Mother and daughter in autumn park

It’s a common misconception that cities are noisy, industrial and not at all green and pleasant, isn’t it?

Here are our top five south east London parks for children.

Crystal Palace Park:Thicket Rd, London, SE20 8DT. Home to the actual Crystal Palace, before it burnt down (a couple of the original sphinxes still remain in the park, and you can look at old photos in the very sweet museum). For children there are dinosaurs, the zoo, a maze, and a pretty decent play park. For adults there’s a concert stage, the national sports centre, athletics stadium – where we saw the Olympic torch relay – buggy fit classes and dinosaurs. There’s also a cafe and lots of good pubs in the surrounding areas for when you need something stronger than an Mini Milk. Fantastic for babies, children and adults, this is pretty much the mother of all south east London parks.

Brockwell Park: Norwood Road, SE24 9BJ. Situated in the Herne Hill, this is a big park, with a children’s play area and paddling pool, as well as the gloriously Art Deco Brockwell Lido and lovely Lido Cafe. It’s also home to the Lambeth County Show.

Dulwich Park: in SE21, and you can enter via College Road, Dulwich Common, Court Lane, and Dulwich Village. A lovely park that’s really well maintained (well, what else did you expect for Dulwich Village?) There’s a fairly big children’s play park, lots of sporty stuff going on and a very nice cafe with baby change facilities. Handy, as almost everyone in the park either already has a child or is beautifully pregnant, or both. There’s a pedalo lake, an open air cinema, bowling green and squirrels that are so tame I swear one was seconds away from leaping on my child. It’s also within touching distance of the Dulwich Picture Gallery if you’d like some culture.

Church House Gardens: Church Road, Bromley, Kent, BR2 0EG. Hidden away off the main high street and behind the Churchill Theatre, this is contains a lake, ornamental gardens, children’s play area and sports facilities. There’s a giant sandpit – hours of fun in summer – as well as long slides and play equipment for older ones.

Horniman Museum 100 London Rd  London SE23 3PQ. So technically it’s not a park (and make sure you read my post about the actual Horniman Museum). But the gardens are brilliant and worth a visit for the view over London. There’s also a nature trail, musical instruments and a new animal walk too.

Find out about parks and many more children’s activities on Bubele – available to download on the App Store and at

Which is your favourite London park?

Gill Crawshaw writes A Baby on Board, a blog about London life as a mum of two.