14 Ways To Escape The Crowds (And Have A Fun Day Out)

day out to avoid the crowds
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In the midst of things starting to open back up, it's hard to know where we can go and how best to spend your time safely as a family.

If you are still wanting to avoid crowds and enclosed spaces for now, then there's tonnes of days out with kids in and around London where you can soak up some much-needed fresh air, clear your head and let the little ones burn off any built up energy. Have a read below to find the best outdoor activities for kids near you.

All of these updates are from the end of June 2020, but do bear in mind that measures are constantly changing so it's worth checking with locations directly before visiting.

Highgate Wood

escape to highgate wood

Highgate's 28 hectares of ancient woodland will certainly make you feel like you've escaped the city stresses and offers a much needed breath of fresh air. Discover magical woodland trails complete with intricately carved tree-trunks and spot special beetles and bugs on their adventurous nature walks. Please note that due to the coronavirus pandemic, Highgate Wood's cafes, toilets and playgrounds are closed until further notice.

Where is it? 429 Archway Rd, Highgate, London N6 4HT

How much to budget for: Free, but welcomes donations as a registered charity.

Open: 7:30am - 7pm daily.

Golders Hill Park

golders hill park escape

Escape to North London's gorgeous Hampstead Heath and discover the perfect day out with the kids at this expansive formal park. Situated in the West of Golders Green, Golders Hill Park offers peaceful water gardens, exquisite landscaping and year-round tennis courts. In line with current government advice, Golders Hill Butterfly House is closed until further notice. Do keep an eye out for when all of the park's facilities reopen; we for one can't wait to sneak off to one of London's lesser-known and only free zoos in the heart of this lovely park! Plan ahead and find out all you need to know here.

Where is it? N End Way, London NW3 7HE

How much to budget for: Golders Hill Park is free to enter

Crystal Palace Park

crystal palace park escape

A bit of a hidden gem in South London, Crystal Palace Park is a local-favourite and one of the most magical places I explored as a toddler. Go on a dinosaur hunt to spot the huge sculptures that lurk amongst the park and get lost in one of London's largest mazes, which has been puzzling visitors since the 1870s!

Where is it? Crystal Palace Park, London SE20 8DT

How much to budget for: Free

Don't miss: The life-sized chess board!

Broxbourne Sculpture Trail

Head out to Hertfordshire's Broxbourne Woods and discover their 1km easy-access sculpture trail, a great way to keep those little minds and feet active outside of London. See if the Roman soldier standing guard at this National Nature Reserve will grant you access, then uncover a woodland full of life-sized sculptures and intricately carved seats, all created from natural materials.

Where is it? Broxbourne Woods, 239 Tendring Rd, Harlow CM18 6XU

How much to budget for: Free

Don't miss: Spotting furry friends along the trail

River Wey Walks: Weybridge to New Haw Lock

outdoor activities

Get back to nature and escape to Surrey's countryside with the Weybridge to New Haw Lock walk. Soak up some local history as you meander along the River Wey through unspoilt scenery and gorgeous greenery, learning all about the Wey Navigations. The walk is five miles long, dog-friendly and dotted with plenty of viewpoints to stop at along the way.

Where is it? Dapdune Wharf, Wharf Rd, Guildford GU1 4RR

How much to budget for: Free

Don't miss: The Dapdune Wharf in Guildford where you can spot the last three remaining Wey barges!

Cassiobury Park

Watford's largest park offers 190 acres of open green space to breathe in with your little ones. Explore wonderful woodland trails and an eclectic nature reserve or go newt-catching under the Rustic Bridge. Cassiobury Car Park reopened on May 13th and the ground floor toilets at the Hub are open from 9am until 5pm, but the paddling pools and children's play facilities remain closed until further notice. When Cassiobury's famous miniature railway and splash park do open up again, get prepped for visit by reading all about the park's full activities here.

Where is it? Gade Ave, Watford WD18 7LG

How much to budget for: The park is free

Don't miss: 70 species of birds to go bird-watching for!

Thorndon Country Park

Get out of London and step into a storybook at Essex's tranquil Thorndon Country Park. Wander through the deep dark woods and discover their charming Gruffalo Trail, meeting all your beautifully-carved family favourites amongst these gorgeous ancient woodlands.

