The London Wetland Centre is 42 hectares of wetland and reed beds and is not far from central London - a short bus ride from Hammersmith tube station. You can see birds and flora from wetland habitats around the world.
In August 2006, reader Mary Ferretti went to the London Wetland Centre to check it out for us.
You can imagine you are in the countryside even when it's only 30 minutes from the center of London.
- Get that country feeling while still in London.
- Plenty of children's activities.
- Cafe is "a bit pricey".
- Not as much fun on a cold, rainy day.
Scandinavian garden© Mary Ferretti
If you can't take in any more historic buildings or the weather's too good to be stuck inside museums or art galleries, why not try a trip to the London Wetland Centre
? When I went in late August
the London weather
was fair and not too hot. We could pick out city landmarks on the horizon, across the lagoon, but felt we were in the countryside - not altogether peaceful because the center is situated under the flight path to Heathrow Airport
, so one had to get used to the constant drone of planes overhead.
The center is more "ordered" than I had expected, with zones representing different areas of the world and well-labeled information, principally about the many varieties of birds but also other animals and flora that grow in the wetlands. We saw many different types of duck, wigeon
, not to mention coots
, geese, and swans, a few other wading birds and a brief glimpse of a heron; also dragonflies by the dozen. We weren't lucky enough on this occasion to spot any of the more unusual birds that can be seen at times in the wetlands but this did not spoil the enjoyment.
South American garden© Mary Ferretti
There are plenty of areas where one can picnic, with tables and benches provided, in pleasant surroundings. As we went on the spur of the moment, we made use of the waterside cafe which provides sandwiches, cakes, fruit, etc., and the usual range of drinks, including a good cup of tea - all a bit pricy, as one might expect, but very palatable.
Children are catered for in a range of activities - the most popular, of course, involving water.
The London Wetland Centre is easily accessible by tube to Hammersmith and a short bus journey. (The 283 bus takes you right into the Centre.) I would recommend the Centre as a pleasant day out.