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Playgrounds in London

13 Children’s Playgrounds in London Which are Free to Visit in 2024

London is one of the world’s most visited cities, and there are lots of things families can do with their kids. The capital has art galleries, museums, exhibitions, theatres and much more!

However, most kids just want to play on swings, pirate ships, climbing walls and more. Fortunately, London also has numerous playgrounds where kids can play and socialise together.

Looking for the best playgrounds in London? Well we’ve got you covered with our top picks for a free day out!

Key Takeaways

  • Variety of Playgrounds: London offers a wide range of playgrounds for children, each with unique features and attractions. From the historical Coram’s Fields Children’s Playground in Bloomsbury to the unique Biodiversity Playground in Stratford, there’s something for every child’s interest.
  • Free and Accessible: All the playgrounds listed in the blog post are free to visit, making them perfect for a family day out. Many of them are also easily accessible, being close to public transport links.
  • More Than Just Play Areas: These playgrounds are more than just play areas. They often come with additional facilities like cafes, sports areas, and even historical and cultural attractions. This makes them not just fun for children, but also educational and enjoyable for the whole family.

The Best Playgrounds in London

best playgrounds in london

Coram’s Fields Children’s Playground

1. Coram’s Fields Children’s Playground

Location: 93 Guilford St, London WC1N 1DN

Opening times: 8am to 4pm, Monday to Sunday.

Coram’s Fields is a children’s only playground based in Bloomsbury, Camden. Founded in 1936, it was London’s first public playground for children. Open all year round for children under 16 years old, the modern playground occupies seven acres. It has a children’s playground, a pets corner, sandpits, café, nursery and more.

The park sits on the former site of the Foundling Hospital established by Thomas Coram. Today, it’s run by an independent registered charity and still upholds its well-known policy, “no adult can enter without a child.”

The playground has 8 pitches. These pitches are great for schools to host sports days, PE lessons and even corporate games. They also have a variety of spaces available for hire for classes, seminars, children parties, meetings and more. When you hire the venue, they provide chairs, tables, projectors, TVs and even fully fitted kitchens. 

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Jubilee Park & Garden

2. Jubilee Park & Garden

Location: Belvedere Rd, London SE1 7PG

Opening times: Open 24 hours

Explore and relax at the Jubilee Park & Garden. This landscaped park on London’s South Bank has mature trees, an enclosed, adventure playgrounds and lawns. Managed and maintained by the Jubilee Gardens Trust, it’s the former site of the Festival of Britain’s prime building, the Dome of Discovery.

When they dismantled the buildings, they built a car park which remained so until 1977 when they laid a playground for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Today, the park is at the foot of the majestic London Eye where visitors can relax and enjoy the riverside views. This outdoor space has seating edges, granite pathways, flower beds and more than 97 trees. Within the park, you also have a large adventure playground for children aged 11 years and over. It has been voted one of the best Children’s Playgrounds in London. 

The gardens are open 365 days a year, from dawn until dusk. However, authorities may close the gardens at short notice due to maintenance. Since the park is within walking distance from several London Underground stations, you can visit the gardens with ease.

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Holland Park Children’s Playground

3. Holland Park Children’s Playground

Location: 55 Abbotsbury Rd, London W14 8EL

Opening times: 7.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Sunday

Situated west of Kensington Gardens is Holland Park. As the largest park in the Royal Borough, it has 22.5 hectares of gardens, sports areas, and children play facilities. It also has the beautiful Kyoto Garden. The Chamber of Commerce in Kyoto donated this Japanese Garden in 1991. Created in 1992 to celebrate the Japan Festival in London, the park is beautiful with peacocks roaming around and woodland to explore.

Holland Park has a second Japanese garden, Fukushima Memorial Garden, a cricket pitch, a giant chess set, tennis courts and more. The park has no official boundaries. However, it’s bounded by Kensington High Street to the south, Holland Park Avenue to the north, and Holland Road to the west. Composed of tree-lined streets with Victorian houses, there are many cultural tourist attractions. They include the Design Museum, hotels, restaurants and even embassies of several countries.

best playgrounds in london

Kilburn Grange Adventure Park

4. Kilburn Grange Adventure Park

Location: Kilburn Grange Park, London NW6 2JL

Opening times: 7.30am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday.

The Kilburn Grange Adventure Park is a unique playground that serves as a play area for children. Opened in 1913, the 3.2 hectares open space includes a basketball court, outdoor gym, tennis courts and a children’s playground. Originally part of the Grange estate, the play space and park has a network of walkways and treehouses great for kids to explore. The play area is for ages 8 to 13. However, there are smaller play areas, and the park is available for younger children to run around and explore.

