If you fancy a bit of a countryside, welly clad, romp without leaving zone 4 then Morden Hall Park is a great option.
You can park for free in the garden centre car park and you enter the park (a former deer park) by going over a cute little bridge and through an opening in a high wall. It all feels a little bit like entering the Secret Garden and The Terrorists love that fact that when they stomp on the bridge (to scare away the troll they believe lives underneath!) it makes a great juddering noise!
Once through the gate there are enough muddy puddles and sticks to keep The Bear happy for hours without having to go more than 5 minutes into the grounds! We tromp through every single one of the puddles and pick up every stick. We finally make it to the outdoor natural play area which includes a zip wire and climbing challenge. The Bear is a bit young to do most of the things but still loves climbing onto the little wooden platforms and balancing.
Next stop is a lovely little white bridge which is poo stick heaven and amuses Bollie no end as she gets to stand up and watch dogs swim and splash everyone when they come out!
Final stop is the waterwheel which the The Terrorists love (even though they don’t get what it is) and a couple of huge trees where the branches are low to the ground enabling even a 2 year old to climb up. In our world this is a Gruffalo cave and is perfect for an energetic game of hide and seek.
A well deserved coffee and cake in the café at the end where The Terrorists can play with a set of outdoor toys in the little garden area (these are meant to teach them about growing and the seasons but they just like turning the handles and making noise!) and we have successfully (and muddily) passed a lovely morning and feel like we have been in the deepest darkest countryside even though we are only a 10 minute drive from home!
Top Tip – check out their website before you go as they often run themed days at the weekend (for example a wellie walk or an Easter egg hunt) which are completely free
Time to visit – for us this is usually only half a day and we often do it on the way in or out of London
Highlights – the natural play ground (not your usual swings and slides but plenty for climbing and imagination opportunities) and poo sticks on the little white bridge
Getting there – it is a 10 min walk from Morden underground station. However it is also an easy drive with free parking so we normally do that
Pushchair access – if you stick to the paths it is easy to negotiate with a pushchair but it gets pretty muddy if you go off the paths
Price – it is a National Trust property but is completely free to enter the park
Food and Drink – there are 2 cafes. The one inside has always been shut when we have gone but there is another one by the car park. On a lovely day it is a gorgeous place to sit by the little river (The Wandle) in the sun. Inside is a bit run down and not so pleasant. The cakes and coffee are lovely but the hot food is pretty poor (expensive and not a great selection or quality) so if you want a meal I would take a picnic
Other attractions nearby – Collier’s Wood shopping centre is close as is the soft play there (Eddie Catz)
Baby facilities – there is baby change both in the café toilets (not the nicest but functional) and the café will heat baby food and supply highchairs. There are also lots of benches for breast feeding