Where are the best splash parks in Central London?
On a nice summer day Central London can be a stuffy place to be - but thankfully there are a fair few splash parks and play fountains dotted about! These are always really popular with kids and no harm done if an adult cools down in them a bit too.
Here are where you can find the best splash pools and water play areas in Central London. I've added the location, post code, and also a suggestion on the closest place to get food and a change of clothes for kids. I have been caught out a few too many times with the joy of splashing and lack of forethought into what comes after, and for sure I'm not the only one. So hopefully this will help. I've also added a quick suggestion for other fun things to do near by, if applicable.
What are the best splash pools and play fountains in Central London?
There are a fair few places to visit in Central London. Some are tiny, some rather large. Some close to other attractions and others hidden and more of a local gem. I won't be able to double check that all of these are in operation as dates and times vary, so please do check the links for latest information on have they been turned on and what time they are on. They are usually turned on around June, but some may be as late as end of July. Typically on all days, from 9AM to 6PM, but times do vary.
Granary Square Fountains, Kings Cross
Granary Square at Kings Cross is a fantastic place for kids. These are large play fountains, and plenty of space for kids to frolic in. There are often other activities at Kings Cross Coal Drops Yard too, such as free outdoor cinema and plenty of restaurants to eat out in too.
- Check out Granary Square at Kings Cross
- Location: N1C 4AA
- Closest supermarket for food: Waitrose at Kings Cross
- Closest change of clothes: Not much for kids, and expensive - your best bet is Nike
- Other things to do nearby: Events listed here, but I'd definitely recommend the outdoors cinema, and the many food and local design / craft markets. Or walk by the canal, enjoy the canal boats and pop by the small floating book boat. Harry Potter enthusiasts will also love visiting Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross Station.
Merchant Square The Fountain Maze, Paddington
Merchant Square Fountains at Paddington is another splash park located fairly centrally in London. Lots of places to eat and drink around Paddington, and since it is by the canal it is fun to watch the boats and wildlife too.
- Check out Merchant Square The Fountain Maze information
- Location: W2 1AS
- Closest supermarket for food: Mark & Spencers Food Hall
- Closest change of clothes: Marks and Spencers department store by Edgware Road Station
- Other things to do nearby: You could walk to Hyde Park, or go visit The Sherlock Holmes Museum, both fairly close by, or even Madame Tussauds! Personally, I'd enjoy either the many events that are held at Merchant Square, or watch the boats and wildlife on the canals and maybe visit the floating park.
Somerset House Fountains, Strand
The Edmond J. Safra Fountain at Somerset House, Strand is a beauty. A massive beauty and right smack bang central. These are really fun to run through, and have max splashability. There are often various exhibitions, and occasionally other events at the Somerset House, but these tend to be more adult oriented. For more kid friendly fun you can stroll over to Covent Garden, and enjoy the street performers or walk down to Thames and enjoy the scenery.
- Check out the Edmond J. Safra Fountain at Somerset House here
- Location: WC2R 1LA
- Closest supermarket for food: Tesco Express right around the corner
- Closest change of clothes: Mountain Warehouse on Strand
- Other things to do nearby: Enjoy scenery at Thames, watch street performers at Covent Garden, or visit London Transport Museum.
John Madejski Garden at Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington
This splash pool, a large oval pool and some jets, is located in the outside area of Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington. Combine some history and culture with a splash, what could be better! Currently no pre-booking required for this museum, so easy place to visit.
- Check out the history of the John Madejski Garden here
- Location: SW7 2RL
- Closest supermarket for food: Tesco Express by South Kensington Station
- Closest change of clothes: Not really a shopping area, so the best bet are museum shops I'm afraid! Science Museum and Natural History Museum usually have lots of T-shirts at least available.
- Other things to do nearby: V&A Museum is more adult-oriented although they do have family activities too! National History Museum and Science Museum are also practically next door, and are usually more fun for younger kids. Or you could walk up to Harrods, which is a nice place to visit too.
