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Things to do in Battersea Park

The Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park

Battersea Park is only a few kilometres south of Hyde Park Corner, making it an ideal attraction for anyone visiting central London and looking for a very different green space experience right next to the River Thames.

There are lots of things to do in Battersea Park, so it’s definitely one to put on your list when visiting London.

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Read on to find out more about the top things to do in Battersea Park.

And for ideas for other sights to see in London and for tours you can book, click here.

About Battersea Park

The 200-acre Battersea Park runs along the River Thames’ southern edge on the opposite bank to Chelsea and Pimlico. It is within each reach of two major rail stations, Clapham Junction and Victoria, as well as the newly opened Battersea Power Station underground terminal on the Northern Line.

Built in the mid to late 19th century, the park still retains many of the charms of the Victorian era.

It includes an attractive bandstand that sits on Central Avenue and a riverside promenade. There’s also the stunning Peace Pagoda with its colourful bronze statues, and various different leisure and sports activities, including a running track and tennis courts.

For an inner-city area undergoing some redevelopment, visitors may also be pleasantly surprised to discover a boating lake, a children’s zoo, as well as play areas. There’s also art to be seen in the Pump House Gallery.

On a visit here, you will discover an interesting selection of varied garden designs and species of trees.

Together with its unique pieces of sculptures, excellent children’s attractions, and a generous mix of activities that range from history walks to leisure pursuits, Battersea Park has something for visitors of all ages and interests.

What is Battersea Park famous for?

Battersea Park is especially popular with locals and ‘those in the know’ who flock to its beautiful and varied surroundings year-round to enjoy its attractions and to relax and unwind.

It’s a place to escape the traffic on nearby roads: cyclists are drawn to this quiet leafy oasis to ride round Carriage Drive’s roughly 3 km circular route.

Terrace Walk by the River Thames also attracts joggers who can enjoy great views of the beautifully designed Albert Bridge, especially when lit up at night.

The Albert Bridge lit up at night
The Albert Bridge lit up at night

And every November, the park hosts a popular fireworks display to commemorate Guy Fawkes Night. This draws huge crowds, so book early and arrive early!

If you enter via the park’s eastern entrance off Queenstown Road, you also can’t miss one of London’s biggest building projects, the redevelopment of the Battersea Power Station site. The station is famous for its four iconic cream chimneys as depicted on Pink Floyd’s ‘Animals’ album.

A view of Battersea Power Station across the river
Battersea Power Station

You will also walk past London’s famous animal rescue service, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

Things to do in Battersea Park

There are a lot of things to do in Battersea Park. Below are some of the top activities and attractions to consider.

Wander through the gardens   

For many visitors, the opportunity to unwind and relax is one of the main reasons they come to Battersea Park.

You can wander through the park’s varied landscape and choose themed walks. One of these is the garden walk, during which you can explore eight different gardens.

One of the gardens is the Russell Page Garden. This is named after a famous 20th-century landscaper, and is especially impressive in its layout.

The garden selection also includes a Rosery Garden, the very popular Old English Garden, and a Subtropical Garden. For those looking for a great view along the River Thames, head for the Promontory Garden.   

The subtropical garden in the park
The subtropical garden in Battersea Park

There are lots of beautiful flowers in the gardens to admire. And across the entire site there are more than 4,000 trees, many of which were apparently planted when the park was first designed in the 1850s (click here for more information).

Other things to keep your eye out for are the interesting pieces of sculpture across the park. These include Henry Moore’s Three Standing figures and Nicola Hicks’ Brown Dog. Again, you can plan your walks specifically around the sculptures.

Visit the Peace Pagoda

Next to the River Thames and situated roughly at the midway point between Albert Bridge and Chelsea Bridge, is the Battersea Park Peace Pagoda.

The Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park
The Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park

This is one of 80 pagodas worldwide that were built as part of a Japanese monk’s peace work. Gifted to London in 1984, the pagoda is striking.

