Cheap Family Days Out: South West London

By Zoe Craig Last edited 16 months ago
Cheap Family Days Out: South West London

Whether you're on a budget or just looking to keep costs down, here are some tips for cheap family-friendly fun in south west London.

We're exploring places beyond zone 1 in this series. Also check out our ideas for south east and north west London.

Wimbledon Splash Park. Image via amuminlondon.com

Battersea Arts Centre

Once a month, families take over Battersea Arts Centre for the whole day.

The up-cycled interior of the old Battersea Town Hall provides a perfect environment for five-to-11 year olds to get creative while parents relax in the excellent cafe.

Free activities include music, toy and clothes swaps and face-painting. Art workshops exploring some of the hidden spaces in the Grade II-listed building are also on offer, run by professional artists and there are art packs available to take home.

There's also free entry to the Bees Knees, BAC's play space for under-fives (normally £3 per child) which includes storytelling.

Family Saturdays at Battersea Arts Centre Lavender Hill SW11 5TN happen on the last Saturday of every month 10am-3pm.

Wimbledon Windmill

Head to the Wimbledon Windmill to check out a brilliant little museum dedicated to windmills, rural life, local history and the Scouts. All these fascinating finds are housed in a former working mill, now a Grade II-listed building.

Kids can try their hand at milling some flour of their own using historical methods. There's a saddle stone; a pestle and mortar; and a hand quern — grain is provided.

Once you've explored the windmill, there's the rest of Wimbledon and Putney Common's 1,140 acres of open land with heath, woodland, streams and ponds to have further adventures in.

Wimbledon Windmill Museum, Windmill Road, SW19 5NR. Saturdays: 2pm to 5pm; Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays: 11am to 5pm. Adults £2; Children £1.

Wimbledon Windmill Museum. Photo by stevekeiretsu in the Londonist flickrpool

Merton Abbey Mills

Just next door to Deen City Farm is Merton Abbey Mills, an historic arts village on the river Wandle.

Free live music, a visitor centre, arts and crafts outlets and an array of eateries serving delicious food from around the world mean there's plenty for families to see and do. Don't miss the Wheelhouse pottery gallery and workshop.

There's also a children's theatre on the site: The Colour House Theatre offers kids' shows for as little as £5 a ticket.

Merton Abbey Mills, Watermill Way, SW19 2RD

The gate at Merton Abbey Mills. Image from wikimedia commons

Putt In the Park, Wandsworth

It's not the cheapest suggestion on this list, but there's plenty of family-friendly fun to be had for under £25 at Wandsworth's mini golf course.

Putt In The Park is designed to challenge experts and novices alike, and be suitable for all ages. Enjoy a round of mini golf on the banks of the Thames before And there's no need to book: you can just turn up and play. There's another (slightly pricier) site in Battersea Park too.

Putt in the Park, Wandsworth Park, Putney Bridge Road, SW18 1PP. Monday to Sunday, 9am to dusk. Adults: £8; Kids £6. Family pass: £24

Putt in the Park: family fun with change from £25

Wimbledon Park Splash Park

Take any hot-headed kids to cool off at Wimbledon Park Splash Park.

Located next to the famous tennis club, and not to be confused with Wimbledon Common (famous for its Wombles), Wimbledon Park has a load of fantastic family-friendly treats.

There's crazy golf (a family of four can play a round for about a tenner), an adventure playground, and plenty of open spaces to run around in. Best of all is the Splash Park, a brilliant free space which is sure to entertain the kids for hours this summer.

Wimbledon Park, Home Park Road entrance, SW19 7HU

Wimbledon Park Splash Pool is open from 25 May to 1 September, seven days a week. Free.

Fun in the sun at the Wimbledon Splash Park.

Deen City Farm

There are more than 150 animals to visit at Deen City Farm's five-acre site.

As well as turkeys, chickens, ducks, pigs and sheep, there are more unusual residents to meet: alpacas, canaries, zebra finches and Edna the Barn Owl. Kids will love the small animal encounters, which happen a couple of times a day; and don't miss the chance to feed the pigs.

There are even more special activities planned in school holidays, such as pony rides and craft workshops. You can burn off any excess energy at the nearby Morden Hall Park, a short walk from the farm.

Deen City Farm, 39 Windsor Avenue, Merton Abbey, SW19 2RR. Open 10am to 4.30pm every day except Mondays, all year round. Free.

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Richmond Park

If your kids like big, open spaces, they'll love Richmond Park: the biggest of London's Royal Parks. There's hills, woodland gardens, and grasslands to explore; look out for the 300 deer and 350 fallow deer that live in the park; plus birds, fungi and stag beetles.

Kids will particularly love the two dedicated playgrounds in the park: the Kingston Gate Playground for under-fives, complete with fairy pergola, a tractor and trailer and a hammock; and the Petersham Gate Playground, with sandpit, climbing frame, jumping lily pads, hammock, an "elephant piano" xylophone, and a water play feature.
Richmond Park, Richmond, TW10 5HS

Richmond Park by Chipev via the Londonist flickrpool

Do you have any more recommendations for free and cheap family-friendly things to do in south west London? Let us know in the comments below.

Last Updated 17 May 2016

Nell@PigeonPairandMe

Hobbledown! A city farm/adventure park in Epsom, themed around 'Hobblers': creatures a bit like Hobbits. That would be our recommendation. We went a few years ago - I've heard it's become even better.