Take a look at Joe Clapson’s top 4 family friendly outdoor places to go in or near SW19 this New Year.
Christmas has been unwrapped, everyone is still feeling festive, full up with turkey and brimming with the anticipation of what New Year will bring.
But cabin fever is also kicking in. After a few days of sitting around eating, drinking, and overloading on sugar, the kids are bouncing off the wall and us parents feel need to catch some air.
It is time to break free and to venture outside. Burst out of your Christmas compartment and embrace the cool, crisp elements.
In Wimbledon we are spoilt for choice when it comes to amazing venues for exciting outdoor activities to quench a thirst for being amongst nature.
Rain or shine, these venues are guaranteed to re-energise and invigorate all of the family…
1. Morden Hall Park
This stunning historic parkland, created in the 19th century is perfect for a Winter stroll, run, or cycle among some inspiring surroundings.
You can meander through the trees, peruse 18th-century statues of Neptune and Venus in the River Wandle, and trip-trap along a boardwalk through the park’s wetlands.
The children’s play area, with wooden castle, swings and a zip-line is top-notch for all ages.
Once you’ve burned off some energy, relax with food and drink at The Potting Shed Café!
Admission is free. More information on the website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/morden-hall-park
2. Deen City Farm
Chickens, cows, ducks, pigs, alpacas, horses… and an aviary can all be found here! This five-acre site is a hidden gem in Colliers Wood and serves as home to around 150 animals.
You can simply wander around the farm, checking out the various animals at play or you can immerse yourself in a meet and greet session, feed some livestock or book a pony ride.
There is also a lovely wild garden to walk through and a great little park for youngsters to go wild in.
Admission is free, with a contributions welcomed. Pony Rides and animal feed is extra. More information on the website: www.deencityfarm.co.uk
3. Cannizaro Park
The stunning ornamental gardens and pleasure grounds were developed from the early 18th Century up to the mid 20th Century and have been used as a public park since 1948.
There are plenty of astonishing facts about the location, including that during the Second World War the park was used for Home Guard exercises and during the Blitz several bombs fell near the main House!
Lose yourself in the formal bedding displays and ornamental trees, admire rolling lawns, peruse bronze sculptures and take a walk along the path through avenues of trees from around the world.
There are a plethora of different styles of gardens, with the formal sunken garden adjacent to the Cannizaro House as a stand out feature.
For aficionados, the collection of azaleas, rhododendrons, and other rare plants are renowned for their beauty and botanical interest.
Admission is free. More information on the website: www.cannizaropark.com/
4. Battersea Zoo
Adventure playgrounds and animals… what’s not to love?
Among a wide variety of animals you can get up close with otters, monkeys, wallabies, wildcats, chameleons, turtles and snakes!
Then let your kids loose to test their skills climbing, balancing, swinging and building in the park.
There are toy tractors and mechanical rides. For the wannabe farmers there is a full-sized tractor and future firefighters can get in the fire engine. Diggers, sand pits, a wooden fort and a life size helicopter will also keep you and the youngsters busy!
Admission: Adults: £9.95, Children aged 2-16: £7.95, under 2: Free. More information on the website: www.batterseaparkzoo.co.uk
Contributor: Joe Clapson | daddyshortlegs.co.uk
Joe Clapson is the author of The Diary of daddyshortlegs: Experiences of a dad at home with his baby – available from Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.