Reviews of Play areas in Chelsea

St. Luke’s Garden’s Playground

 St. Luke’s is an easily undiscovered gem off The King’s Road in Chelsea.  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 basic toilets 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 two football pitches (not sure what the rules are for using the pitches and they usually have organised looking games being played on them.

 This is the perfect destination after taking the children shopping down The Road.

The Royal Hospital Grounds, Chelsea, free

  •  Enormous gardens where you are free to picnic
  • Children can easily run out of sight, but can’t run into any roads
  • There may be toilets accessible to the public in the museum and perhaps near the adventure playground

 Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 – 4:30 (November – March) 10 – 5 (October) 10 – 7 (September) 10 – 7:30 (April) 10 – 8:30 (May – August)

 The Ranlelagh Gardens are the most undiscovered, under-utilised picnic grounds in Central London.  There are trees, hills, gorgeous walkways and manicured beds … bring your toddlers and let them run up and down the hills while adults drink wine and visit.  Be prepared to get up and bring them back in when they get too far out of sight, but they are not likely to get in too much trouble as they are completely enclosed except for the gate to enter.

Chelsea Physic Gardens, 66 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea ,SW3 4HS, £8 (children free) or £30 annual membership


  • Amazing, beautiful museum of plants
  • You need to be careful of children trampling the plants and of the ponds!
  • Tube: Sloane Square or South Kensington
  • Bus: 19, 22, 11, 319, 170

A Heavenly Idyll in Bustling Chelsea … If you don’t mind keeping your children from trampling rare species of plants and herbs gathered from around the world.

From inside the walls of the Physic Gardens, one feels a nearly sappy surge of nostalgia taking in the views of ordered rows of trees, blossoms and plants set against the red brick walls of the gardens and the Victorian mansion blocks and houses outside.  One might even confess to believing for a moment that you feel what Chelsea may have been like during Queen Victoria’s reign.  The contrast of the grass and gravel paths, flowering shrubs, lazy willow branches to the unseen, but presence nonetheless, of chaotic traffic outside the garden makes the case for a trip to the Chelsea Physic Gardens.

Covering 3.8 acres, the Physic Gardens are not merely beautifully maintained gardens; they are a museum of living plants.  Founded in 1673 by the Society of Apothecaries of London, The Physic Garden was originally conceived to grow and study medicinal plants.   Some of the more interesting innovations the Physic Gardens can claim include being the site of the first heated glasshouse and the oldest man-made rock garden in Europe.  The Gardens continue today to promote research, conservation and education of botany. 

Before you bring the little ones along, be aware that the varied trees and plants are grown in beds that are not protected, so small children are not free to run wild.  They must be carefully watched to stay on the lawns and not wander into the beds or near the ponds, as they are strictly off-limits to children.  The volunteers who labour to keep the gardens beautiful may pause in their work to help keep an eye on your children with you, should you not appear to understand these rules.  Bearing this in mind, the Gardens really are a wonderful way to pass an afternoon with small children.

You are allowed to bring in your own picnic; and an even better treat is the cafe!  Located next to the main lawn in the middle of the gardens, there are large tables where adults may sit and enjoy hot drinks and snacks or full meals while their children wander near-by.  This main lawn is also the logical place, but not only spot, to lay down your own blanket.  Check the closing times.  In the autumn, they close at 5PM; in which case you can walk over to the Royal Hospital Gardens with your picnic, which close at sunset.    

The Gardens also boast an excellent gift shop with a good variety of gifts and toys that are unique, inexpensive and imaginative.

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