It is over 33 metres high, with bronze statues of the Buddha on each of its four sides and a large staircase leading up to it. 

The Buddhist building is a stone’s throw from the river, and from this vantage point, you can look out over the River Thames and admire the stunning Albert Bridge to the west.

The Albert Bridge from the park
The Albert Bridge from Battersea Park

Go Ape in the trees

Many visitors will be familiar with the Go Ape adventure-activity chain venue, which has experiences across the UK. According to its website, the Go Ape Battersea Park, provides the most central forest experience in London, with spectacular views around the surrounding area.

Some Go Ape activities - swings and platforms and rope bridges in between swings. This is one of the things to do in Battersea Park
Go Ape activities

People with a good head for heights or looking for something more adventurous will love this experience: the Battersea Park’s Treetop Challenge crossings are apparently twice the height of most Go Ape locations.

Although there is no strict age limit, would-be-adventurers must be at least 1 metre tall.

Go cycling  

Like many of London’s green spaces, Battersea Park is great for cycling.

Whether you are an experienced adult rider or a parent taking your children out on their bikes, this is an ideal environment to cycle around. There’s no need to worry about other road vehicles disturbing your peace and quiet or putting off nervous riders.

The only requirement is that cyclists stick to the roads or cycle paths, as you’ll find plenty of joggers and walkers out enjoying this lovely green space as well.

For this reason, and because the park can attract lots of people at weekends, riders are asked not to cycle faster than 12 mph (around 19 kph). 

Battersea Park Bike Hire

If you’re not bringing your own bike into Battersea Park, you can hire one from several providers. This includes London Recumbents, which offers a range of different cycles catering for different ages, and Santander Cycles.

Sail on the boating lake

You might be surprised to discover that it is possible to go boating on a lake so close to central London attractions and sights. 

The boating lake in Battersea Park
The boating lake in Battersea Park

Battersea Park’s Boating Lake offers a fleet of different rowing and pedal boats and is open to the public during school holidays, public holidays, and all weekends between Easter and the end of September. Each boat holds up to five people, and prices for adults, children (under 15), and families vary.

The Pear Tree café sits by the lake for refreshments after your boating experience.

Play a round on the mini-golf course

Keen golfers can also spend a bit of time on a mini-golf course as part of a visit to Battersea Park. As Putt in the Park’s website notes, the course has been specially designed to accommodate all age groups. Prices vary for adults, children under 15, and families of four, although there is also an additional booking fee.

You can also combine the putting experience with something to eat at the Battersea Park Café, which has a wood fired pizza oven.

See the animals in the Battersea Park Children’s Zoo

One of Battersea Park’s many hidden treasures is Battersea Park Children’s Zoo.

It’s home to a small, albeit unique, collection of mammals, birds, and reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Amongst these are Asian short-clawed otters, Bolivian squirrel monkeys, emperor tamarin, as well as lemurs, wallabies, meerkats, donkeys, ponies and hedgehogs. 

The zoo is located near the Peace Pagoda and is open every day (except 25th and 26th December) from 10 am to 5.30 pm.

View art in the Pump House Gallery

The small, albeit scenic Pump House Gallery is a 19th-century grade II building situated close to the boating lake. Notable for its Victorian water tower, the building contains a modern art gallery and gift shop.

Although admission is free, it’s worth noting that the gallery is closed Monday and Tuesday when there is no exhibition on.

Let the kids let off steam in the playground

A big part of Battersea Park’s attraction is that it caters for different interests and ages. And for parents with toddlers and juniors, there is a designated Battersea Park Adventure Playground.

The playground is designed for children between the ages of 4 to 7 and 8 to 14 years of age, and there are in fact, three free different types of play areas, in addition to the Go Ape experience mentioned earlier.

There is an adventure playground for the 8 to 14 year-old age range. For the younger age range, head to the young kids’ play area where you’ll find some less challenging climbing frames and slides. There is also a separate toddler area.