Appearing Rooms at Southbank Centre, South Bank
Jeppe Hein's Appearing Rooms fountain at South Bank, right by the Southbank Centre, is a popular splash play area for kids. These watery rooms made from jets appear and disappear, splashing kids in the process. Not a huge area, but fun. Plenty of restaurants to visit, as well as other entertainment at South Bank. There is often a nice food market at the back of Southbank Centre, where food array is varied, interesting and delicious, albeit on the expensive side.
- Check out Jeppe Hein's Appearing Rooms fountain here
- Location: SE1 8XX
- Closest supermarket for food: Sainsbury's Local by Waterloo
- Closest closest change of clothes: Nothing much around I'm afraid! It is either Joules at Waterloo Station or Mountain Warehouse on Strand - you might find some t-shirts inside the Southbank Centre shop too.
- Other things to do nearby: Visit Southbank Centre - they often have various events on. In addition, you could see the street performers and skaters on South Bank, enjoy views on the Thames, and walk along South Bank, even to the next set of splash play area at London Bridge! Jubilee Gardens is a nice play park for kids too, with climbing features.
London Bridge Play Fountains, London Bridge
Brilliant views to Tower Bridge, Tower of London, and HMS Belfast. Really lovely place to visit, plenty of places to eat out, you could even pop by the famous Borough Market for lunch.
- Link to Granary Square information
- Location: SE1 2AF
- Closest supermarket for food: Tesco Express by Tooley Street
- Closest closest change of clothes: Not much in the selection of clothes, but you could try Bermondsey Fayre
- Other things to do nearby: So much! See HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge, Shard, Tower of London, Borough Market. The Old Operating Theatre and the London Tombs appeal to older kids.
Bloomsbury Square Gardens play fountain, Russell Square
Russell Square play fountains are tiny, but quite a nice little local attraction if you happen to be in the area. Very close to British Museum and right next to Russell Square Station, so quite convenient. This is a nice, albeit a tiny and a busy park, often filled with students, but conveniently located close to Brunswick Shopping Centre, that has a selection of restaurants and coffee shops. There are apparently now even open air chess boards.
- Location: WC1A 2RJ
- Closest supermarket for food: Tesco Express by the station
- Closest change of clothes: Sadly Brunswick Centre doesn't seem to have shops for kids clothes anymore, so the closest would be British Museum shop
- Other things to do nearby: Visit the British Museum, Postal Museum or Foundling Museum. Coram's Field playground nearby also has splash park.
Leicester Square Gardens, Leicester Square
So so central, and so so much fun. There are lots of things happening here, and Leicester Square often has fun events happening too, so worth keeping an eye on their events page.
- Check out Leicester Square Gardens information
- Location: WC2H 7DX
- Closest supermarket for food: This is not a great place for supermarkets, but Japan Centre is quite good for snacks, and otherwise there is Burger King and McDonald's within view from the fountains
- Closest change of clothes: M&M's World right across the square - they have so much variety for all ages!
- Other things to do nearby: Visit flagship stores such as M&M's World or Lego, or The National Gallery for some culture. Trafalgar Square, SoHo and Chinese restaurants, and Covent Garden with it's many street performers are both just around the corner.
There are other water play and splash park areas too, but for various reasons (size, uncertainty, cost, water play only etc) didn't make a list. They might be worth visiting if you are near the area and they are:
- Coram's Fields (great play park near Russell Square Station, you are not allowed to enter without a child so no parent swaps I'm afraid!)
- Britannia Leisure Centre, Hackney (close to Haggerston and Old Street, indoors and booking required - looks like great fun)
- Diana Memorial Fountain (Hyde Park, you can dip your feet in, but not play in or walk on it).
- Causton Street Playground (close to Tate Britain, small)
- King Square Gardens (close to Old Street, small)
- Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House Courtyard (close to Piccadilly Circus, but I'm not sure if the play fountains are in operation anymore)
- Gloucester Gate Playground (close to London Zoo, not a splash park but has water play features)
- Elephant and Castle Elephant Springs (Elephant & Castle Station, not exactly central but a short bus ride from Waterloo, beautiful natural play area)
- London Zoo Animal Adventure play park (tickets to London Zoo required)
Any other parks I should add? Or did I miss any vital piece of information?
You might also like: 11 things to do with toddlers in summer London
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