Days out - Mums' verdicts

Local Mums check out facilities for families in our area - and further afield.

From play centres to day trips, Local Mums give their verdicts. If you would like to write a review of somewhere you have been, send it to

Hobbledown Farm, Epsom
"This is like Kidspace in Croydon but outdoors and seeing as its run by the same people this is no great surprise. Some super climbing frames for older kids with wire tunnels that looked a bit painful (!) when the children were shuffling through on their knees 20 foot above ground. There's no shade; none of the toddler equipment they used to have on the lawns and didnt see any animals except a few moody donkeys rearing up becasue they were hot too, so it will be blistering on a hot day. Food and ice cream both expensive, so is gift shop. Basically take your own food and drink, take plenty of sun cream and don't expect to see a farm! Older kids over 1.3 m can do a high wire obstacle course which looked fab. Not for those smaller kids standing underneath looking up enviously as the older children had all the fun! Worth a visit but wait for a deal... And avoid wet days as the climbing equipment didn't seem that non-slip to me. Shame they didn't price it more realistically."
Sarah Peters, Local Mum of Charlotte, aged 7 and Harriet, aged 5.

"I think it's expensive at £48 for two children and two adults. I felt some areas were 'unfinished' or perhaps waiting to undergo new works completely, (namely where the small duck pond and trike area once was).There appears to be a lack of animals now which is a great shame. That said, the children had a great time in the different adventure areas with "prizes" on offer to those who find some hidden treasure in the various playground (this comes in the form of little gems which look like rounded off broken glass) apparently you hand it in on the way out in return of a treat. Overall I do miss the old Horton Farm which always seemed to be a good school holiday attraction whatever the weather and I'm not so sure this will be such a hit during rainy days as most of the attraction now is centred on the play areas as opposed to animals."
Donna Wye, Local Mum of Ethan, aged 6 and Isabelle, aged 4.

Honeywood Museum, Carshalton
"I've just taken my nearly-three-year-old and highly recommend. There's dressing up and some lovely toys to play with in the childhood room. Also some buttons to press - always a winner for little fingers. Free entry although I was 'persuaded' to buy a wind up caterpillar from the lovely little shop. Then a coffee in the cafe overlooking the beautiful ponds. Good for an hour or two."
Sarah Gibson, Local Mum of two-year-old daughter

Mayfield Lavender, Banstead
“I just want to recommend 
Mayfield lavender, Banstead. I went for the first time today with four children and they all loved it! Lots of fun and it was free! Car park and a cafe for a cup of tea! Took some great photos too.”
Caroline Brown, Local Mum of William (aged two years).

Henry’s HouseCroydon
“Hi Ladies, Just thought I would share this with you. I took my son who is 5 and baby who is 16 months down to Henry's house in South Croydon which has just recently opened. Both children had a fab time and in separate areas away from each of the different age groups which is great for the babies so that they don't get pushed or stumbled on by the older children. Something that places like Kidspace offer but don't really regulate as I always find much bigger children in the baby areas. Check it out Henry’s House Limited (Soft Play)”
Elsa Santana, Local Mum of two boys (aged 5 and 16 months).

The Ecology Centre, Carshalton
“I would really recommend 
The Ecology Centre to all Carshalton Mums. It is a lovely, tranquil spot, great for picnics and letting the kids run around and play in the woods and open spaces. There are lots of things to look at, ‘bug hotels’ and things and information about the wildlife. They usually run activities in the holidays for kids with crafts and trails which are really good. It’s a lovely peaceful haven right in the middle of Cashalton. We are really lucky to have it, so lets use it before the Council takes it away!”
Gema Cavia, Local Mum of Eduardo (5 years) and Matteo (3 years).

Guilford Spectrum
Toddler Splash TimeThursday mornings (term time only)“This is a wonderful session for toddlers. There are a few different pools for the children to go in and out of, water slides, model fish, surf boards and a pirate ship to play on. The water is shallow in many places so the children can walk around unaided. One of the pools has lots of bubbles and the wave machine comes on at various intervals.”
Hannah Nutley, Local Mum of Jude (2yrs)

The Imperial War Museum, London SE1 6HZ.
“Just spent the day at the 
Imperial War Museum. It was very good and the boys loved it. I would really recommend it. There is so much to see. To do it all properly it would probably be a good idea to go three or four times. My  boys loved the Blitz exhibition, which is walk-through and interactive; it was really fabulous. There were some parts that we didn’t visit, which I thought they might be a bit young for, like the Holocaust exhibition, but that would be great for older kids, especially if they are studying it at school.
I would also recommend driving there. You can easily park in the road outside the museum.”
Margaret Ann, Local Mum of Matthew (year 2) and Thomas (year 4).

