The whole design is inspired by J.M. Barrie’s stories of Peter Pan and for an older child it certainly will fire up their imaginations as they navigate their way through a wooden pirate ship moored on a beach, crawl around in real teepees, and explore the sensory trail. The sensory trail appealed enormously to our toddlers as indeed did the specific area given over to under 3s which helps when it was as busy as it was today. The boat was way too big for Joseph to enjoy clambering up the masts of course but he pottered onto it to grab a hold of the wheel nonetheless. It’s on two levels and hard work on board for mums! There’s an excellent long winding wobbling bridge behind the ship which is toddler friendly as it’s at an accessible height and not too wobbly! Plenty of green space to picnic in too. On the down side I think timing is possibly everything. We arrived at 10.20 am just after it opened and missed the queues entirely. However, the provision of loos, nappy-changing facilities and a café mean it’s easy to hang out here for hours on end and as a consequence this gated playground can get very busy during holidays and weekends if the weather’s fine like today, with queues around the corner. Mums can get a little prickly too. One mum told my friend that she had been on the slide for long enough and should “consider leaving now as there was a queue to get into the park”. A very peculiar thing to say given the slide had room for several kids and how long someone has been in the park is really none of her business. We shall chalk it up to this particular west london mummy having a bad morning perhaps. I would love to return during the week, when kids are back at school and it is hopefully less busy. It certainly feels like there was more to go back and explore and we spotted a better picnic area for next time. I also fancy taking Joseph for a splash about in the Diana Fountain memorial which is a pleasant 20 minute stroll away through the glorious parkland. I loved the fact that this beautifully designed and imaginative play area was secured making it completely DOG FREE. The play elements are definitely inspired. The west London madness though does remind you how lucky we are in East London. We are miles from the tourists who don’t throng to our excellent play areas after west end shopping, making everything feel mobbed. Though minus the fantastic ship and sensory trails, Victoria Park’s facilities are on a par with this one for toddlers - but I can see how this park comes into it’s own as kids get a little older.
10 day break. Minorca. Warm
Sunshine. Shells to collect, sand to squish your toes into. Pools of sea water to easily wade into and toddler friendly beaches. And an easy breezy flight. One very happy noodle.