Play tennis on the tennis courts

Tennis enthusiasts can also visit Battersea Park for a knock-about; there are multiple courts here. They can be found in the park’s northeast corner right next to the Millennium Arena, which offers a range of leisure activities, including an indoor and outdoor gym and a full-size athletics track.

Visit in November for the famous fireworks

One of the main events in the calendar is the annual Battersea Park Fireworks which takes place around 5th November to commemorate Guy Fawkes Night. Tickets can only be purchased online in advance, but apparently only 50,000 tickets are made available, so you really need to get in quickly.

Wandsworth Council, the display’s organiser, usually advertises the event in late September.

How to get to Battersea Park

Battersea Park is incredibly well serviced by public transport and is easy to get to by bus, train, and underground.

You can reach the park by taking any of the following buses: 19, 44, 49, 137, 156, 170, 239, 314, 319, 344, 345, and 452. However, it’s worth planning your journey in advance using Transport for London’s website.

If you are coming by train, the nearest overland station is Battersea Park Station which can be reached from London Victoria (one stop) and Clapham Junction (one stop).

Once you exit the station, turn right and walk for about 50 metres along Battersea Park Road until you reach the traffic lights. Take a right turn at this interaction onto Queenstown Road, and after walking 150 metres you’ll see the park on the left.

Since the opening of Battersea Power Station underground terminal on the Northern Line in September 2021, it has also become much easier to visit the park from central and north London. After exiting the station, head for the park’s Chelsea Gate.

Alternatively, you can reach the park via Sloane Square on the District and Circle lines. Once you exit the tube station, you can either pick up the 137 bus or walk down Lower Sloane Street and onto Chelsea Bridge Road. The park is on your right as you walk across Chelsea Bridge.

Battersea Park car parking 

If you decide you want to drive to Battersea Park, there are three car parks where you can leave your car.

There is one at Albert Gate (west), one at Chelsea Gate (east), and one at Rosery Gate (south). The car parks are open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, and charges apply.   

Free things to do in Battersea Park

There are many things to do in Battersea Park that are free.

Whether it’s walking around the different parts of this beautiful park or hiring a bike and following the designated car-free routes, there is so much on offer in what is one of London’s most overlooked green spaces. In the summer, the park is perfect for picnics, but year-round there is always something to do that won’t cost you a penny.

You can also get perfect views for nothing here, including of the magnificent Albert Bridge and the important cultural landmark that is the Battersea Park Peace Pagoda.

Cafes in Battersea Park

There are several cafes in Battersea Park which include: 

  • The scenic Pear Tree Café which is right next to the boating lake, and offers an all-day menu, including brunch, lunch, and children’s options.
  • The Lemon Tree Café, can be found in Battersea Park Children’s Zoo. It serves a range of snacks, including salads, sandwiches, kids’ lunchboxes, ice-creams, and sweets.
  • The Pier Point Café and the Tea Terrace Kiosk are both kiosks that offer a selection of take-away snacks.

Toilets in Battersea Park

Battersea Park has a number of public toilets, notably the Fountain Toilets, which are close to the Bandstand.

There are also toilet facilities in the Pear Tree Café and the Lemon Tree Café, but you would have to be a patron to use them.

Is Battersea Park worth visiting?

Battersea Park is worth visiting because there are so many interesting sights within the park.

There are also many different types of activities catering to all age groups. Importantly, visitors will be surprised at how easy the park is to get to from central London.

It’s also an up-and-coming area with lots of interesting places nearby that you could combine a visit to the park with.

Top of the list is Battersea Power Station. This huge redevelopment project is undergoing rapid change, and lots of eateries have opened on the riverfront with the iconic building in the background.  

Battersea Park is also a short walking distance from Sloane Square where you can wander down the King’s Road and look around boutique shops.

Other things to do in London and short breaks in the UK

As you can see, there are lots of things to do in Battersea Park. If you are sightseeing in London, also check out some of my other posts:

You may also be interested in other places to visit in the UK:

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