One of the fascinating things about London is its contrasts, and the London Wetland Centre in Barnes is one of the most striking and enjoyable examples. Visitors can step out of the city into a wet, wild and wonderful nature preserve that's home to thousands of species of birds, as well as other captivating creatures such as insects, bats and the elusive water vole.
The Wetland Centre is a member the World Wildfowel Trust, a leading conservation organisation, and has been recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Made from redundant water resevoirs that now form lakes, pools, marshes and lagoons the 42-hectare site also boasts a variety of wildflowers and spectacular views (try the sunset) from observation points such as the three-story Peacock Tower (named for Mr. Peacock, the contributor).
There are free tours twice a day or visitors can explore on their own armed with a map, and can observe the feathery residents from the six wildfowel hides and join in feeding the endagered captive collection. And for feeding the humans there's a choice of cafe or picnic area.
The Centre has an interactive Discovery Area for children and is open all year round so visitors have the opportunity to experience the various stages of activity of the wetlands, making in the perfect outing for all ages anytime.