Whether you’re limited on money or just looking to keep costs down, here are some tips for cheap family-friendly fun in south west London.
South London is an area with many different thriving businesses and we’ll be exploring 7 places that are a little less popular in this series.
1. Wimbledon Windmill
Go to the Wimbledon Windmill to check out a brilliant little museum with windmills, rural life, local history and the Scouts. All these fascinating finds are contained in a former working mill, which is now a Grade II-listed building.
Kids can try milling some flour of their own using some old historical methods. You can use a saddle stone; a pestle and mortar; and a hand quern — the grain is provided free of charge.
Once you’re done exploring the windmill, check out the rest of Wimbledon and Putney Common’s 1,140 acres of open land with woodland, streams and ponds to take in.
Wimbledon Windmill Museum address: Windmill Road, SW19 5NR. Saturdays: 2pm to 5pm; Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays: 11am to 5pm.
Price: Adults £2; Children £1.
2. Richmond Park
If your kids like big, open areas, they’ll love Richmond Park which is the largest of London’s Royal Parks. There’s hills, beautiful gardens, and grasslands to explore. Try and find the 300 deer and 350 fallow deer that live in the park; plus birds, beetles and other wildlife.
Children will particularly love the two playgrounds in the park. The Kingston Gate Playground is for under-five year olds and is complete with fairy pergola, a tractor and hammock. The Petersham Gate Playground is complete with sandpit, climbing gym, jumping lily pads, hammock, a xylophone, and a water park feature.
Address:Richmond Park, Richmond, TW10 5HS
3. Merton Abbey Mills
Just across from Deen City Farm is Merton Abbey Mills, which is a historic arts village on the river Wandle.
There is free live music, a visitor centre, arts and crafts outlets and a big selection of eateries serving delicious food from around the world, which means there’s plenty for families to see and participate in. Don’t miss the Wheelhouse pottery gallery and hands on workshop.
There’s even a children’s theatre which is on site: The Colour House Theatre has kids’ shows for as little as £5 a ticket.
Address: Merton Abbey Mills, Watermill Way, SW19 2RD
4. Putt In the Park, Wandsworth
This is not the cheapest option on this list, but there’s plenty of family-friendly activities to be do for under £25 at Wandsworth’s mini golf course.
Putt In The Park is made to challenge experts and novices as well, and be suitable for all ages. Do a round of mini golf on the banks of the Thames and there’s no need to reserve, you can just turn up and play anytime. There’s another more expensive site in Battersea Park too.
Address: Putt in the Park, Wandsworth Park, Putney Bridge Road, SW18 1PP. Monday to Sunday, 9am to dusk.
Price: Adults: £8; Kids £6. Family pass: £24
5. Wimbledon Park Splash Park
Take your kids to cool off at Wimbledon Park Splash Park on those hot summer days.
It is located next to the famous tennis club, and shouldn’t be confused with Wimbledon Common (famous for its Wombles), Wimbledon Park has a ton of fantastic family-friendly activities.
Some things that there is are: crazy golf (a family of four can play a round for about a tenner), an adventure playground, and plenty of fields to run around in. The best feature of all is the Splash Park, which is a brilliant free space which is sure to entertain the kids for hours this summer.
Address: Wimbledon Park, Home Park Road entrance, SW19 7HU
6. Deen City Farm
There are more than 100 animals to visit at Deen City Farm’s five-acre property.
Just some are: turkeys, chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs. There are also more unusual animals to meet like: alpacas, canaries, zebra finches and also a Barn Owl. Young kids will love the small animal adventures, which happen a couple of times a day; and don’t miss the chance to mingle with the pigs.
Address: Deen City Farm, 39 Windsor Avenue, Merton Abbey, SW19 2RR. Open 10am to 4.30pm every day except Mondays, all year round. Free.
7. Battersea Arts Centre
Once a month, families are encouraged to take over Battersea Arts Centre for the whole day.
The fancy interior of the old Battersea Town Hall provides a perfect environment for five-to-11 year olds to have fun while parents relax in the excellent cafe.
Some of the free activities include music, clothes, toy shopping and face-painting. Art workshops exploring some of the hidden spaces in the other building are also an option and are run by professional artists. There are also art packs available to take home.
The Bees Knees, BAC’s play space for under-fives is free (normally £3 per child) which includes storytelling.
Family Saturdays at Battersea Arts Centre Address: Lavender Hill SW11 5TN happen on the last Saturday of every month 10am-3pm.
Overall South West London has a lot of things to do. Whether you want to explore as a tourist or see a part of the city that you haven’t before, there will be something for everyone in South West London.