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Can you recommend some trips out to the country (or somewhere picturesque) using public transport?

We have two small children and no car. Has anyone got any ideas for trips out to picturesque spots using public transport?
We have been up to Trent Country Park on the Piccadilly Line and to Kew Gardens, Walthamstow Marshes etc and Hampstead Heath on the train, but do you know of any other top spots to take the little 'uns this summer?

Tags for Forum Posts: child friendly, days out, public transport, summer fun

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I would subscribe the Horniman museum, it is lovely, free and has a lot on for kids. Surely they will love the huge collection of stuffed animals, better kept than the one around the NHM. Geffrye museum also very nice but more grown up,although the kids would probably love the garden!

And it is quite close to the Overground, from Highbury & I station every 15 minutes, Dalston JUNCTION, not Kingsland every 8 minutes or so.  Less than 10 minutes walk from Forest Hill station.

Have you been to Camley Street Natural Park at the back of Kings Cross. Its a great place for the kids. See link below for details.


Islington Ecology Centre, 2 mins from Arsenal tube


London Wetland Centre, Barnes
Darlands Lake Nature Reserve in Totterage.

I'm not sure how old your kiddies are but have you gone to the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens? I haven't as you have to have kids to get in but colleagues at work have waxed lyrical about it so will be setting about to steal my neice for a weekend in the Summer to check it out :-) http://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/kensington_gardens/diana_playgro... is where I found out some info - you can just jump on the Piccadilly Line from Manor House or Turnpike Lane to Gloucester Road or South Kensington and it's a 10 min stroll up to Kensington Gardens

In the afternoon you can let them loose in the Launch Pad in the Science Museum just down the road - possibly my favourite place ever when I was a child! All pretty local and can be done on an Oyster card, and one train with a bit of walking.

The Serpentine Gallery have their annual outdoor structure open now, it's different each year, but is usually interesting for children and usually has a cafe. We tend to go to the Playground in Kensington Gardens (which is really great) and then walk through to the serpentine gallery - then onto the memorial fountain/water thingy for a paddle if it's hot.

Another favourite is the V&A - I know it's not country, but they do great craft activities for children in the holidays and their courtyard has a fantastic huge paddling area with little fountains for the children to run through. And an excellent (but not cheap) cafe.

Thanks for all the other out of London ideas, I didn't know about a lot of them and they'll definitely be going on my summer hols list.

Also...(for those who dont already know)

141 bus from green lanes to London bridge station (30mins on a sunday) - accross from the station on the actual bridge are some steps that will lead you down onto a path for a nice walk along the Thames, passing the old Clink prison and other places of interest. Once along the river you can walk to Tate Modern and after that walk across millenium bridge to visit St Pauls where you can catch the 19 bus back to Finsbury Park. All free! except for bus fares 90p each way.

29 bus on green lanes to Camden Town, 10min walk from the station up Park way to Regents park and London Zoo

or 19 bus from Finsbury Park get off at Green Park station (next to Ritz hotel) walk accross the park to Buckingham Palace and see the changing of the guards.
For the May Day bank holiday weekend we went camping with the Forest School Camps people. The one we went on was at a place in Derbyshire called Shining Cliff. The family got there by car and I followed them on the train. It was a bout a 1 mile walk from the station. Someone will come and pick you up from the station if you have a big tent etc.
Incredibly (IMHO) there were two other families there from the ladder that we did not know. Also people from England (outside the M25). The kids had a ball, there were loads of things organised and the glee stuff was very interesting, even if I can't sing.
A little further a field maybe but I went to Amberley in Sussex yesterday. You can get a train out of Victoria and takes and hour and twenty minutes.

There is a working museum, a castle and a lovely village with two pubs that serve food.

We didn't take the kids mind : ) we went walking dover the downs and did a ten mile circular walk.

These can be obtained free from:

Followed by a pint and a half of Harveys whilst waiting for the train. A great day out with or without kids.
Again on the Gospel Oak to Barking line, the Kentish Town City Farm near Gospel Oak is great fun, my baby who turned one this month really enjoys looking at the animals and I'm sure he'll get more out of it each visit (we've been twice so far).

Another place which isn't countryside but is in walking distance of the main catchment area of this site is Finsbury Park! There's walks, boats, playgrounds, a baby friendly cafe, areas of grass to lounge around on. We celebrated our baby's first birthday with a picnic there and it was fun, but the playground would suit quite a wide range of kids ages and there's stuff to appeal to older and younger kids there too, as well as adults.
Last summer we went to Hampton Court by train. The journey sounded complicated (train to Highbury; tube to Vauxhall; train to Hampton Court) but actually it was really easy and took about an hour. Hampton Court have special head phone guided tours for children: they take you through all the main rooms much quicker than on the adult tours and there are jokes and games along the way. My history phobic son (he was 10 at the time) loved it. It wasn't cheap, but we were there all day.
I have a friend who lves in the Medway towns and at least once a year we have a big day out to the North Kent coast. All of those places are much quicker and easier to get to than you think. The train journeys can be quite long but they are comfortable and clean and, if you have a family railcard (essential for the non car owner) reasonably cheap. Broadstairs is best.
Closer to home I really like Greenwich, You can get there on docklands light now, but it is still fun to get off the train at Island Gardens and walk through the foot tunnel to add a sense of drama to the arrival. Then you've got the park, naval museum, observatory, river ... it's brilliant and you can get a river boat part of the way home.
I have also been to Windsor, and Legoland, by public transport. Getting to Paddington is a bit of a nuisance but once you are there all of these places are easy.
I am planning a big trip to Dover Castle next week. It might be a step too far but we shall see....



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