Conceived to offer both pleasure and the regulation thereof in one of the capital's dodgier districts, Battersea Park was opened by Queen Victoria in 1858. It now has so much going for it that it's almost unfair. What other green space in the capital can boast Thames views, an art gallery (The Pump House) and a zoo. It's so full of variety it's impossible not to stumble upon something new each time you visit. Kids love Battersea Park: the pedalos on the charming, landscaped boating lake, the sights and smells of the walled gardens. Battersea 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. But really, it's all about the animals. An enclosure apparently containing deer (they're elusive) is fun, but Battersea Park's ace is its family-run zoo, complete with lemurs, meerkats and pygmy goats. There's the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home too.
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