Chelsea is one of the most toddler friendly places in central London to spend a day in. Chelsea offers a charming and varied day out for all kinds. If you want culture there is the Saatchi Gallery, history buffs can enjoy the National Army Museum, while shoppers can peruse King's Road and Peter Jones for London shopping.
Here are my eight ideas for mum's, dad's and toddlers to keep busy in Chelsea during the summer.
1. Duke of York Square
If the weather is fine, Duke of York Square (pictured) is an excellent place to amuse toddlers while you enjoy a coffee or just want to let the kids out for a wander.
In the summer, when there is no hosepipe ban, the Duke of York Square is filled with small shoots of water for children to run through. A three year old can easily kill and hour there while an adult wanders through the boutiques or the Saatchi Gallery. You can always come mid-week, during term time and use the playgrounds as a toddler diversion while adults take turns exploring Chelsea.
2. The Saatchi Gallery
The Saatchi Gallery on Duke of York Quare is entirely step-free and a nice gallery to take children to, considering none of the exhibits are pitched for children. The staff are warm and welcoming to children and I have not yet checked out the changing facilities. This museum is free.
3. The National Army Museum and Kids Zone
If you come to Chelsea on a wet day, come here, regardless if you are a historian. Inside the muesum is the newly renovated and best indoor play space in London, the kids zone.
The cost is £2.50 per child over 1 year of age. Each hour-long session has limited entry, so there is a slight gamble that you could show up for the timed entry and it is filled, but they will sell you a ticket to the next session. Session times begin at: 10am, 11:20am, 12:30pm, 1:45pm, 3:00pm and 4:15pm.
The Kids Zone is set in a large room, big enough for children to run around and burn off some energy. There is an enormous climbing frame that wraps around the room, with great slides, obstacles, tunnels, rope bridges, all safe and with clear sight lines to see any struggling children. There is a large kitchen, book, and colouring area and a separate baby area filled with large cushions for crawlers to explore in safety.
If you are not able to make a session, go right on into the museum, there are loads of interesting, interactive exhibits like a model trench, the Underground as a bomb shelter, Burmese swamps and more. Young and old alike will enjoy the main part of the museum.
As a bonus, outside the museum
are picnic tables for you to bring your own lunch and eat outdoors.
4. St. Luke’s Garden’s Playground
Refurbished last summer, the playground has several picnic tables and benches for adults, great climbing frames for both little and bigger children, swings and other interesting play equipment. The playground is completely enclosed with new toilets, to be opened very shortly, for both children and adults.
There are two gates to enter and leave the playground at opposite ends. In addition to the playground are the lovely manicured gardens and beyond the football pitches are these really fun climbing rocks.
5. Peter Jones
In wet weather, Peter Jones can save the day.
The toys, children’s clothes, nursery and pushchairs, and a nice family toilet and feeding room is located on the third floor. On the sixth floor there is a somewhat child friendly restaurant. They welcome children, have loads of high chairs and great changing facilities. The drawback is its cafeteria style dining, so you really need a second set of hands if you have two children. The building is entirely step-free, but the lifts get really busy on the weekends.
6. Battersea Park
Just down Oakley Street, over The Albert Bridge is the expansive and beautiful Battersea Park. There are manicured gardens, the zoo, pagoda, boat hire, Gondala Café with pond-side picnic table dining and loads of high chairs, Pump House Gallery and an adventure playground open weekdays for older children and a lovely, regular playground open daily. Also on the weekdays is a 1 O’clock club (a well-resourced, amazing playgroup with riding toys and a climbing frame) located next to the playgrounds, free to the under fives.
If you come mid-week, use one of the playgroups as a stopping point for the little ones to have a play.
7. Chelsea Physic Garden
Amazing gardens which are interestingly a museum of plants. It's right near the National Army Museum and Royal Hospital too.
8. Royal Hospital Chelsea
Amazing grounds and free tours available of the Wren building and unique history of the pensioners.
This guest post by Laura Vogel, a local mum of two and publisher of London-baby.com, a local parent's guide to free and affordable activities for babies, toddlers and young children in London.