Let’s face it family days out in London can seem like hard work. The crowds, the transport system (and at times even the kids) can all get rather tiresome. Heading to the zoo might sound like home from home, but can actually prove to be a fantastic family day out – and if the children act up, the lion’s den is never far away. With this in mind, Battersea Park Children’s Zoo could prove quite the tonic. Based by the Chelsea Gate entrance of Battersea Park, it offers an exciting animal experience that combines a zoo, animal encounters, a play area and relaxing cafe.

Before finding sanctuary in the Lemon Tree café though, the kids will want to interact (or run riot!) with a whole host of their favourite animals – besides their father. Let them get up close with ring-tailed lemurs, mischievous meerkats or feed the zoo’s famous Kune Kune pigs, aptly named Piggle and Wiggle. They’ll get to feed the resident tortoise, pat pygmy goats and strike up a conversation with the ever-popular mynah birds, which actually speak more fluently than most of us after a few glasses of wine. Not sure when chatting to a bird on family days out in London became the norm, but it’s a welcome break from the constant demands you get at home!

Battersea Park Zoo also houses miniature Shetland ponies, giant cuddly rabbits and has some of the cheekiest monkeys outside of your four walls. The zoo’s staff are young, enthusiastic – the complete opposite to how you’ll feel by the end of the day – and ready to teach all visitors about the animals on show.

Once lunchtime arrives and the kids have been plied with various E numbers, fear not, as there is a fabulous play area for them to run free and leave you to ponder who’s great idea it was to have children in the first place. With slides, swings and roundabouts aplenty, they’ll be occupied long enough for you to enjoy a sandwich and ogle the young, attractive zoo staff. Family days out in London never used to be this good, did they?

Battersea Park Children’s zoo makes for one of the most fun-fuelled, manic family days out in London. The zoo also accommodates small groups, school visits and birthday parties. For prices please visit www.batterseaparkzoo.co.uk/visitorinfo.htm.

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