The COVID-19 pandemic has meant a lot of families are staying home at a time when they may be travelling abroad. We are one of them sadly.
I’m usually in Vancouver for most of the summer or travelling around the UK. This year, we’ve decided to stay put and take advantage of all the local family places we can visit. Maybe I’ll bump into you at one of them!
As well as the list below, don’t forget to visit the popular National Trust and English Heritage locations nearby, including Ham House, Polesden Lacey and Osterley Park!
I was surprised how many of them I’ve never tried or even heard of! So here’s my list for you to try too!
1. Hanwell Zoo (20 min from Twickenham)
This lovely small animal zoo is open to visitors through pre-booking with a variety of birds, animals and even a butterfly house. They also have porcupines and meerkats! As the name says, they are located in Hanwell. Only 20 minutes from Twickenham, where I live. I can see us having a whole day out there.
Need to pre-booking: YES!
Telephone: 07803 454510
2. Northala fields (30 min from twickenham)
This made-made hill and recreation area was made using the waste material after the Old Wembley stadium was demolished. It looks like a great day out – lovely areas to walk and lots of children to do. There’s even a model boating lake!
Ealing council runs it and I can’t find anything on their website as to when it opens so when we go there we are going to give the council a ring first, just to be sure! TIP: watch the above video on 2 x speed as it’s slow to watch but really interesting. Apparently Ealing’s parks have been awarded more new Green Flags than any other borough in the UK this year which says a lot about the quality of their parks!
Telephone: (020) 8825 6999
3. Painshill – COBHAM Surrey (30 min from Twickenham)
Unlike Northala fields, Painshill is actually quite old. It’s an 18th century landscaped garden that was created to look like magical garden or ‘living’ painting inspired by Renaissance art. It’s a really beautiful place to go for a walk with the family and enjoy a day out in a really beautiful setting.
Telephone number: 01932 868113
4. The Garden Court (PRIVATE HIRE SWIMMING POOL) East Twickenham
This little gem has been a life-saver! The court itself is mainly known for it’s tennis but also has an outdoor (heated!) swimming pool that you can hire for an hour at only £25. The guidelines have now changed and it’s possible to share your booking with another family. It’s great value and we have been going once or twice a week. It’s been great during the heatwave and a perfect way to have a play date! The pool is all the same height and my rather tall 6 year old can stand on her tiptoes without needing assistance.
Pre-booking: YES, by text (see below)
Mobile: contact Marta 07934085972
5. Dinosaur Escape Adventure Golf – Northolt (30 min from Twickenham)
I haven’t played miniature golf since I was a child and I was surprised to find that there’s a Dinosaur mini golf adventure golf only 30 minutes away from me. It’s even pet-friendly and supposed to be a good learning activity as they have fun facts around the golf course.
Phone: 0208 842 3438
6. Fulham Palace (20 min from Twickenham)
I got married in Fulham Palace over 12 years and it’s a beautiful place to visit. While the building itself is not open, the outdoor garden is open and perfect for picnics. Plus there’s a formal garden that’s beautiful. There’s a cafe and also a mobile pizza van so you don’t have to bring food with you. Children can also have a play in the playground next door (Bishops Park) that will keep children busy as well. There’s parking on the surrounding roads.
Phone: +44 (0)20 7736 3233
7. Hobble down farm – Epsom (35 min from Twickenham)
Hobbledown Adventure Farm Park has so much going for it I’m not sure where to start! There are farm animals as well as zoo and a bird show. The outdoor play area is large and I have a feeling this is definitely a full day’s worth of adventure to be had!
Phone: 01372 848 990
8. Crockford bridge farm
This pick-your-own farm is fun for the whole family. You’ll not only walk away with memories, but also lots of fresh produce you can cook at home. It’s a win-win situation! The farm has been really popular with families so it’s good to check what produce is available for picking so you’re not disappointed. They update it daily on this link: https://www.crockfordbridgefarm.co.uk/farm-pyo.
Pre-Booking: NO. If they are full, they will do a ‘one-in-one-out’ system.
9. Bird World, Jenny Wren Farm & Underwater World
Phone: 01420 22140
10. Chiswick House and Gardens (15 minutes from Twickenham)
This English Heritage Garden is tucked away in Chiswick and is a beautiful place for a day out that’s not too far. Last time I was there the play area wasn’t open but that may have changed. The cafe and outdoor areas are lovely.
Pre-booking: NO, the house is not open
Phone: +44 (0)20 3141 3350
About the author
I’m a family photographer based in Twickenham and I love the local area. I’ve recently moved from Twickenham Green to East Twickenham, just by the entrance of Marble Hill Park. I offer family photo shoots in all the gorgeous locations in the area.