London Wetland Centre is a beautiful wildlife reserve in the heart of the capital with scenic walkways which meander amongst lakes, ponds, meadows and gardens. It's the perfect spot for a relaxing walk or for watching wildlife in its natural surroundings. Wandering among the flowers and trees it's easy to believe you're in the countryside, but from some vantage points the London skyline acts as a spectacular backdrop to this beautiful rural setting.
Take a walk through World Wetlands to see some of the most exotic ducks from around the globe and learn about the conservation work that keeps them safe from extinction. Numerous wild ducks, swans and other birds have made the Centre their home and spring is the perfect time to watch the mallard ducklings waddling after their mothers, or to see baby grebes hitching a ride on their parents' backs. Watch out for water voles feeding on the yellow flag iris and butterflies drinking from the flowers in Wildside.
It is the astonishing level of wildlife that makes its home here that inspired Chris Packham, BBC Springwatch presenter, to describe the Centre as, "One of the most important conservation projects of the past century. Its broad range of habitats brings a huge variety of water birds, amphibians and small mammals to the heart of the capital, giving millions of people the opportunity to encounter wildlife up close."
You can enjoy one of the guided walks around the Centre who will point out some of the wildlife highlights of the day or simply sit quietly in one of the hides. Take time out to relax in the Water's Edge Café with lunch and a glass of wine. All this just a convenient 10 minute bus ride from Hammersmith tube station.
Gift Aid Admission: Adult: £10.99 Concession: £8.20 Child: £6.10 (4-16 years) Family: £30.60 (2 adults & 2 children, 4-16 years) Children (under 4 years): Free
Please note: you may be asked for proof of age, student ID or proof that you are receiving Job Seekers Allowance to qualify for concession admission prices. Essential helpers assisting disabled visitors: Free
Non-Gift Aid Admission: If you choose not to pay the Gift Aid price, these are the equivalent prices excluding the voluntary donation. Adult: £9.99 Concession: £7.45 Child: £5.55 Family: £27.82
IMAGE: Marsh Marigolds by Ross Paxton
London's top attractions and activities for Animal Lovers
This acclaimed centre in West London is home to a whole host of animals you wouldn’t normally find in the city due to their predilection for water. The aquatic ecosystem is made up of four reservoirs that were built in the Victorian era, along with their surrounding wetlands, and is inhabited by otters, bats,birds and several types of reptiles and amphibians. Given that this is their natural environment the experience is a bit more immersive than the zoo, and you can turn up to things like the otter’s feeding time.
Susie, Abbey Road
Added: May 2015
What an absolutely fabulous to come with (or without!) little ones; so much to see, great sense of the outdoors and nature, despite being so close to central London, and a whole host of hands-on activities for the children to enjoy... oh, and great cake in the cafe too ;-) Wonderful!