Nestled in the Loop of the River Thames at Barnes, the London Wetland Centre is 100 acre (40 hectare) wetland reserve, which is home to wild ducks, wading birds butterflies, bats, amphibians, otters and water voles; as well as a collection of water birds from around the world. Lakes, ponds, meadows and gardens are accessed through an extensive network of paths.
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:
A good day out for the whole family – we visited with grandparents, toddler and newborn. Easy to navigate trails wind through the various habitats and are easily accessible with a pushchair. The otter feeding is one activity not to miss. The adventure playground is great fun offering new twists on the usual playground equipment. The wet play area (under construction on our visit) looked great for sunny days. The interactive water games in the Discovery Centre were enjoyed by adults and child alike.
Address: Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, London, SW13 9WT.
Playground: Yes, a large outdoor adventure playground called ‘Explore’ which offers zip wires to swoop down, climbing walls to scale, water vole tunnels to explore and a fun water game area that will leave your child soaking wet.
Cafe: Yes, the café offers a good range of food from sandwiches and cakes to hot meals, as well as a children’s lunch box, which comes with a free animal mask. It is worth turning up early for lunch as the café gets very busy and service was slow on our visit. The café was like a sauna in early spring sunshine; so on warm days, it is worth bagging an outside seat with the lakeside view if you can. The visitor centre has a limited number of toilets although there is another block adjacent to the playground.
Toilets: Yes, The visitor centre has a limited number of toilets although there is another block adjacent to the playground. Wheelchair accessible toilets with baby change available.
Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: Yes, easily accessible with our pushchair. Lots of other accessible facilities – see here – http://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/london/plan-your-visit/accessibility/
Parking: Lots of free parking available.
Train: Barnes rail station is just 25 minutes from Waterloo or 10 minutes from Clapham Junction. It is then a 15 minute walk to the wetland centre (or 5 minutes by buses 72 or 33). You can also alight at Barnes Bridge station then walk through Barnes village (about a 15 minute walk) or catch a 209 bus (alight at the bus stop opposite the Red Lion pub, which is approximately 150 metres from the Centre).
Bus: 72, 33, 209.
Phone: 020 8409 4400.
Email: [email protected].
The Centre includes six hides, an adventure playground, a Discovery Centre full of interactive and educational activities, lots of places to picnic and a café with an outdoor terrace.
Review by Katya Wilde