Waterlow Park‍ | Kidadl
Waterlow Park is a stunning hillside park in North London

Waterlow Park‍

Kidadl.com is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read our Terms & Conditions for further information.

  • Waterlow Park is great fun for families, offering trails, activities, playgrounds and sporting facilities, this makes a great day out.
  • Just a short distance away from the bustle of central London, Highgate is a breath of fresh healthy air.
  • Be sure to check out the quiz, nature trails and walks, and nature hunt that Waterlow Park offers, where the little ones can learn about the park as well as have fun. 

Waterlow Park is a stunning hillside park in North London spanning 26 acres of lush greenery. It has fantastic views that grace the city, making it a wonderful stop after a day in Highgate, or for a family day out reconnecting with nature. Opened in 1891, Waterlow Park was actually a gift from Sir Sydney Waterlow to people who did not have a garden, known as a ‘garden for the gardenless’.

The historic Lauderdale House and its gardens sit within the park, which is great to explore if you want to add an educational element to your day out at the park. The park is landscaped with a wide variety of trees, ponds, and colourful borders and grassy slopes that make a wonderful picture. Kids can let their imaginations run free and get creative. 

Be sure to check out the playgrounds, which are situated towards the southern end of the park and ponds, passing through the middle. One of the playgrounds is an enclosed area for younger children under five, and the other is close to the lower Swains Lane entrance, catering more to older children. Kids can have endless fun here and use up some energy while you sit back and relax with a hot beverage from the Cafe in Lauderdale House.

Don’t miss out on the bookable tennis courts for both tennis and netball that the park offers. There’s even a petanque and boules set too, all you need to do is just turn up and get playing! Feel free to bring your own set to use, or borrow one from Lauderdale House Cafe.

After some sporting and exercise, take a break in the Kitchen Garden, which is surrounded by the original yew hedge. The area is quiet and has a wonderful, secluded atmosphere, making it almost feel like a secret garden. Volunteers use space in this garden as a nursery for young plants, bringing with it a real community feel.

The café is open every day and at Lauderdale House, there are a variety of events and activities that families can get involved in, especially those revolving around art, cinema and culture. Waterlow Park is also a great location for picnics and is a fantastic BBQ park in London, so make sure to come with the whole family and friends. 

There is a nature reserve by the upper pond, which is great fun for children to try spotting different creatures and plants. They can learn so much while connecting with nature. Go along a nature trail where you’ll discover so much about the park, its inhabitants and its history. Play in the tree shelter, which is situated on the right, following up to the Upper Pond, near the ‘carriage way’. Around the Upper Pond, follow the trail around and you might see the large terrapin! 

Be sure to check out the Waterlow Park Quiz and put your knowledge to the test. After, why not go on the Waterlow Park Nature Hunt and Alphabet Trail, where you'll go on an adventure as you learn about the park, or learn about numbers and improve maths skills with the Numberland & Mathsland activity that the park offers. There's so much green space in North London, including the wonderful Highgate Wood and huge Hampstead Heath.

What to know before you go

  • The menu at Lauderdale Cafe serves hot food, drinks, snacks, pastries and more. Expect everything from totally indulgent snacks like chocolate brownies, to delicious healthy salads.
  • Plus, there are plenty of other places to go eat, have a drink and relax in Highgate, such as The Flask and Gatehouse pubs, Carob Tree, Hot Stone, and more.
  • Why not bring some burgers and sausages on a summer's day? Camden Council is one of only two councils in London that allows barbecues in its parks. You'll have to use the grilling area on the western side of the park (follow the BBQ smell to find it!) but it's a great way to have a fun day out in the sun.
  • There are public toilets in the Cafe and in the Park Centre.
  • The paths are mostly clear and navigable for buggies and wheelchairs.
  • There are toilets on site; unisex and male and female, plus baby-changing facilities

Getting there

  • Waterlow Park is located towards the top of Highgate Hill.
  • If travelling via Tube, Archway and Highgate stations are about a 10 and 15-minute walk away, respectively, and both on the High Barnet branch of the Northern line. As the park is on a hill, we recommend using Highgate station on the way to the park and Archway on the way back in order to avoid most of the uphill climb.
  • If travelling by bus, you can get to Waterlow Park via the routes 210, 271, W5 or 143.
  • There is limited parking in the area, with a few spaces on on Linkfield Corner and Bell Street, a 30-minute walk away. You may want to try the JustPark app, which allows you to rent private car parking spaces on people’s drives, normally for an affordable price.

More amazing things to do