The school summer holidays are nearly upon us and if the recent sunny weather in London is anything to go by, we've got a hot couple of months ahead of us. Unfortunately, like many other families in the capital, we don't have a private garden, and so during the hot weather, when everyone else in the country is cracking open their back doors and filling their paddling pools, me, my husband and our two young girls go out in search of outdoor water play. Luckily there are many free-to-use paddling pools near us, but our favourite by far is located at Dukes Meadows in Chiswick.
The circular-shaped pool is located within a safe gated area that has lots of flowers and grass, picnic benches, a cafe and a sand pit. One of my favourite things about the pool is that little ones can walk straight into the water - there's no step for them to fall down - and it is perfectly shallow for splashing around. The centre of the pool has a fountain which is lots of fun for the slightly bigger children to climb up to.
Another big plus point is the cafe - it serves hot and cold drinks, ice creams, lollies and reasonably priced lunch options such as pizza, chips or salad. It means you don't have to worry about packing a picnic if you don't want to and there is also a unisex toilet to one side of the cafe too. With the sandpit and the shallow water, it is almost like spending a day at the beach without even leaving the city.
Next to the water play, in a separate part is the play park. Aimed at older kids it has a giant slide, tyre swings, a zip wire and a big climbing frame. According to the website local school children helped design the playground and were involved in its construction.
Each Sunday, just behind the water play area there is a farmers' market from 10am - 2pm, selling lots of delicious food such as eggs, cheese and bread. So you can really make a day of it - there's so much going on in the area and throughout the summer there are the following special events taking place:
Sunday 23 July – Cute farm animals visit the Farmers' Market Sunday 6th August - Birds of prey at the Farmers' Market then watch them fly in the park Sunday 20 August – Punch & Judy by the Paddling Pool Sunday 3 September – Donkey Rides in the Park
Dukes Meadows is located near the river in Chiswick - its address is: The Pavilion, Market Drive, Chiswick W4 2RX. Click here for directions and public transport options. The facility is completely free to use, the only thing you'll pay for is food and drink if you choose. Remember to pack swimsuits, sun cream and towels if you want your children to fully enjoy the water play!