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Best Playgrounds in London

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The best playgrounds in London are large spaces where children can explore and play. Unlike playgrounds in the United States, these playgrounds have bathrooms and cafes! These are the 9 playgrounds that we have found to be the best.

The Best Playgrounds in London - from an epic fairytale playground at a castle to an adventure playground at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, these are the best places for children to play.

As an American, I want to quickly mention that some playgrounds abroad aren’t held to such strict safety guidelines. Adventure playgrounds can be a bit dangerous. Adventure Playgrounds are popular in London and are created with the belief that children can benefit from risk-taking. As a parent to a fearless 3-year-old, I recommend scoping out the playground to identify any tricky areas before letting your child play.

The Best Playgrounds in London

I have done my best to indicate if these playgrounds have sand or water elements. When sand and/or water is involved, I recommend bringing a towel and a change of clothing for your children.

Paddington Recreation Ground

A guide to the best playgrounds in London. These playgrounds have amenities like cafes and bathrooms in addition to exceptional play spaces.

We adore this playground in Maida Vale. It’s huge and has sections for children of all ages. It does have some adventure playground elements, but we felt comfortable letting our three-year-old play and explore without needing to stand beside her the entire time.

The young children’s area, geared towards babies and toddlers, is inspired by Paddington and is decorated with carved wooden bears. This space has swings and a jungle gym.

The Best Playgrounds in London: Paddington Recreation Ground

The middle of the playground has little row homes that have slides and a climbing area on the other side, a wooden train and train station, and a big jungle gym in the shape of a boat. The adventure play section, which is in a separate gated area, has a large wooden play structure with rope bridges and a zip line.

In addition to the playground, this park has a track for running, cricket practice areas, sports fields, and a large grassy field. There are bathrooms and a cafe right beside the playground.

Getting there: This playground is about a 5-minute walk from the Maida Vale station on the Bakerloo line.

What to know: This playground doesn’t limit the number of children who play at any given time. It’s open to the public, free, and open all year. It’s more of a neighborhood hangout than a tourist destination, but it’s worth going out of your way to visit this playground. We also like how there are pubs and restaurants very nearby including a Gail’s and a Starbucks. The Carlton Tavern pub is beside the park, they have a large outdoor seating area, and they have kid’s menu items available.

What we like about Paddington Recreation Ground

The playground is big – it’s easy for children to spend an hour or two playing there. The sections are well-divided, but not too far apart. This makes it possible to keep your eyes on kids playing in some of the different areas. The adventure playground section is in a separate gated area, as is the area geared towards toddlers. I like this since you don’t have to worry about little kids and big kids trying to play on the same structures. There are some picnic tables by the mini row homes so parents have a place to sit down.

The Cove at the National Maritime Museum

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

This new playground located at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is inspired by sea creatures and features a kraken with tentacle towers, a shark with a climbing wall and slide, and a multi-level ship with a crow’s nest. This playground includes accessible structures and sensory elements.

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

Getting there: You could opt to take the tube, but I think the most fun way to get here is to take the ferry to Greenwich Pier.

What to know: Entrance to both the museum and the playground is free. The Parkside Cafe is beside the playground and offers family-friendly meals. The bathrooms are just inside. The National Maritime Museum has a wonderful indoor play space called AHOY! It is closed until Summer 2025, but once it reopens, you could pair playtime at AHOY! with a visit to The Cove.

What we like about The Cove

We haven’t visited yet, but it looks so incredible that I wanted to include it on this list of best playgrounds in London. My daughter and I visited AHOY! in July 2023, and loved the museum and Greenwich is a darling neighborhood worth exploring.

Tumbling Bay at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The Best Playgrounds in London: Tumbling Bay

Tumbling Bay is a prime example of an adventure playground. Children can climb rope bridges up to tall towers. The ground covering is mulch and not rubberized. My husband closely followed our three-year-old as she climbed high.

The playground has two sections. The climbing area is best suited for children who are 5 or older. The sandy area with a water play feature is the main attraction of the younger children’s area. A cafe and bathrooms is next to the sandy space.

The adventure and sandy sections are separate enough that you can’t see one from the other. So, it would be possible to take kids just to the adventure playground and to avoid the water and sand. Understandably, the water feature wasn’t turned on for the season when we visited in March.

Getting there: The closest tube stop is Stratford Station on the Jubilee line. It is a solid 10-minute walk from the station to the playground.

What to know: This playground has sand and a water feature. I would highly recommend that children be accompanied by an adult who is physically capable of climbing the tall structures. My husband feels strongly that this playground is quite dangerous. Tumbling Bay is near Discover Children’s Story Centre and the Westfield Stratford mall and we made a day of visiting all three.

What we like about Tumbling Bay:

We were impressed by how this playground is unlike any other that we have visited. Out of all the playgrounds on this list of best playgrounds in London, this one is best suited for older kids.

Diana Memorial Playground

The Best Playgrounds in London: Diana Memorial Playground

Located beside Kensington Palace, this playground was inspired by the story of Peter Pan. The centerpiece of the park is Captain Hook’s ship. Children can even climb all the way up the crow’s nest. In addition to the ship, the playground has teepees, a large wooden jungle gym, and a “beach”.

