their impressively vast area, Battersea Park's fountains also put on a water jet show. Gaze and be mesmerised by the main display (daily 10am-6pm) and the additional Crystal display (10am-5pm, on the hour every hour for 10 minutes), and enjoy the cooling spray that comes off them if you position yourself in just the right downwind spot. Ah, refreshing!

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Battersea

Bertrand Lavier: Fountain

An installation from the experimental sculptor who forms fine art from everyday items. The fountain is located within the grounds of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Hyde Park.

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Serpentine Sackler Gallery, Knightsbridge Until Sunday October 4 2015

Joy of Life Fountain, Hyde Park

The Joy of Life fountain, next to Aldford Street North Gate, alongside Park Lane, is a popular spot for splashing around in when the weather heats up.

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Kensington

Kyoto Garden, Holland Park

The Japanese-style Kyoto Gardens in lovely Holland Park are home to koi carp and bridge at the foot of a waterfall (not exactly a fountain, but it's so pretty we had to include it). In summer, open-air theatre and opera are staged in the park. 

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Holland Park

Tiffany Fountain, St James's Park

Rising spectacularly from the central lake is the Tiffany Fountain, which has a purpose as well as making a good photo point – it areates the water to benefit the resident wildlife. The lake is home to numerous species of wildfowl, including pelicans that have been kept here since the 17th century. The pelicans are fed between 2.30pm and 3pm daily, though they have been known to supplement their diet at other times of the day with the occasional pigeon.

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St James'

Comments

1 comments
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.