Chances are if you’re visiting London for a short-break with the rest of your family, at some point during your stay, you’re going to have to truly indulge your littles ones; there’s only so many museums, galleries and sundry other attractions you’ll be able to drag them around. So what does this mean? Why, setting aside a lunchtime or afternoon for one of the fine parks and/ or playgrounds the capital offers, of course – and if you’re staying in accommodation in Chelsea London, you’re spoilt for nearby options …
(Ilchester Place W8 6LU)
If you’re looking for a truly glorious and elegant park in which to spend an afternoon with the little ones – one that’s just as satisfying for parents as well as kids – then look no further than Holland Park. Comprising a total 22 hectares/ 54 acres, this glorious public park (not to be confused with the nearby street of the same name and the overall district in which both of them are found) contains a café, a full-out restaurant, an orangery, a giant chess set, a cricket pitch, tennis courts, two Japanese gardens (the exquisite Kyoto Garden and the recently established Fukushima Memorial Garden), a children’s playground (with a giant seesaw and a mini-climbing wall) and all manner of flora and fauna, including squirrels and peacocks.
KIDS Chelsea Adventure Playground
(Royal Hospital Grounds, Royal Hospital Road SW3 4SR)
A recently opened playground that truly is designed to allow children to indulge their imaginations and to simply play, this venue – established by the local council primarily for the children (and, to a lesser extent, the parents) of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – really does offer up everything.
For it features not just a generously-sized play area but also a pirate ship, a sports trampoline, a nest-swing, all manner of bikes and a whole series of superb play structures for the little tykes. Moreover, for when it’s too rainy and/ or cold outside, an inside area is where you’ll find a soft play area, a ball pool, arts and crafts workshops, a chill-out zone and a quiet room, as well as a well-equipped kitchen. It’s worth noting too that the whole area’s securely fenced off from the outside world. A word to the wise, though; if you’ve made your base one of the many Chelsea hotels and wish your kids to attend the playground, you’re advised to contact the playground’s operators.
Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground
(Kensington Gardens W2 2UH)
With the intention of ensuring the late Princess Diana’s legacy would, indeed, be love and the opportunity for kids to be kids (and just be able to *play*), the Memorial Playground that bears her name in Kensington Gardens is, for sure, rather a magical place in rather a magical park. Fittingly, its main features are inspired by JM Barrie’s tales of Peter Pan and Neverland (the author was an often frequenter of the Gardens as he lived very nearby) and include, in a giant sand pit, a wooden pirate ship to scramble all over, tepees to play in and around, a sensory trail (whose aim is to bring both less-able and able-bodied kids together in play) and further toys and sculptures dotted about here, there and everywhere to inspire play – as well as a generous helping of seating for young and old alike.
Both tranquil and indulgent at the same time, this playground (set in the rich green setting of the Gardens, so ideal for families staying at London hotels near Chelsea) is enjoyed by as many as 1 million children every year – yes, really! Further features include an on-site restaurant, snack vendors, toilets and baby-changing facilities, nearby parking (limited) and picnicking options but, take note, in the spring and summer months waiting times for entry can range between 15 minutes and a full hour.