Sure; the little spot of the UK capital that’s Battersea Park (to be found just across the River Thames from Chelsea and South Kensington) might not be right in the heart of things, but if you’ve made your base the West End district, you definitely shouldn’t rule out paying it (and its highlights) a visit – especially if you’ve kids in tow and fancy trying out somewhere a little off the usual tourist-trap map…
Pump House Gallery
This treasure, located right in the centre of the park, is the perfect visitors’ spot for those of an artistic bent who fancy upping sticks for a summer’s day from the centre of town (while staying at a centrally-located accommodation like the hotel Grand Royale Hyde Park London), thanks to its eclectic blend of events, exhibits and open-to-all-comers projects. To that end, it’s a gallery that attempts to be welcoming to everyone, so much so you’re free to participate in its many contemporary arts projects and activities whoever you and from wherever you hail. Ideal – and ideally located, owing its picturesque surroundings – for trying your hand at something new.
Battersea Power Station
Europe’s largest brick building, no less, the imposing and iconic Battersea Power Station is a Grade II-listed masterpiece of 20th Century art deco architecture. Indeed, it’ll be instantly recognisable to rock music fans for its featuring on the cover of the seminal 1977 Pink Floyd album ‘Animals’ and to many a big- and small-screen fan owing to appearances in everything from Hitchcock’s ‘Sabotage’ to Monty Python’s ‘The Meaning of Life’ to (yes, of course) ‘Doctor Who’. Nowadays an abandoned 40-acre site that’s been standing idle for the last 35 years, it’s been rife for demolition for much of that time despite the many visitors its vicinity attracts; however, there’s now a plan hatching that’s set to turn the building into a conglomeration of new homes, shops, a park and a Northern line Tube station – watch this space!
The Peace Pagoda
A delightful hidden gem – again, to be found in the park itself – the Peace Pagoda was gifted to London by the Venerable Nichidatsu Fuji way back in 1984; a beguiling if imposing monument erected to quietly yet potently remind those who pass it and look on it of the struggles for world peace our beautiful planet has and always will face. Perfect then for a moment or two of calm reflection during a day spent away from the hustle-bustle of Central London (and some of the best restaurants near Hyde Park) for family picnicking in this blissful park.
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
Finally, what could be a better highlight of the area than the park’s own delightfully small but perfectly formed zoo, which is designed especially to appeal to little ones (and, well, the little child in all of us, over whom wee, cuddly critters can cast a spell). It may be modest in size, but it’s one of the very best of the city’s lesser-known zoos, featuring many a cute, furry creature, as well as a large on-site sandpit, playground, fire engine and life-size tractor for your little tykes to play away the day on, if the mood so takes them – and you!