The playground also comprises a wobbly bridge and ladders that connect the tree houses and galleon to the ground. This encourages exploration and creative activities among children and young people. In 2011, the Kilburn Grange Adventure Park playground won the International Children’s Making Space Award and RIBA award. The award’s jury chose the playground because it’s unique, exciting and sustainable. Due to its uniqueness, this traditional playground is one of the best playgrounds in London which is a firm favourite with parents.

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Greenwich Park Children’s Playground

5. Greenwich Park Children’s Playground

Location: Greenwich Park London SE10 8XG

Opening times: 10.30am to 4pm, Sunday to Friday.

Greenwich Park is home to London’s most iconic views. Located at the hearft of the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site, it has a mix of 18th-century landscape, and stunning gardens. At the park, there is plenty to do. You can stand on the Prime Meridian, the popular reference point for Greenwich Mean Time. You can also follow the footsteps of kings and queens of England by walking through the ancient tree avenues.

Next, visit the tranquil flower, herb and rose garden as well as explore the wildlife at the Wilderness Deer Park. After a day of exploration, enjoy a snack at the Pavilion Cafe, then head to the Queen’s Orchard. The 0.3 hectares enclosed area has fruits and vegetables dating back to the 1500s. At the south bank of the orchards, there are two ponds – a formal pond close to the vegetable area and an informal pond by the meadow.

At the top of the steep hill overlooking the Queen’s House is the Royal Observatory. It contains the Meridian Courtyard, Flamsteed House and Astronomy Centre. You and your family can visit the Royal Observatory and experience London’s only planetarium.

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Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground

6. Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground

Location: Kensington Palace, Palace Green, Kensington and Chelsea, London, W8 4PZ

Opening times: 10am to 4.45pm

The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground receives over 1 million visitors every year. Opened in June 2000 in memory of the late Princess Diana, the playground is next to her Kensington Palace home. Built as a fitting tribute for the late princess, your kids will love to dash about, play and explore the park. At the centre of the park is a wooden pirate ship. Around the ship, you’ve a sensory trail, a beach, various play sculptures and teepees. All these things are set against a backdrop of plants and trees.

The pirate ship is inspired by the stories of Peter Pan. It provides a magical environment where children can play together. To ensure the security and safety of children, the park only admits adults supervising children aged 12 and up. The staff at the adventure playground will monitor all activities and will be available to provide first aid or any other form of assistance.

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Biodiversity Children’s Playground

7. Biodiversity Children’s Playground

Location: Westfield Stratford City London E20 1EJ

Opening times: 10am to 9pm, Monday to Saturday and 12pm to 6pm on Sundays.

Most people who visit London do not miss a chance to visit the Biodiversity Playground. This pond inspired playground is between the Stratford International Station and Stratford Westfield. Built with mostly wooden equipment, the playground has two wooden ships. One of the ships has a tiny bridge while the other has a slide to the ground. You’ll also find a fish-shaped structure with a walkway to a slide. On the outside, there are climbing frames with rock grips for an adrenaline-filled, adventure playground.

There is a small wooden frog structure with an enclosed ladder that also leads to a small slide and a curved bridge that goes nowhere. Designed for children, kids can interact with the dragonfly, water lilies, folded paper boats and more. The Biodiversity Playground is an interesting park with challenging and fun activities for the kids. However, the playground is in a busy location. As such, your kids will need close supervision. 

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Magic Garden, Hampton Court

8. Magic Garden, Hampton Court (Included with Admission) 

Location: Wilderness Cottage, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU

Opening times: 10am to 5.30pm

Visit the Magic Garden at Hampton Court and explore the secret grotto. Located within part of Henry VIII’s former tiltyard, the playground offers a unique way to explore the history of Hampton Court Palace. Hampton Court Palace is a Grade I listed royal site. Built-in 1514 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, the chief minister of Henry VIII, it’s one of the two surviving palaces that the king owned.

The gardens embrace the rich historical, mythical and cultural legacy of the palace. First and foremost, kids enter through a maze-like passage of mysterious topiary. They then find themselves in the lair of mythical beasts. There are King and Queen towers that offer an excellent vantage point over the area.

However, the crowning “jewel” of the playground is a 25-foot long dragon. It lies sleeping in a giant sandpit. Every hour when the palace strikes, the dragon threatens to wake and breathe fire. A few metres from the dragon is a café where you can order ice cream for your kids as they cool down.

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Children’s Garden, Kew

9. Children’s Garden, Kew

Location: Richmond

Opening times: 8am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday

The Children’s Garden is a fun and interactive play space, where children can jump, run, and climb any plant. Based in a natural setting the size of forty tennis courts, it is children’s garden designed for children from 2 to 12 years. The gardens have 100+ trees spread over the beautiful landscape with adventures and hidden treasures at every corner.

