Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground – Review for families

Get all the info a mum needs on one of London's top family parks

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What is it?

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A lively park dedicated to the memory of the late Princess Diana. Find it in Kensington Gardens, a six minute walk from the Science Museum and National History Museum.

Best for:

Toddlers & Preschool / 5 – 8

OK for:

Babies / 9 – 12. Only adults supervising children under 12 will be admitted.

Cost

Free

What’s on offer

Inspired by the tales of Peter Pan, this well-designed playground invites children to explore their imaginations and run free in what is described as a magical space. The park includes a sensory trail and Tigerlily style Teepee huts. The park’s floor is a sandy beach with the centrepiece being a large wooden pirate ship. Your children can get lost in nature, so to speak, with lush trees, plants and grassy areas around the main apparatus. The park is designed to nurture physical, creative and social skills.

The modern design of the park allows for able-bodied and less able-bodied children to play together. Facilities include a healthy café offering a children’s menu, fresh salads, sandwiches and drinks. Toilets and baby-changing facilities are available on site.

It’s also reassuring to know that in a park that gets quite busy, playground staff members are on hand to monitor activities. They’re first aid trained and safety is generally a priority.

Highlights

Ahoy! Unsurprisingly, the large pirate ship, is a major highlight for most children. But it also seems that there are highlights for children tailored to their interests. Some youngsters will enjoy the sensory wall, whilst others will get a kick out of climbing anything and everything they can including the tree house. All in all, it’s an open and social space for children to play games. Even when the rain comes, they’ll love waiting out the storm in the teepee huts.

Younger children will enjoy the under 3’s area and perhaps a gentle ride on the swings. The safe and open nature of the park means that even games not made possible by the apparatus can be fun – such as ‘stuck in the mud’ (maybe call it ‘stuck in the sand’)!

For mum and dad – the picnic benches will be a real highlight. There are plenty of seats for family members who are sadly, too old to engage in playtime, and need a rest spot.

What to watch out for

  • On a busy or sunny day, parents can find that there are long queues to enter the park if it is at full capacity. These queues can last for anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour and there might be a queue all day long.
  • Last entry is 15 minutes before closing time, which varies depending on which season it is. Check the official website for more details.
  • Whilst staff members are on hand to help when required, the park’s website says children must be accompanied at all times. You might want to note that you can’t see your child from every angle of the park without following them around. Sitting in the café or at the picnic benches can help avoid this.
  • The rules mean that children can’t leave without an adult and adults can’t enter without their children. So, keep your kids with you if you want to nip out and come back in.
  • The park is super sandy and therefore, super messy. Plan your children’s (and your own) footwear accordingly.
  • Dogs (aside from assistance dogs) are not permitted in the park, as are glass bottles/jars, ball sports, cycling and rollerblading and of course, smoking and alcohol.

MFM tips:

A bonus highlight is the beautiful royal park Kensington Gardens, which is right on the Memorial Playground’s doorstep. Kensington Gardens is home to the 1912 Peter Pan statue commissioned by J.M. Barrie himself and the Elfin Oak. For adults and art-lovers, it’s also the location of the Serpentine Gallery and royal fans will love the Kensington Palace. Visit the Broadwalk Café or bring a picnic. Make a real day out of the area. 

What the owners say

“A huge wooden pirate ship is the amazing centrepiece of the Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground. Over 950,000 visitors enjoy this free playground each year. This children’s wonderland opened on the 30th June 2000, in memory of the late Princess. Located next to her Kensington Palace home, the playground is a fitting tribute for a Princess who loved the innocence of childhood.”

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Visit the official Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground website

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