We all know there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But there are still some ways of entertaining yourself, and your children, for nothing – even in Notting Hill.
If it’s sunny you are spoilt for choice.
Parks and playgrounds
Avondale Park on Walmer Road has just been renovated and now has a fantastic fenced play area complete with wooden train for small children and an equally brilliant area for older children including tunnels, rope climbing frames and a 10 foot structure of rope ladders and birds nests that you might imagine Peter Pan and Wendy climbing into to escape the pirates.
There are two great playgrounds in Holland Park – a sandy one for under sixes and another one next to the car-park for over sixes with incredible climbing equipment plus an area for younger ones. Alternatively you can go to the Japanese garden and watch the giant fish from the stone bridge or look for the peacocks which roam around nearby.
Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park – as well as Princess Diana’s Playground with the landmark wooden pirate ship, there’s loads of room for football, frisbees or hide and seek. You can feed the ducks on the round pond, walk to the Serpentine, visit the Serpentine Gallery or on a Sunday head to the bandstand and listen to a concert – all for free.
From 4 until 5 on Sundays you can catch a hockey on roller blades on the stretch of park road between the Albert memorial and the Albert Hall. It’s surprisingly addictive – and last time I asked they were looking for extra players. Though this game is very much for adults, my kids loved watching and would have carried on until it was dark.
Kensington Memorial Park, St Mark’s Road W10, has three play areas – one near the road for teenagers and another area well inside near the tea kiosk which is divided between stuff for the under fives and under 12s. Again it has been recently updated. There’s also a water park which is fantastic during the Summer with fountains, jets and water canons. Admittedly not great for Autumn half term.
So tomorrow… what to do when it rains.