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Five places to let the kids go wild in London

Forget gazing at all creatures great and small – let the kids release their own animal instincts for a day at these five child-friendly activities

Written by
Laura Lee Davies
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Where to let the children off the leash

Swing like a monkey
  • Things to do
  • Battersea

For years, the only places you could enjoy tree-top adventures were miles out in the country. No more! Following the success of Go Ape! in Battersea Park, there’s a new Go Ape! junior course at Alexandra Palace. Open to children over a metre tall, it’s a chance to negotiate ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels and finish off with a breathtaking 43-metre zipwire swoop back to earth. Adults must accompany children under six, and there’s a full course for all ages opening this summer.

  • Sport and fitness
  • Climbing
  • Fulham

Do you walk into the living room and find your four-year-old perched on a shelf? Do your nerves a favour and let them work off their clambering desires at the completely safe indoor activity centre Clip ’N Climb Chelsea, complete with climbing walls suitable for different ages and abilities. For children aged four and over.

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Leap like a salmon
  • Dance
  • Leyton

The Aqua Splash sessions at the London Aquatics Centre in Stratford are super fun but also book up very quickly, so if you have a regular little Michael Phelps on your hands, one of the other great pools is Leyton Leisure Centre. Its aqua play area is flumetastic.

Hop like a bunny
  • Attractions
  • Zoos and aquariums
  • Battersea

With a mix of wildlife and the chance to play (there's a sandpit, fort, fire engine and tractor for clambering on), Battersea Children's Zoo is just the right size for little ones. Along with monkeys, meerkats and a good selection of other curiously exotic creatures, there's a happy little gang of cute rabbits. At noon on weekends (and daily in school holidays), you can join rabbit feeding sessions – perfect for picking up top tips on how to wriggle your face and hop about in true rabbity style.

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  • Attractions
  • Rivers, lakes and ponds
  • Barnes

At the London Wetland Centre you can go on a bird-spotting mission, watch otters foraging and see dragonflies skim over the ponds. When you’re ready for a sit down, let the kids loose on the indoor hands-on Discovery Centre. Then, when they’re itching for another run around, head back outdoors for zip wires, climbing walls and giant water vole tunnels. (Giant tunnels, that is. No oversized water voles to wrestle, we promise.)

More activities to keep the little ones entertained

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