If you’re looking for a way to escape the noisy city, whilst avoiding the crowds of Hyde Park, there are plenty of other parks and green spaces in London well worth a visit. Down in South West London on the south bank of the River Thames lies one of my favourite places, Battersea Park.
The beautiful park, which was opened by Queen Victoria in 1858, has plenty more to do than just sitting on the grass on a sunny day.
With a boating lake, duck pond, tennis courts, running track, bike hire, cafes and Battersea Park Zoo, this London park has a lot to offer everyone. Battersea Park is also full of culture and history, such as the large Buddhist Peace Pagoda overlooking the Thames.
No matter what time of year this park is a beautiful place to visit and there will always be something to do.
Here’s a full breakdown of everything to see and do in Battersea Park:
The Peace Pergola:
Perhaps the most iconic structure in Battersea Park, The Peace Pergola was a gift to London in 1984 from the Venerable Nichidatsu Fuji (aka ‘Guruji’), founder of the Japanese Buddhist movement, Nipponzan Myohoji. The Peace Pergola is a shrine to peace following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Pergola even has its own monk, Reverend Gyoro Nagase, who has lived in a converted temple in the Old English Garden since the Pergola was first built and takes care of the structure every single day.
On the 9th August each year, a Floating Lantern ceremony takes place at dusk on the Thames next to the Pergola to commemorate the victims of the Nagasaki bombing.
The Old English Garden:
There are plenty of beautiful green spaces and gardens in Battersea Park, however, one of my favourites has to be the Old English Garden.
The Old English Garden is a floral garden which was regenerated around 7 years ago with funding from Fragrance brand Jo Malone and help from Chelsea Flower Show medal winner Sarah Price. The upkeep of the garden is now done by Thrive, “a national charity working to help people living with a disability or mental ill health transform their lives through gardening.”
The old Victorian covered bandstand is the centre of Battersea Park where all of the pathways meet. The bandstand is used throughout the year for open-air events such as live music and fairs. You can now even get married at the bandstand!
Hire a Bike:
London Recumbents offer cycle hire in Battersea Park, close to the zoo and Peace Pergola. Cycling is not only a great method of transport for exploring the full 200-acres of the huge riverside park but is also a fun activity on its own thanks to the unique recumbent bikes available to hire. Recumbent bikes are a style of bike where riders are in a laid-back reclining position and are great fun for both adults and children.
Battersea Park Zoo:
Battersea Park Zoo is a small children’s zoo located inside of Battersea Park itself, close to the Chelsea Gate entrance. The zoo is home to multiple species of mammals, reptiles and birds, including lemur, monkeys, meerkats, chinchillas, bearded dragons and many farmyard animals.
Both children and adults can enjoy watching the animals play and observe the feedings, while also making the most of the zoo’s other facilities such as picnic and children’s play areas, the sandpit, pirate ship, children’s rides and zoo cafes.
As well as being a fun place to visit, Battersea Park Zoo also places great importance on conservation and regularly holds workshops in conjunction with the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) to ensure that young visitors have the opportunity to learn about British wildlife and the dangers facing it. Make sure to head to the education and events cabins during your visit to find out what’s on.
Battersea Park Zoo prices: Adults £9.50, Children £7.50.
Battersea Park Boating Lake:
In the south-east corner of Battersea Park sits a large boating lake. Bluebird Boats has a fleet of rowing boats and pedalos, each holding up to 5 people, which can be hired on an hourly basis to take out on the lake.
Much quieter than other boating spots in London, Battersea Park boating lake is perfect for those wanting to go on a leisurely summer’s row in a beautiful nature-filled park. Plus make sure to keep an eye out for the many birds in and around the lake.
The Boating Lake is open during school holidays, public holidays and all weekends between Easter and the end of September.
Boating lake prices per person per hour: Adult £8, Child £4, Family £20.
Putt in the Park Mini-Golf:
Putt in the Park is an outdoor miniature golf course. The course is fun yet challenging, with uneven ground, water traps and plenty of obstacles to keep players of all ages entertained.
The Battersea Park mini-golf course also has its own on-site restaurant serving drinks, snacks and delicious wood-fired pizza. The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating so is a perfect lunch spot all year round.
Put in the Park prices: Adults £10, Children £8, Family £32.
Go-Ape Battersea Park:
If mini-golf is a little too calm for you, how about climbing around in the trees above the course instead? Go-Ape Battersea Park is the well known high ropes company’s most central forest experience in London. The treetop trail of bridges and platforms look down over the mini-golf course and the rest of the Thames-side park from as high as 13.6 meters in the air. While the 50m zip wire will have you speeding across the city quicker than you ever have before.
Go-Ape prices for the full adventure: Adult £36, Child £28.
Looking for more fun things to do in London with kids? Check out ‘50 best things to do in London with children‘!
Pump House Gallery:
The Pump House Gallery is a contemporary visual art gallery on the edge of the lake in Battersea Park. As well as exhibitions, the gallery hosts regular talks and workshops to encourage everyone to get involved with the arts. Their INHOUSE series see different artists come in and run participatory sessions with people of all abilities and even ages.
Battersea Park Tennis Courts:
Battersea Park Millennium Arena is a sporting facility within the park with 19 tennis courts, as well as a running track, 2 artificial grass pitches and a gym. The facility runs everything from tennis lessons to Les Mills fitness classes and yoga. The tennis courts can also be booked individually by non-members for £11.60 per hour.
One of my favourite things about visiting Battersea Park is the amazing view you get of Albert Bridge, one of London’s prettiest bridges. On your way in or out of the park, make sure to look out for the bridge, especially after dark when the whole structure is beautifully illuminated with hundreds of little lights.
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BONUS – Battersea Power Station:
Head out of the park and pop next door to the newly regenerated (well, in the process of being) Battersea Power Station. As well as plenty of cool art and cultural events, the Power Station’s Circus West Village is home to several restaurants, cafes and coffees shops, including Ben’s Canteen, Cinnamon Kitchen, Mother and The CoffeeWorks Project.
Visit Battersea Park:
Battersea Park Car Park
There are three main parking areas; Albert Gate on the West edge of the park, Rosary Gate on the South and Chelsea Gate on the East. The car parks are open from 9-5 every day and costs approx. £2.70 per hour on weekdays or £2.70 for 3 hours on the weekend.
Arriving by train or tube
The Park also has its own overground station (Battersea Park Station) or is a 20 minute walk away from South Kensington or Sloan Square tube stops.
Battersea Park, London, SW11 4NJ.
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