At the heart of the Children’s Garden is a 4 m high canopy walk wrapped around a 200-year-old oak tree. Besides running around and playing, kids can explore the elements at the Earth, Air, Water and Sun gardens. In the Earth Garden, children can weave through a bamboo tunnel and slide down tubes.

At the Air Garden, children can wander a forest with giant pollen spheres, spinning windflowers and bubbles. There are periscopes and hammocks for children to use and gaze at the sky, plus much more.

Garden Rew is one of the most popular Playground’s in London.

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Battersea Park Children’s Play Areas

10. Battersea Park Children’s Play Areas

Location: Battersea Park Wandsworth London SW11 4NJ

Opening times: 8am to 10pm daily

Battersea Park is a 200-acre Victorian park with children play areas, a zoo, and sports facilities. Built between 1854 and 1870, it also has a large lake, ecological areas, trees and a riverside promenade. Prior to 1846, the land where the now battersea park is was known as Battersea fields. This popular duelling spot consisted of low, fertile marshes intersected by ditches and streams. Along the riverside from the fields were wharves and industries, including a lime kiln, copper works, chemical works and more.

Today, the park is a children’s playground. At its centre is Pump House Gallery, a four-storey Grade II listed Victorian tower. The park is also the site of the London Peace Pagoda that a Buddhist monk looks after daily. Along the eastern edge of the park is a narrow strip designated as a local nature reserve. This strip is home to a variety of woodland bird species, butterflies, several stag beetles and other species.

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Paddington Recreation Ground

11. Paddington Recreation Ground

Location: Randolph Ave, London W9 1PD

Opening times: 7am to 8.50pm, Monday to Friday, 8am to 7.50pm, Saturday and Sunday

Just north of Paddington is Paddington Recreation Ground, a 27-acre park with a variety of facilities for you and your family to enjoy. As the largest parkland located within the City of Westminster, it attracts more than 1.5 million visitors who visit for its green space value. As the earliest park of its kind in London, Paddington Recreation Ground was first used for recreational purposes in 1860. Today, it has thirteen tennis courts, two artificial turf pitches, a 400 m athletics track and children play areas.

It also has a water-based hockey pitch, cricket nets, environmental and woodland play area, bandstand and several gardens. At the park’s centre stands a traditional 19th-century pavilion that overlooks the cricket pitch. This pavilion house is a health and fitness centre operated by Everyone Active. At the children’s play area, you’ll find musical instruments, a tunnel, a train, and a streamliner. However, the crowning glory is the string of pastel-coloured playhouses that resemble terrace houses.

Paddington Recreation Ground is one of the best Playground’s in London.

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St James Park Children’s Playground

12. St James Park Children’s Playground

Location: St James Park London SW1A 2BJ

Opening times: 7am to 10pm daily

St James Park is one of the oldest royal parks. This charming parkland covers an area of nearly 57 acres. As one of the eight Royal Parks, St James Park is famous for its flower beds. They are a familiar backdrop for state visits, trooping the colour and other occasions.

The park features a large lake that’s a sanctuary for wildlife. You can find ducks, swans, geese and even pelicans. Did you know that pelicans lived in St James Park for more than 400 years? Originally, the pelicans were a gift to King Charles II from the Russian Ambassador. Today, they are a part of the wildlife in play parks.

The surroundings and play area are covered in shrubbery, flowers, cypresses and other plant life. Besides the gardens, there is a cool sandpit for toddlers, boulders and climbing walls for older kids. If your kids are looking for some adrenaline-fueled activities, this play area is a must-visit.

There is a café in the park where you can grab ice cream and other snacks after a day of exploring the lake and gardens. If you want to experience a relaxing green oasis, visit St James Park.

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Horseferry Children’s Playground

13. Horseferry Children’s Playground

Location: Victoria Tower Gardens 9, Millbank, London SW1P 3JA

Opening times: 8am to 10pm, Monday to Sunday

The Horseferry Playground is a unique play area that features a wide slide, sandpit, dance chimes, and swings. The play area has a water play installation designed to represent the River Thames. In fact, it includes views of the river where landmarks such as the Shard and St Paul’s Cathedral are visible. Besides that, it depicts events such as the Great Fire of London.

Created in 1923, the Horseferry Playground consisted of a large sandpit. Funded by Henry Spicer, a paper merchant, his vision was to create a safe and exciting play area for children to play and socialise which he did.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, London has plenty of free playgrounds for your kids to enjoy. Next time you’re exploring the city, consider adding a visit to one of these play areas to your itinerary!