21 Ways To Escape The Crowds (And Have A Fun Day Out)

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With everything being a little unsure at the moment, it's hard to know how best to spend your time and your family's health and happiness must come first. If you're lucky enough not to be in quarantine but are still wanting to avoid crowds and enclosed spaces, there's tonnes of days out with kids in and around London where you can soak up some much-needed fresh air, clear your head and let the little ones burn off excess energy. Have a read below to find the best outdoor activities for kids near you.

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Highgate Wood

escape to highgate wood

Highgate's 28 hectares of ancient woodland will certainly make you feel like you've escaped the city's hustle and bustle. Discover magical woodland trails complete with intricately carved tree-trunks, spot special beetles and bugs on their guided nature walks, and get active in the awesome adventure playground before taking a tea-break at their renowned café. Visit the information centre for all the trail guides you'll need and head to the under 5s shaded area if you have little ones in tow.

Where is it? 429 Archway Rd, Highgate, London N6 4HT

How much to budget for: Free, but welcomes donations as a registered charity.

Don't miss: The playground's rope bridge and zip wire!

Springaling Adventure

escape the crowds

Coming up at Highgate Wood is Sally's Adventure Club - the perfect way for kids to let off some steam if they've been cooped up a bit more than usual. Her magical storytime adventures get the whole family really exploring and appreciating the great outdoors and are always full of songs, silliness, puppets and infectious positivity. Sally is keeping an eye on government guidelines in light of Covid-19 and is going ahead with her adventures in small numbers for now, but be sure to check in with her social media accounts before you venture out.

Where is it? Highgate Wood, Archway Rd, Highgate, London N6 4HT

How much to budget for: Child tickets from £4

Don't miss: Grabbing your map and magnifying glass in search of minibeasts!

Golders Hill Park

golders hill park escape

Escape to North London's gorgeous Hampstead Heath and discover the perfect day out with the kids at this expansive formal park, home to one of London's only free zoos! Situated in the West of Golders Green, Golders Hill Park offers peaceful water gardens, exquisite landscaping, year-round table tennis and tennis courts and a wonderful adventure playground. If you're looking for some animal fun but are concerned about crowds then sneak off to one of London's lesser-known and only free zoos in the heart of this lovely park! Find out all you need to know here.

Where is it? N End Way, London NW3 7HE

How much to budget for: The park is free to enter - just take a fiver to grab some ice cream from their famous neighbouring ice cream parour!

Don't miss: The zoo's Butterfly House

Crystal Palace Park

crystal palace park escape

A bit of a hidden gem in South London, Crystal Palace Park is a local-favourite and one of the most magical places I explored as a toddler. Go on a dinosaur hunt to spot the huge sculptures that lurk amongst the park, get lost in one of London's largest mazes - which has been puzzling visitors since the 1870s! - and visit the eclectic Children's Zoo.

Where is it? Crystal Palace Park, London SE20 8DT

How much to budget for: Free

Don't miss: The life-sized chess board!

Broxbourne Sculpture Trail

day out with kids broxbourne

Head out to Hertfordshire's Broxbourne Woods and discover their 1km easy-access sculpture trail,  a great way to keep those little minds and feet active outside of London. See if the Roman soldier standing guard at this National Nature Reserve will grant you access, then uncover a woodland full of life-sized sculptures and intricately carved seats, all created from natural materials.

Where is it? Broxbourne Woods, 239 Tendring Rd, Harlow CM18 6XU

How much to budget for: Free

Don't miss: Spotting furry friends along the trail

River Wey Walks: Weybridge to New Haw Lock

outdoor activities

Get back to nature and escape to Surrey's countryside with the Weybridge to New Haw Lock walk. Soak up some local history as you meander along the River Wey through unspoilt scenery and gorgeous greenery, learning all about the Wey Navigations. The walk is 5 miles long, dog-friendly and dotted with plenty of family-friendly stops along the way.

Where is it? Dapdune Wharf, Wharf Rd, Guildford GU1 4RR

How much to budget for: Free

Don't miss: The Dapdune Wharf in Guildford where you can spot the last three remaining Wey barges!

