Diana, Princess of Wales Playground Kensington Gardens

7 May

DSC01885 by you.

Or the pirate ship playground, as it’s known round these parts, is our favourite London playground.  It doesn’t have fancy climbing frames (unless you count the ship), zip slides or trampolines, but what it does have is the ability to capture the imagination of every child who visits.

It is subtly themed around the story of Peter Pan, who lived in Kensington Gardens, but you won’t find Disneyesque branding.  Instead there is a huge ship, which can be climbed all over; tree top walkways; tipis and totem poles; a huge sandy lagoon with a rock island; beautiful planting which is designed for hiding in and crawling through; and that most important ingredient for children’s play, flowing water.

Five things you need to know:

  1. It usually opens at 10am and gets very busy, so you need to arrive early.  Numbers are controlled and if it’s a sunny day, the queues to enter start at about midday.
  2.  It has great security which means that adults can’t enter without a child and children can’t leave without an adult.
  3. It has nice clean loos and and a surprisingly good cafe, serving a variety of foods including decent pizza, proper coffee and of course, ice cream.
  4. Bring a swimming costume and/or a change of clothes for your children as they will get wet. 
  5. Bring receptacles for carrying sand and water and tools for digging.  Last time we visited, about twenty children, including ours, spent a good hour building irrigation channels in the sand.  The only disagreements broke out over the use of water bottles. 

It’s a great place to visit if you love Peter Pan, want a break from museums and palaces, or simply want to see what Londoners get up to with their children.

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