Village Ceramics, Cheam Village
“Village Ceramics is a wonderful place to take your kids to paint pottery, get creative and messy. They are very child friendly and it is a great place to spend time with your kids.”
Esme Camilleri, Local Mum of Lily 9, Charlie 8, Annie 6 and Maisie 2.

Deen City Farm, Morden
“This is a small farm near Morden with a variety of small animals. At certain times of the day there is an opportunity to have a pony ride. There is also a lovely garden with the emphasis on recycling which teaches the children about looking after our environment. My children always enjoy this visit. Entrance is free.”
Linda Meehan, Local Mum of three boys. 

The Look Out, Ecological Centre near Bracknell
“There is a great high tower here which looks out over the National Trust grounds. There is a large play area, a wooden castle and a large picnic area. You only have to pay if you go into the centre. I would also recommend the Coral Reef water park nearby which is great for kids of all ages.”
Lisa Coe, Local Mum of Ellie (12), Patrick (9) and Sophia (3).

Priory Park, Reigate
“I would really recommend this fantastic playground, with a pirate ship, huge sand and water play area and large pond with ducks. The park is great for bicycles and scooters. There is also a great cafe with lots of outdoor tables in the middle of the park, near the playground.”
Gema Cavia, Local Mum of Eduardo (year 1) and Matteo (School Nursery).

West Wittering Beach
“A lovely big sandy beach with lots of parking. NB There is only one cafe, but I still highly recommend it.”
Richmond Park
“Lovely big park for walking, with deer.”
Wimbledon Park
“Great park with fountains and sandpit. Kids can run and play; it’s good for picnics too.”
Rachel Castrogiovanni, Local Mum of Joshua (year 1) and Ethan (Pre-school).

Kew Gardens
“I recently had a fabulous day out here with my friend and her four kids. With my two girls, we had six kids between us and they all had a fantastic time. We took the train from Carshalton. There is loads of space to run around, a lovely cafe, great indoor play area and really nice wooden climbing area outside. The greenhouses are huge, with loads to see and the treetop walkway is amazing.”
Jo Moroney, Local Mum of Ella (year 2) and Grace (Pre-school).

Westcroft Mini Movers, Carshalton
“I would really recommend this activity at Westcroft. Sue, who runs it, is so enthusiastic with the children and the adults; the children love being around her. My kids love all the actions and games she does too.”
Katie Webb, Local Mum of Ryan (School Nursery) and Bobby (Pre-school).

The Hub, Mitcham
“I thought this play centre was great. It’s not too big a space, it’s clean and the kids love it. You can also have food and drinks while the kids play.”
Jackie Bell, Carshalton Mum of George (Reception), Molly (School Nursery) and Amy (6 months).

Victor Seymour Children’s Centre, Carshalton
“This is a really good centre with lots of fun activities for little ones and great resources for parents to learn about positive parenting. We especially love Messy Play on Tuesday afternoons and music groups on Fridays.”
Justyna Kantecka, Local Mum of one (Pre-school).

London Aquarium
“We really enjoyed it here. Particularly liked the fact that you could re-enter throughout the day. It is quite expensive and didn’t like the fact that you have to exit through the gift shop, but there are Buy One Get One Free tickets available from supermarkets.”
Laura Sims, Local Mum of Hannah (Pre-school) and Faye (6 months).

Toddlers World at most leisure centres in Carshalton/Sutton.
“My son really enjoys these sessions at Westcroft, Phoenix Centre and Sutton Arena.” 
Caroline Brown, Local Mum of William, 2.

Horniman Museum, Forest Hill
“Really good for children of all ages. Lots to look at - animals, musical instruments (you can try some out!) and aquarium. Pushchair access throughout. Lovely park/gardens surrounding the museum which you can picnic in. Also cafe on site.
The only downside is that parking is a bit tricky - they don’t have their own car park, but you can find somewhere in the surrounding streets.
They have an excellent website (click on link above) and put on special events/workshops for children throughout the year.”
Liz Cummins, Local Mum of James (Pre-school) and twins Charlie and Jack (6 months).