Cassiobury Park

fun day out cassiobury park

Watford's largest park offers 190 acres of open green space to breathe in with your little ones. Explore wonderful woodland trails and an eclectic nature reserve, go newt-catching under the Rustic Bridge and cool off in the Splash Park if the sun is shining. One of Cassiobury Park's most-loved features is their miniature railway train, perfect for aleisurely sit down after adrenaline-filled afternoons on trampolines, zipwires, and in its two outdoor gyms. Read all about the park's activities here.

Where is it? Gade Ave, Watford WD18 7LG

How much to budget for: The park is free but bring £1.50 per person for the miniature railway!

Don't miss: 70 species of birds to go bird-watching for!

Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park

outdoor activities for kids

A hidden gem along the South of the River Thames, Greenwich Ecology Park is the perfect place for some peace within the city. Stroll through the freshwater habitat and explore an abundance of wildlife in these calming wetlands nestled in the heart of South London. The park is still open for now and there are plenty of outdoor activities for young children to get involved with, from inquisitive quiz trails and colouring drop-in sessions, but they have cancelled some larger events so be sure to check in with their Facebook group for updates.

Where is it? The Ecology Park Gatehouse, Thames Path, John Harrison Way, London SE10 0QZ

How much to budget for: Free

Don't miss: See what new wildlife and seasonal flowers you can spot!

Thorndon Country Park

escape to a country park

Get out of London and step into a storybook at Essex's tranquil Thorndon Country Park. Wander through the deep dark woods and discover their charming Gruffalo Trail, meeting all your beautifully-carved family favourites amongst these gorgeous ancient woodlands.

Where is it? The Avenue, Warley, Brentwood CM13 3RZ

How much to budget for: Free entry, 50p for a map and fishing from £3

Don't miss: Bird-spotting at Childerditch Pond

Woodlands Farm Trust

escape to woodlands

Get back to basics and enroll as a farmer for the day at Woodlands Farm Trust in Welling. Meet all your farmyard favourites at this 89-acre working city farm, where children can learn all about the process of how we get our food whilst getting familiar with native birds, butterflies and wildflowers in the ancient woodland.

Where is it? 331 Shooters Hill, Welling DA16 3RP

How much to budget for: Free, but relies on donations as a registered charity.

Don't miss: The Stick Man Trail!

Battersea Park

outdoor activities to escape the crowds

Head to Battersea's 200-acre urban jungle for a day of outdoor family fun. Battersea Park offers a wonderful toddler playground, thrilling adventure park, adorable children's zoo, calming boating lake and even a miniature train that the little ones will love!

Where is it? Battersea, London SW11 4NJ

How much to budget for: The park is free but zoo tickets start at £7.95

Don't miss: Clambering upon the pirate ship - if you dare, matey!

Centre For Wildlife Gardening in Peckham

city escape

Peckham's Centre for Wildlife Gardening is one of the best days out for the kids to try something different south of the River Thames. Proud owner of a Green Flag Community award for several years running, this tranquil garden has a range of mini-habitats to explore including four ponds, a woodland copse, a chalk bank, and even a stag beetle sanctuary and insect hotel that little nature dwellers will love.

Where is it? 28 Marsden Rd, London SE15 4EE

How much to budget for: Free, non-profit organization

Don't miss: Recording how many new species you've spotted at the sanctuary!

Tumbling Bay Playground

escape to the olympic park

For the ultimate urban paradise to let off some steam, head to the Tumbling Bay Playground at London's 2012 Olympic home. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park features one of London's best adventure playgrounds complete with wooden treehouses, rickety rope bridges, curious rock pools and thrilling water fountains as well as awesome arts and nature trails the whole family will love. Find out all you need to know about the park in our blog post here!

Where is it? Olympic Park Ave, London E20 1DY

How much to budget for: Free

Don't miss: The sandpit dunes!

Coram's Fields

coram's fields day out

Designed by kids for kids, Coram's Fields is the perfect pit-stop for children of all ages to get some fresh air. As well as a wonderful city farm, the park features various sand-pitted adventure playgrounds each tailored to a different age range so that no one misses out! Set up a picnic in the open fields if it's a balmy day and make the most of the great outdoors.

