Zoos, play centres and a huge outdoor pool – we pick the best places for family fun in Wandsworth
Battersea Children’s Zoo is a big hit with lots of local Mumsnetters. There’s a good range of animals: from monkeys, meerkats and snakes to sheep, donkeys and bunnies with the added bonus of great children’s play areas. With a great sandpit and water play area, decommissioned fire engine for little ones to sit in and playground areas for all ages, there really is something for everyone.
For a great day out when the weather’s good head to Tooting Bec Lido. It’s the largest fresh water, open air swimming pool in England and has been voted ‘best outdoor pool’ for two years running. The art deco pool is 91.5 metres and has a children’s paddling pool, sauna and large enclosed grass area for sunbathing, picnicking and playing. It has great facilities for families, including a café, modern changing rooms and lockers.
There’s so muchvariety in Battersea Park that it can easily provide a full day out for families on a warm day. If you take your own picnic (lots of lovely places to sit), it doesn’t need to cost you a penny, except for parking. There are several formal gardens, a good size children’s playground, a fantastic adventure playground, fountains, lake, wild gardens and even a beautiful peace pagoda to admire by the river. If you are feeling active, you can take a rowing boat or pedalo out on the lake or hire a bicycle from London Recumbents who are based in the park and have a wide range of bikes for families.
If you are looking for a different way to spend a day, pop down to The Pump House Gallery. This contemporary art space in the middle of beautiful Battersea Park holds regular and exciting family days throughout the year with hands on activities and lots of ways to get involved.
For a creative family day out why not take your little ones to decorate their own pottery! At The Pottery Café budding artists can choose a piece of pottery and then decorate it by hand or using hand cut sponges. And for very little ones you can also capture their tootsies with baby feet painting.
This busy shopping street in the heart of ‘Nappy Valley’ is well worth a visit. There are plenty of shops aimed at families including several toy shops, a raft of children’s clothes and shoe shops, maternity wear boutiques, buggy shops, children’s furniture shops and even a charity shop that only stocks used children’s wear and toys. Pretty market barrows line the street selling everything from delicious hand made puddings to vintage clothing. There’s no need to rush as there are plenty of family friendly cafes and restaurants to choose from as well.
Take time out from the urban sprawl and head for Putney Heath’s 400 acres of woodland, scrubland, heathland, and park land. The Heath runs into Wimbledon Common and together they make up over 1,000 acres of countryside.. There are 9 ponds and a whole host of wildlife to spot including birds, frogs, deer, foxes, bats, rabbits, squirrels and more, There’s also a nature trail and windmill, or why not try a womble hunt? There are some nice country style pubs for family lunches too. Our personal favourite is the Telegraph.
For a cultured day out pop down to Wandsworth Museum. They host lots of great events and activities for families. Let your little ones get creative and there’s free entry for children under 6 years old. There’s also a lovely café on site, complete with under 5s play area.