Last time we went to Battersea Park was for the Affordable Art Fair about 10 years ago. That’s now established in the cultural diary of the city (and is on again from 15-18 March 2012). The park too is probably established as a weekend jaunt for local families, and for good reason.
But what makes it worth the congested drive up the A3 (which actually wasn’t so bad today!)? In essence, there are a number of interesting focal points for the adults in the party and a fantastic adventure playground for the children.
But then, most of our afternoon was spent playing football, or with the kids playing hide and seek amongst bushes in the sub-tropical gardens. There is a little slope by the Tea Terrace Kiosk where the children played with the ball for ages and the parents had hot drinks and a biscuit.
For children aged 5+ the adventure playground is fabulous. The playground for younger children (right next door) is shiny and new. The adventure playground is in great condition, but avoids shiny in the quest for adventure. I’m too old to be sure, but I think it’s probably “cool”. It’s also safe – one entrance (very high surrounding fences) and a number of stewards dotted around keeping an eye. There’s another drinks kiosk just outside and picnic benches near the way in, to relax whilst the younger ones burn off what remains of their boundless energy.
Next time we will make it a day trip and visit the children’s zoo and the boating lake. Our local friends told us the zoo is quite small, but you can spend a long time there. It has animals like lemurs and meerkats and lots of play areas.
I expect for our day trip we will take a picnic (there are loads of benches in the park, and some are in shelters, should the weather let us down). If that fails I’m told the cafe near the boating lake serves reasonably-priced basic fodder.
And the focal points if the grown ups need a little culture? Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth scuptures, a Japanese pagoda and some interesting Festival of Britain architectural elements.