Where is it? 93 Guilford St, London WC1N 1DN

How much to budget for: Free, charity-run

Don't miss: The duck pond and pets corner!

100 Aker Wood at Aldenham Country Park

family outdoor activity

In need of a distraction? Lose yourself in the nostalgic world of the 100 Aker Wood gang and explore the home of everyone's favourite Silly Old Bear at this Herfordshire country park. See if you can spot some of your favourite characters between games of "Pooh Sticks" at Pooh Bridge, exploring inside Eeyore's Gloomy Place and posting Piglet a letter at the charming wooden mailboxes.

Where is it? Aldenham Rd, Elstree, Borehamwood WD6 3BA

How much to budget for: The car park starts at £4.50

Don't miss: A selfie opportunity with Winnie himself at 2pm daily!

Mile End Park

fun day out at mile end park

Just North of the River Thames, The Children's Play Pavilion at Mile End Park is an urban hidden gem for children in Tower Hamlets. The park's dry river bed provides the perfect sandpit play space to blow off some steam complete with bridges, boats, castles and even water fountains to play in if the spring sun in shining.

Where is it? 110 Locksley St, London E14 7EJ

How much to budget for: Free

Don't miss: The Ecology Lake Complex

Hackney City Farm

city farm escape

City farms are one of the best outdoor activities for kids to get a little slice of country life in the capital. Hackney City Farm is one of our favourites with its tranquil garden, adorable array of farmyard animals and delicious Italian cafe with homegrown veg. This East London community hub makes for a wholesome day of family fun without having to venture into the crowds of central London.

Where is it? 1a Goldsmiths Row, London E2 8QA

How much to budget for: Free, but relies on donations

Don't miss: Mini Farmers Club on Saturday mornings!

Eynsford Ford

escape from london

To get back to Britain's humble roots why not take a trip to this quaint village in Sevenoaks. Situated around a unique ford, it's the perfect place for spot of paddling, newt-fishing and a peaceful picnic on the river bed. Afterwards you can explore the ruins of Eynsford Castle - no kids' day out is complete without a game of 40/40 home, after all!

Where is it? 24 Riverside, Eynsford, Dartford DA4 0AE

How much to budget for: Free

Don't miss: Driving through the ford when the water is covering the crossing!

Waterlow Park

escape to waterlow park

Given to the public as "a garden for the gardenless" by Sir Sydney Waterlow in 1889, Waterlow Park was always intended as a space for city escape. Take a breather in this hidden Highgate gem offering an extensive green lawn, children's adventure playground, woodland trails and three calming lakes to wander around. Waterlow is the perfect city park for some wildlife spotting to help you forget you’re in the heart of North London!

Where is it? Highgate Hill, Highgate, London N6 5HD

How much to budget for: Free

Don't miss: Peeping charming views of the capital between the park's ancient trees.

Godstone Farm

outdoor activities city farm

Get grounded at Godstone Farm with this delightful Surrey staple. Providing family fun for over fourty years, this interactive centre is home to more than 500 animals including all your farmyard favourites that you can make friends with in their supervised holding area! Complete with awesome tractor rides, indoor and outdoor play equipment and an array of family activities in their special play barn, Godstone Farm is a great day out of London that the kids will love. They're currently staying open and have addressed their adjustments to Covid-19 on their website.

Where is it? Farm Limited, Tilburstow Hill Rd, Godstone RH9 8LX

How much to budget for: Children under 2 are £4.10, and tickets for older kids start from £9.25

Don't miss: The Dinosaur Trail!

Enchanted Forest Groombridge

escape to the enchanted forest

If you need to leave the real world behind for a bit, then step into the fantasy of Groombridge's Enchanted Forest. This unique Tunbridge Wells woodland will truly leave the little ones enchanted as they spend the day spotting tiny fairy houses, whispering with totem poles, exploring tipi tents and getting lost within endless labyrinth trails. As one of my most beloved childhood memories, the Enchanted Forest makes for one of the most magical days out with the kids from London.

Where is it? Groombridge Place, Groombridge Hill, Tunbridge Wells TN3 9QG

How much to budget for: Kids' tickets from £8.50

Don't miss: The giant swings!

For more great family activities visit kidadl.com.

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