Hyde Park - Kensington Gardens
Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens combine over 500 acres, smack in the middle of London. Once the exclusive preserve of English kings and queens, both parks have lakes, fountains, playgrounds, statues, and are fun for kids, in any season. Just walking or running around these parks is great, so consider them your backyard while visiting London.
In December, the entire eastern section of Hyde Park is transformed into Winter Wonderland, with large amusement park, carnival midway, food, shows, live music, and Christmas market. Fun for everyone in the family, day and night.
- Any time of year, kids will enjoy the big playground with slides, swings, and climbing structures. The playground is located on the south side of the park, between the Edinburgh and Rutland Gates.
- In summer, rent row boats or pedal boats, and laze on the Serpentine, a large lake created by Queen Caroline in the 18th century. Let the kids do the pedaling. (Boat house to rent the boats is on the north side of The Serpentine.)
- June - Sept., the Lido (south side of the lake) has a charming
children's wading pool
and playground, perfect for toddlers. On a warm summer's afternoon, this a wonderful place for parents and kids alike to relax. There's also an outdoor cafe, and ice cream, lockers and lounge chairs are available.
Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
- If the weather's fine, join lots of other families and kids dabbling their toes in refreshing waters. We just love this fountain, although it's not at all like a traditional fountain. It's a large circle of shallow water, riffling and flowing over textured granite surfaces, like a bubbling mountain stream.
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground
- This is a really good playground with a pirate ship to climb all over and sand play area, tipis to hide in, swings and more. Plus, there's an old-fashioned carousel (ride in the red royal coach), a cafe with snacks, and the old Elfin Oak, carved with fairies.
Peter Pan Statue
- J.M. Barrie lived near Kensington Gardens, and was inspired by his walks in the park when he wrote Peter Pan. Little kids will enjoy a visit to see the statue of Peter Pan. Not only is the statue fun, but the surroundings are lovely - Long Water, fountains and statues around the Italian Gardens, and a playground.
, check out the swans, geese and ducks. The swans are especially lovely.
- Queen Victoria was born in Kensington Palace, and grew up there. You can see her bedroom, where she was awakened with the news that she had become queen at age 18.
Explore King's State Apartments (used for meetings), Queen's apartments - drawing room, dining room, bedroom, pick up a Family Trail brochure, with route through the palace. Outdoors are the gardens, with family events, such as play croquet and other Victorian games, or chocolate bunny hunt in spring.