Header Image © Sally Thorburn
The Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park is a tranquil pocket of nature tucked just out the way of the urban hustle and bustle of London.
You and your mini adventurers will have the opportunity to explore over four acres of meadows, woodlands and wetland, and witness the huge variety of birds, butterflies and other wildlife that treat the Ecology Park as home.
Created in 2000 on the site of the old steelworks, the Ecology Park has been open to the public since 2002 and provides natural habitats to countless wildlife you'll be amazed to see inside of London. The reeds along the waterside make the perfect home for birds, but you'll also spy butterflies, moths and dragonflies, as well as frogs and tadpoles in the smaller pools.
The park is looked after by a group of conservation volunteers (TCV) who make sure it's kept clean and thriving, and it's completely free to enter. Most weekends offer events for kids and families, which range from bat walks to spider art classes to frog spotting, so you and your little ones will never be short of things to do. Here are our top 7 reasons to visit.
1. Spot Hundreds of Rare Birds
We recommend you start by taking the trail along the wooden walkway that wraps around the whole park. Keep an eye out for some of the many different types of wildlife, and nestle yourselves into the specially designed viewing huts to spy some of the different species of birds on the lakes. As well as a comfortable seating area, the huts contain folders with information on all the kinds of birds that have been spotted there, as well as a board to keep you updated on their most recent winged visitors.
2. Paddle at the Shingle Beach
The shingle beach in the park is made up of a mix of sandy soil and rocks. It's the perfect place for the kids to look for special stones, and even go for a paddle. Dragonflies and butterflies love to bask in the sunshine here, and several species of moths that were thought to have become extinct have actually been found in the Ecology park recently, so you might be lucky enough to have a rare sighting.
3. Host A Butterfly Picnic In The Meadow
The beautiful meadowland in the middle of the park is dominated by hundreds of thousands of wildflowers, providing lots of food for the bees and butterflies that flutter around the area. This is one of the most tranquil picnic spots we've come across in London, so we definitely recommend you stop here for your lunch break and string together some daisy chains if the sun is shining.
4. Make Rare Tree Rubbings
We recommend you bring some paper and crayons to the wooded area so that you can unleash your creativity by making rubbings of the tree textures you can find there. Alongside the thriving wildlife, the park is home to a wide variety of rare trees, and this is a great way for you to get up close and explore the different kinds of patterns and textures they have.
5. Hide Out in the Willow Dens
Our favourite section of the park is 'The Dens', where bright red teepees mingle with willow dens, inviting you to pop in and out of each and explore what they have to offer. It's a great place for you to play a family game of hide-and-seek!
6. Follow A Quiz Trail
The great thing about the Ecology Park is that it's really family-friendly. The volunteers have set up quiz trails for you to follow with colouring stations, so you and your family will get to learn a little bit about the Greenwich Peninsula history, and make sure you don't miss any of the important sights on your walk.
7. Find Some Froggy Friends
If you're visiting in the springtime, the ecology park has a couple of little ponds which are perfect places to spy frogs in their various stages of life. Bring a net, and you might be able to catch some tadpoles. As one of it's weekend activities, Greenwich Ecology Park does sometimes offer weekend frog-spotting sessions, but this is something you can do anytime too.
Things To Know Before You Go
- The Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park is fully buggy and wheelchair accessible.
- There isn't an onsite cafe, so make sure you bring a picnic if you don't fancy taking the short walk to the O2 for something to eat.
- If you're looking for a playground, we suggest taking a short walk along the Thames path where you'll find a few great options.
- Parking is limited on-site.
- The park is only open between Wednesday and Sundays from 10 am - 5 pm so make sure you factor this in when you're planning a trip.
Where is it? Thames Path, John Harrison Way, Greenwich, London SE10 0QZ.
How much to budget for: The park is completely free! Up your budget to £5 - £10 if you fancy an ice-cream.
Nearest Tube: The nearest tube station is North Greenwich, which is about a 15-minute walk away from the park. We recommend getting a bus if you want to be dropped off closer.
Is it buggy friendly? Yes! The whole Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park is fully buggy-accessible.
Kidadlers say: Kidadler Hannah says "Greenwich park is amazing, the flower garden at the top in particular."
Emily has lived in London for ten years, and still loves discovering new places to explore in the capital with her two little brothers. She loves all things lifestyle and fashion, she is a fashion designer and artist, as well as working with arts charities to facilitate workshops and outreach on crafts, fashion, and design for children with special needs and children with difficult home lives who might otherwise not have access, from toddlers to teenagers. Emily is also a trained life coach and loves talking and writing about general wellness, mindfulness and healthy relationships.