The great outdoors: family fun in London

Family-friendly outdoor activities in London


Horse riding, ice skating and splashing about in fountains are just some of the activities available within strolling distance of The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – whichever season you visit London. Here is our pick of the best family-friendly outdoor activities in the capital.

Game, set and match

Immerse yourself in the elegance of Chelsea, one of London's chicest neighbourhoods. When you stay with us at The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, you can enjoy leafy views of Cadogan Place and its lush gardens. Here, nature-lovers will find no shortage of entertainment with picnic-perfect lawns, sculptures, a playground and a 'pollinator meadow' to explore. The best part? The park is home to a hidden tennis court reserved for local residents. As our guest, you can ask our Concierge to book a private tennis session.

A regal afternoon

It’s not everyday you get to visit a palace, but Buckingham Palace throws open its doors every summer between July and September. Take a private tour to explore winding, gilded staircases and rooms illuminated with glittering chandeliers.

While you admire the fine art on display, your children will marvel at thrones and a secret door, guarded but ajar, that leads to the royals’ private quarters. You can end your afternoon with a quintessentially British tea and scones in the garden overlooking a lake.

Buckingham Palace in central London


Playing with pirates

Younger children can channel their inner pirate aboard a pirate ship in Diana Memorial Ground, in the northwestern corner of the royal park Kensington Gardens. The playground is a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, who lived in the palace adjacent to the play area.

Inspired by the children’s tale Peter Pan, the playground features a wooden ship and tipis in which little ones can play, a sandy beach and a sensory trail so that children of all ages and abilities can play together.

Diana Memorial Ground

Wild swimmers, runners and global stars

The Serpentine meanders from Kensington Gardens to the heart of Hyde Park, another of London’s eight royal parks. In warmer months, explore the lake on a pedal boat or take a dip in its lido between mid-May and mid-September – you can also watch dedicated lido members swim each morning, including in their legendary Christmas Day race.

Nearby, the Diana Memorial Fountain is designed for toddlers to splash around in. All ages can enjoy horse riding or make the most of the park’s six floodlit tennis courts, padel court, outdoor table tennis tables and floodlit AstroTurf pitch, which is ideal for a football or netball match. Enlightened teenagers may wish to listen to announcements at Speakers’ Corner, an area dedicated to free speech since the 1800s. Multi-generational families meanwhile can unwind by the bowling green.

The park also hosts several annual events, beginning with British Summer Time in July. International stars take to the stage, while free outdoor cinemas and street food stalls create a festival ambience. Come October, you and your family can cheer on runners in the Royal Parks Half Marathon, while November to January the park’s southeastern corner is taken over by Winter Wonderland – home to a Ferris wheel and the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink.

Zoos, bees and trees

Further afield you can visit ZSL London Zoo in Regents’ Park or the zoo in Battersea Park, which also has a boating lake, tennis courts and a GoApe obstacle course hidden among the trees. At Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, your kids will love watching 1,000 LED lights glow in time to the vibrations of real bees that live in the grounds in The Hive, a contemporary art installation. Younger children meanwhile can jump on trampolines, crawl through tunnels and hop on stepping stones in the Children’s Garden.

A meerkat at the zoo in London

Discover more things to do outdoors in London, such as exploring a rose garden, before visiting a family-friendly restaurant.