RHS Gardens at Wisley
“Wisley is a really lovely place to go for a day out with kids. The gardens are beautiful and very safe and self-contained. They usually have activities on for the kids, the cafes are lovely but you can also take a picnic. The kids love feeding the ducks (and the fish!) in the ponds and the glass-houses are great (they have a special butterfly exhibition once a year). There is lots to see and a new playground.”
Morwenna Carrington, Local Mum of Frances (year one), Naomi (School nursery) and Jemima (22 months).

Wilderness Island, Carshalton
“This is a great place to take children of all ages. A wonderful experience  of nature and wilderness - on our doorstep - and free!!”
Catherine Mary, Local Mum of Demelza (15 months).

Reigate Park
“A great place to take children of various ages is Reigate Park. It has lots of play things for the children, with sand under foot. There is a smaller area for smaller area for smaller children and then the Big Ship for older children. The park itself is also great to go for walks, bike rides etc. The cafe is a little expensive, but you can always take your own food.”
Caroline Williams, Local Mum of Lewis (Reception) and Eva (8 months).

Victor Seymour Children’s Centre
“I take my 14 month old there on Tuesdays for the 1.45pm session of messy play. They have quite a few toys and activities outside plus they have playdough and puzzles etc inside. At the end we all sing songs together. My daughter loves it.”
Isabel, Local Mum of Olivia (14 months).

Surestart groups
“I am a mum to a seven week old. Being a first time mum who previously worked, I found being at home with my one a little lonely. We were told about the breastfeeding group at Muschamp Children’s Centre. So I went along thinking it was for breastfeeding advice rather than like-minded mums chatting and having the opportunity to breastfeed comfortably, with the added advantage of a health visitor, or breastfeeding supporter there to help with any issues you may have. We have been going since Zoey was three weeks old and enjoy our outing and the chance to meet others. The centre is new and also runs a baby group. All the toys and activities are brand new and the people were all really helpful.”
Tammy Stoltz, Local Mum of Zoey Rose (Seven weeks).

Chessington World of Adventure
“We had a really good day out for the family and the zoo is great. I was able to take my son on most of the younger rides when he was only six months old. He really liked it.”
Gail Errington, Local Mum of Rafe (1 year).

Spud and Yam (Manor Park Children’s Centre), Sutton
“Spud and Yam are a Celtic and Carribean music/story telling group. They appear at various local venues. Their sessions are excellent for pre-schoolers. The songs are original and very catchy. They interact really well with the children and provide a wide variety of instruments to try. At the session I attended there was a variety of age groups and all of the children loved it.”
Hannah Nutley, Local Mum of Jude (2 years).

Muschamp Children’s Centre, Sutton
“Muschamp breastfeeding support group is a great place to meet other new mums and get advice on anything related to baby care. Very friendly atmosphere.”
Kristiina Elemen, Local Mum of Aida (13 months).

National Trust
"I highly recommend going to local National Trust properties and gardens. They offer a peaceful escape for families and are more child-friendly than they used to be. Beautiful, landscaped gardens for your children to run around in and some have children’s climbing frames/playhouses to explore. Throughout the year the NT arrange themed activities, arts and crafts etc. It’s a good idea to check their website before you go." 
Kelly Neal, Local Mum of Harry (School nursery) and Charlie (Pre-school).

Drusillas, Nr Brighton
“Hey ladies! Just thought I would share where I have been today and defo recommend it!! It is Drusillas, near Lewis and Brighton. It was brill alot for the kids to do! The animals were lovely too. Very clean and lots of toilets! It is more of a zoo but still rides and play things for the kids to do! Only down side I thought is that some things inside u have to pay extra for!! Which I thought was wrong! It was £40 for a family of three! We took a pack lunch and there were special areas to eat them! But overall a really good day out on a beautiful day!!! Xxx”
Natalie Foster, Local Mum of Teddy (two years).

"Battesea Park is really good, fab playground for the kids, nice walk along the river, ducks to feed in the lake, childrens zoo & you can hire pedal boats on the lake."
Nikki Chapman, Local Mum of two.

Discovery walk at priory farm Nutfield is a lovely day out. Go on a nature walk through a sunflower maze, woods, quarry, feed fish at the lake plus more. There's a nice coffee shop and play area too!”
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“Bluebell railway is a great day out with young children you go on the steam trains and they have Thomas the tank engine days too!”
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“We like going up to the museums in that London. Sprog is happy to just use different modes of transport. Lovely day out is the Wetlands Centre in Barnes. Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is great.”
Diane Telford, Local Mum