Getting there: The Queensway station on the Central line is about a 3 minute walk from the playground.

What to know: This playground has sand and a water feature. It’s one of London’s most popular playgrounds, and there can be a line to get in during summer and on weekends. The playground has areas geared toward differently abled children and a sensory trail. It opens at 10 am and closes around dusk, check the website for info.

What we like about Diana Memorial Playground

Since this playground is so centrally located, it’s easy to slide it into your itinerary.

The Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace

The Best Playgrounds in London: The Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace

This isn’t just one of the best playgrounds in London, it is the best playground I have ever been to. Inspired by fairytales and myths, this playground has large towers with slides, a splash pad, a sandy area, a giant dragon, and tons of space for kids to run around.

It’s important to note that you need an entry ticket to Hampton Court Palace to visit this playground. Additionally, playground admission is first-come, first-served, so there might be a line.

Getting there: More travel time is involved in getting to this playground than the others on this list. The travel time is about an hour from central London if you take the train.

What to know: This playground can be closed during the winter months. Pre-book tickets for the palace and check the Magic Garden website in advance. This playground has sand and a water feature/splash pad, so bring a change of clothes. Entrance to Hampton Court Palace is £26.30 – £29.00 for adults, £13.10 – £14.50 for children between 6-17. Kids 5 and under are free. There are Quiet Sessions aimed at families with children who have autism or sensory needs.

What we like about the Magic Garden

The Magic Garden is in a separate gated area, and only adults with children can enter. Once inside, there is a cafe with outdoor seating, Wi-Fi, and bathrooms.

There is so much to explore at Hampton Court Palace beyond this epic playground. If your children use a stroller, I recommend going to the playground first, and once they are tired, let them nap in the stroller while you explore the palace and the gardens.

The Children’s Garden at Kew Gardens

The Best Playgrounds in London: The Children's Garden at Kew Gardens

Like the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace, entry to this playground is included with your ticket. The Magic Garden’s spaces are inspired by the elements: earth, air, water, and sun. Within these spaces, you will find mini trampolines, flower sculptures, climbing areas, hammocks, and a 4-meter-high canopy walk.

Getting there: Take the Overground to the Kew Gardens station.

What to know: Entrance to Kew Gardens is £40.00 for a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children), £17.00 for adults, £5.00 for children 4-15 years old. No pre-booking is required for the Children’s Garden and there are Quiet Sessions available.

What we like about the Children’s Garden:

The Children’s Garden is a gated area within Kew Gardens. There are different garden-inspired play areas and grassy spaces for lounging or picnicking. Visiting this playground is a great bonus to a day at Kew Gardens.

Discover Children’s Story Centre

The Best Playgrounds in London: Discover Children Story Centre

I can’t stop raving about this incredible indoor/outdoor play space for young children in Stratford. There is a large outdoor playground in addition to two floors or play areas inside. There is a cafe and plenty of bathrooms on-site.

Getting there: Take the Jubilee line to Stratford, and it’s a 5-minute walk from there. It might look away on the map, but you can get there in 25 minutes from the Green Park station.

What to know: Make a booking in advance since timeslots fill up. The basic entrance price for the Story Worlds is £10 per person. I recommend booking the special exhibition for £4 more in addition to the Story Worlds entrance ticket. Story Telling sessions are £2.50. We usually spend about 3 hours here.

What we like about the Discover Children’s Story Centre

There is so much to do here. There are craft areas, spaces to sit and read, and play structures to spark the imagination. The Box Rocket exhibition, an immersive experience where children take a box rocket to the plant Nan, was incredible. We love that this is an indoor/outdoor space. It’s the perfect place to go if the weather looks iffy.

Coram’s Field

The Best Playgrounds in London: Coram's Field

Coram’s Field is a park with a few playground areas aimed at different age groups. This playground makes the list because it’s a short walk from the Postal Museum (a must if you have young kids) and my daughter really liked playing here. It doesn’t have the wow-factor that the other playgrounds on this list have, but we spent two hours here.

What to know: The younger children’s area has sand. If you have a toddler and an older child, be aware that they will likely want to be in areas that aren’t near each other. You can’t really stand in one place to watch children playing in different areas.

Getting there: It’s about an 8-minute walk from the Russell Square station on the Piccadilly line. It’s a 7-minute walk from the Postal Museum, which is surprisingly great.

What we like about Coram’s Fields

My daughter loved the zip line, and overall, we were impressed by the amount of things to do here.

Hobbledown Heath

Hobbledown Heath is London’s largest adventure playground. In addition to a massive outdoor play area with climbing structures and play villages, there is also an indoor play space, and farm and zoo animals.

What to know: Tickets are required and they cost between £12 and £21 per person. Tickets are required for all visitors, including adults, the only exception is children under the age of 2.

Getting there: This playground is in Hounslow, it’s over an hour away from the center of London via the Tube, but, it’s just 8 minutes drive from Heathrow.

Read More About Traveling in London with Children:

London Itinerary for Kids
Taking the Underground with a Toddler
Best Toddler Activities in London
Things to Do in London with Kids

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A detailed guide to the Best Playgrounds in London. These are the ultimate places for children to explore and play.

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