Exploring London's Parks with Kids

As I said yesterday, we spent a couple of days in London last weekend, primarily in the parks.  London is rich in open spaces and green lungs, which are always lovely to explore.  I don't think we visited at all last spring/summer, so the girls were very excited to be back this year.

St James's Park was our first stop where the pelicans were delighted to pose for photos. Resident for over 400 years, this beautiful birds are just wonderful. We spotted lots of other birds, and chatted to lots of dogs and their owners, a favourite pastime wherever we go!

The resident heron was doing his usual rounds, but not willing to sit still for long.  This was the best shot I managed.

This Egyptian goose was more willing to stand still, and close though.

We met my dear friend Charlotte, ex-Moscow colleague, near the cute little Duck Island Cottage, once the home of the park's bird keeper, now offices for the park.  The pretty gardens are always fantastically productive and lovely to explore.

We moved on to lunch, where we were joined by some pretty Greylag geese, and the ubiquitous pigeons, of course.  There are several picnic benches inside the playground, and a few just outside.  The ideal place to stop for a break, with coffee stall nearby and loos for the children.

The playground is great, with sand pit, climbing frames, swings and slides.  Tatiana loved the musical play mat.

From there we walked on via Buckingham Palace to Green Park, a much greener (of course) more open space.  No water here, more open space, more room to run around, and at the weekend less people than the other parks.

The girls loved running, exploring, finding flowers, making potions, and being less restricted than they had been on the more conservative paths of St James's Park.

Our final visit on Sunday was to Hyde Park, admiring the flower beds and gardens and wandering from formal planting and landscaping through to the more naturalistic areas in the centre of the park.  Not so many photos here, it rained.

We woke on Monday morning to views of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and couldn't wait to get out there in the sunshine!  Once we were in the park there were dogs everywhere you looked, much to the girls' delight.  We spent ages throwing balls and sticks and chatting to dogs large and small, then headed towards the Serpentine.

The geese, swans, coots and pigeons had the remains of the previous day's picnic, and then these lovely little starlings appeared so we rustled up a few more crumbs.

Further through the park there were more dogs, fairy doors to find and adventures to tell on the way to the museums.

At the bottom of the park, we spent a while examining the Albert Memorial, that immense emblem and celebration of empire.  Lara was interested in the history and symbolism of it, but a little horrified at the subjugation of so many people across the world.

Grass, dogs, birds and monuments, which park do you like best?

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