“Enchanted Forest Groombridge, a magical forest with a massive climbimg frame, giant swings, wig wams, lagoon, giant rabbits, deer, zedonks, treehouses lots of areas to explore and you can catch a boat out to exit At the entrance of the forest they have birds of prey shows 2/3 times a day. Plus there's a maze, peacocks walking around and a nice cafe.”
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“Thanks for recommending Groombridge Enchanted Forest. We went there today and even in the cloudy weather it was lovely. The forest area itself is fab for little ones - lots to see and great "ship" and huts to play on/in. The gardens were beautiful too - take a picnic and drinks though, as they were pricy! I'll be going through your other recommendations later ..... x”
Sheila Rowe, Local Mum

“Hever Castle it has a water maze plus lots more!”
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“We were down in Folkestone area this week and I can throughly recommend Gabrielle's suggestion for Howletts Zoo. We spent a whole day there and it was fab. We also did the Hythe to Dungeness steam railway, you can hop on and off and we got off for the miniature railway museum at New Romney which my nearly 3 year old daughter loved. Dungeness is an amazing place too and my daughter enjoyed climbing up and down the stairs in the lighthouse and visiting the wacky galleries. Only an hours car journey. And we love Hever Castle too :-)”
Sarah Gibson, Local Mum of one daughter, aged 3

“Brooklands Museum is fab! Cars ad Planes galore. We all loved it even my girls who aren't into cars want to go back. Check their website for dates that they bring out the cars and you can go on a thrilling ride around the last remaining bit of track!! For a small extra charge you can go on Concorde! It isn't that expensive.”
Kim Pearson, Local Mum 

“Mercedes Benz World. A great day out too a three-story showroom if all of their cars and the children can sit in the cars etc. There's a small hands on museum, 3d cinema and at lunch time they have a racing car display plus for the little ones there's a driving school which costs £5 everything else is free:))”
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“Hampton Court is lovely, even if you don't actually go in. You can walk around the gardens and go in the maze, plus over the road is Bushy Park, lovely for a picnic, huge pond, lots of deer & a large playground/sandpit.”
Nicola Chapman, Local Mum of two. a great farm plus behind the farm they have a fantastic paintball centre which I booked for my sons 13th birthday. So paint balling for the oldest and I can take the younger one to the farm.....happy families:))))”
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“Wimbledon Park is really nice. A lake, streams and waterfall, lovely playground, mini golf and a really nice cafe.”
Nicola Chapman, Local Mum of two.

“Battesea Park is really good, fab playground for the kids, nice walk along the river, ducks to feed in the lake, children’s zoo and you can hire pedal boats on the lake.”

Nicola Chapman, Local Mum of two

“Hornimun museum is another great day out lovely museum and park”
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“Redhill aerodrome has a cafe and on a nice day you can sit outside and watch the helicopters and light aircraft taking off and landing.”
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“Crystal Palace park has a cafe, playground, lovely walk, small farm and lake with huge dinosaurs around it”
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“Chistlehurst caves”
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“British wildlife centre, South Godstone
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“Tilgate park fantastic park, farm, playground, maze, pier over the lake”
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“Fanny's Farm: A quirky place to go for a lovely homemade cream tea plus her jams etc have won awards. You can also book to have tea in a tree house!
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“Tulleys farm, pick your own, and Tulleys maize maze. Copthorpe, only open for summer hols.”
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

“Garsons Farm, Esher a lovely pick-your-own”
Gabrielle Cleeve, Local Mum of two boys

"Hampton Court is lovely, even if you don't actually go in. You can walk around the gardens & go in the maze, plus over the road is Bushy Park, lovely for a picnic, huge pond, lots of deer & a large playground/sandpit."
Nicola Chapman, Local Mum of two

"Wimbledon Park is really nice. A lake, streams & waterfall, lovely playground, mini golf & a really nice cafe."
Nicola Chapman, Local Mum of two

"The Isabella plantation in Richmond park is a lovely place to explore and have a picnic. Richmond park also has deer. There's also Wimbledon common a great place to to let the kids loose."
Gail Errington, Local Mum of Rafe, aged 3.

"Don't forget that your local children's centres run throughout the summer & put on extra stuff, either for free or very reduced fees. We go most weeks, but last summer my daughter did 4 weeks of football training for £5 & same cost for Mad Academy. Bargain."
Tanya Thomas, Local Mum

"I went to Kidspace today, dropping sprog off for a party. On picking up I was shocked how easy it was to get in. Neither hubby or I (and we arrived seperately) needed to prove we were picking up a child and got through up to the play area. Very slack. We also did not get checked on leaving with our child. I am going to write to complain. Child safety comes first."
Diane Telford, Local Mum

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