Where is it? The Avenue, Warley, Brentwood CM13 3RZ

How much to budget for: Free entry

Don't miss: Bird-spotting at Childerditch Pond

Battersea Park

city escape

Head to Battersea's 200-acre urban jungle for a day of outdoor family fun. Battersea Park is home to an adorable children's zoo which has just reopened with a number of safety measures adhering to social distancing guidelines. Their adventure play areas remain closed and zoo keeper talks are still currently suspended, but Battersea Park's toilets have reopened as well as takeaway food and drink from their cafe using cashless payments.

Where is it? Battersea, London SW11 4NJ

How much to budget for: The park is free but zoo tickets start at £7.95

Coram's Fields

outdoor activities for kids

Designed by kids for kids, Coram's Fields is the perfect pit-stop for children of all ages to get some fresh air. The park has been closed over lockdown to serve NHS parking and families of the highest needs, but from June 24th has begun its phased reopening to the public. Coram's Fields is currently open from Wednesday to Sunday only, and from July 27th it will be back to seven days a week. For now the playgrounds and sports facilities remain closed, but you can still set up a picnic in the open fields if it's a balmy day and make the most of the great outdoors.

Where is it? 93 Guilford St, London WC1N 1DN

How much to budget for: Free, charity-run

Don't miss: The duck pond!

100 Aker Wood at Aldenham Country Park

family outdoor activity

In need of a distraction? Lose yourself in the nostalgic world of the 100 Aker Wood gang and explore the home of everyone's favourite Silly Old Bear at this Herfordshire country park. See if you can spot some of your favourite characters between games of "Pooh Sticks" at Pooh Bridge, exploring inside Eeyore's Gloomy Place and posting Piglet a letter at the charming wooden mailboxes.

Where is it? Aldenham Rd, Elstree, Borehamwood WD6 3BA

How much to budget for: The car park starts at £4.50

Eynsford Ford

escape from london

To get back to Britain's humble roots why not take a trip to this quaint village in Sevenoaks. Situated around a unique ford, it's the perfect place for spot of paddling, newt-fishing and a peaceful picnic on the river bed. Afterwards you can explore the open ruins of Eynsford Castle - no kids' day out is complete without a game of 40/40 home, after all!

Where is it? 24 Riverside, Eynsford, Dartford DA4 0AE

How much to budget for: Free

Don't miss: Driving through the ford when the water is covering the crossing!

Waterlow Park

escape to waterlow park

Given to the public as "a garden for the gardenless" by Sir Sydney Waterlow in 1889, Waterlow Park was always intended as a space for city escape. Take a breather in this hidden Highgate gem offering an extensive green lawn, woodland trails and three calming lakes to wander around. Waterlow is the perfect city park for some wildlife spotting to help you forget you’re in the heart of North London!

Where is it? Highgate Hill, Highgate, London N6 5HD

How much to budget for: Free

Don't miss: Peeping charming views of the capital between the park's ancient trees.

Godstone Farm

outdoor activities city farm

Get grounded at Godstone Farm with this delightful Surrey staple that is all set to reopen from July 4th. Providing family fun for over fourty years, this interactive centre is home to more than 500 animals including all your farmyard favourites, making for a great day out of London that the kids will love. Godstone Farm have addressed their opening adjustments to COVID-19 on their website, and request that visitors still keep at least two pigs apart!

Where is it? Farm Limited, Tilburstow Hill Rd, Godstone RH9 8LX

How much to budget for: Children under 2 are £4.10, and tickets for older kids start from £9.25

Don't miss: The Dinosaur Trail!

Enchanted Forest Groombridge

If you need to leave the real world behind for a bit, then step into the fantasy of Groombridge's Enchanted Forest. This unique Tunbridge Wells woodland will truly leave the little ones enchanted as they spend the day spotting tiny fairy houses, whispering with totem poles, exploring tipi tents and getting lost within endless labyrinth trails. As one of my most beloved childhood memories, the Enchanted Forest makes for one of the most magical days out with the kids from London. Groombridge Place is partially reopening from June 22nd using a pre-booking system via their website.

Where is it? Groombridge Place, Groombridge Hill, Tunbridge Wells TN3 9QG

How much to budget for: Kids' tickets from £8.50

Don't miss: The giant swings!

For more great family activities visit kidadl.com.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents. 

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.  

Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong. 

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All prices and product availability were correct at the time of publication.

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