Our Picks – London’s Best Play Fountains
  • June 10, 2016
  • Leticia Maciel Co-founder, The Inside Edit

    somerset house play fountain the insdide edit


    Finding things to do in this wonderful city called London is not hard, and it’s easily one of the best places around the world for free events, activities and things to see. But what do you do when you feel the need for some water based play, especially when it isn’t quite hot enough to justify a trek out of town to the beach?


    Play Fountains!! That’s the answer – manageable frivolous fun in the capital that requires minimum effort on the part of parents but gets the maximum energy out of our kids. Or at least that’s the idea. All you need is a towel and some change of clothes and you can hit any one of the spots in town for some good old fashioned fun. It’s the perfect way to cool off on a warm day. Even a bit of cloud and a chill in the air usually isn’t enough to stop a kid’s urge to get wet.


    We recently took the kids to Somerset house, which with the cobbled floor and grand setting, can almost feel like an escape to Italy. You can grab your drinks from the café and sit around the square enjoying the setting and soaking the sun. The kids had an incredible time and we were able to comfortably keep an eye on them from the side lines with a fresh lemonade.


    So with that in mind, we are inspired to share with you our picks of the capital’s best fountain play areas. If you live in London or are just visiting, check these spots out for some great family fun.


    Somerset house
    The Strand, WC2


    somerset house play fountain


    Starting off with possibly our favourite – a dignified courtyard with a mischievous streak! Outdoor movies in the summer and in the winter it hosts as a spectacular ice rink, Sommerset House is an iconic venue that also has lovely play fountains with 55 water jets that spray up to different heights (up to six meters!) to keep the kids guessing. Note, the venue caters for Fashion Week, open air films, gigs etc so make sure you check the website before heading over.


    Switched on daily 10.00-23.00 

    Underground station: Temple

    Visit website


    Diana Memorial fountain
    Hyde Park, W2


    diana memorial play fountain


    What an amazing legacy for Princess Diana, a place of flowing water where kids can play happily with boundless fun. The fountain is a large circular fountain made of 545 pieces of Cornish granite with different patterns and stages for the water to cascade, traverse and bubble through. The water is constantly being refreshed and is drawn from London’s water table.


    The fountain can get very busy with the bigger kids splashing everyone around them, so if you’re child is still under 3, stay close to them. Perfect spot for a picnic so bring your hamper and relax on the smooth lawns around the fountain.


    Open April – August: 10.00 – 20.00, September: 10.00 – 19.00

    Underground station: Lancaster Gate or Knightsbridge

    Visit website


    Appearing Rooms
    Southbank Centre, SE1


    southbank play fountain


    Jeppe Hein’s ‘Appearing Rooms’ is an interactive fountain where walls of water shoot into the air that disappear as quickly as they emerge creating a series of constantly changing ‘rooms’. Be prepared for the kids to get completely soaked in this mesmerising work of art. Adults will be able to wait for the fountains to stop before entering the rooms. It is just amazing getting inside and shutting London out with water.


    Open every day except Mondays, excluding bank holiday

    Underground station: Waterloo

    Visit website


    Granary square fountains
    Kings Cross, N1C


    kings cross play play fountain


    There are an incredible 1,080 choreographed jets, squirting and splashing in patterns to the surprise and delight kids of all ages. Bring a picnic, there are tables around the square or take advantage of the nearby KERB street food market or the Benugo van for take-out treats. Toilets and changing facilities can also be found on the square.


    … and something else fun to know about these fountains – do you remember playing snake on your old Nokia? Well Granary Squirt is an app that turns your smartphone into your very own fountain remote control! That’s right, you can control the fountain with your phone and play this massively addictive game to the delight of onlookers!




    Open daily from 07.40am – 23.30pm

    Underground station: Kings Cross

    Visit website


    Olympic park
    Stratford, E20


    Olympic park play fountain


    The site of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games has been transformed into an urban parkland – one of the largest of its kind in Europe. With 195 individually controlled jets of water, the topsy-turvy swirls are a firm favourite for visitors of all ages.


    The fountains are choreographed in different sequences and heights, tempting children to race through without getting wet – the adults preferring to sit back and watch the fun. At night, when the shrieks of soaked visitors dies down, the fountain lights up with a colourful neon glow.


    Open daily from 07.40am – 23.30pm

    Underground station: Stratford

    Visit website 


    Have we missed anything? Let us know what you think below!

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