Storybook Gardens Brings The Magic Back Into London
Some of the best memories from my childhood are from Storybook Gardens. My mom ran a daycare and would often pull me out of school for the day to go with her and the kids, and I was always grateful. I remember pretending to be a princess pirate while climbing up the side of a “ship” and feeling like I was absolutely invincible. It’s memories like these that are inspired by a place that encourages imagination and story that will last a lifetime.
The park is full of good family-friendly fun and celebrates all things fantastical and pulls you inside the stories that encapsulate childhood. As you head through the beautiful castle and tour the park to play, you’ll be passing by Humpty Dumpty and all kinds of storybook characters. The park is located inside of Springbank Park, which means that even parents get to enjoy the beautiful scenery as you watch your little ones interact, imagine, and enjoy hands-on play. The park gets around 150,000 visitors with only about half of those being actual Londoners, so it’s a great tourist attraction. If you have not yet had the pleasure of taking your kids there, here is everything that you’re missing out on.
Inside the park
Springbank ExpressThis fun train ride has been part of the park for over 100 years. It’s actually outside of the Storybook Garden castle but is still part of Storybook’s enchanting experience. It goes through the idyllic Springbank park grounds and is family-friendly fun.
The CarouselGo back in time to simpler days when you take your family on the fun and classic horse carousel ride.
Frog King’s Leaping LilypadTrampolines are fun but can be a bit of a hazard. The leaping lilypad is bouncy good fun for that is safe for the whole family.
Storybook Village StageFrom sing-a-longs, and stories, to performances and fun characters, these two stages are set up to deliver all kinds of fun entertainment for you and your whole family. Take a load off and enjoy the music and theatrics that will thrill and delight your kids.
Frog Pond LookoutYou never know what wildlife you’ll see when you go to the lookout. From frogs and turtles to heron and carp, the spot is a great one for the nature lovers in your family.
Village Square Concession
Enjoy all of the delicious meals and treats that this concession has to offer. There are shaded picnic areas close by, so grab something hot and delicious (or cold and delicious if it’s too hot of a day to think of eating anything other than ice cream), and find a beautiful spot for you and your family to take a break and enjoy the gub.
On The Riverbank SplashpadWhen it’s a hot summer’s day, is there anything as wonderful as a splash pad? Let your kids run around and get sprayed, splashed, and dumped on as they cool off from the summer heat.
Pieces of Eight ConcessionHot dogs, sausages, chips, ice cream, cold drinks all wait for your enjoyment as you’ve made your way through most of the park.
Valley Villages PlayhousesA series of playhouses line this area to spark the fun of play and imagination in your kids. Let them stay and create stories and characters while you watch or join in with them! This way, they truly get engulfed in the fairytale world.
Hands in the SandThis giant sandbox has over 90 tonnes of quality sand for play. There are a ton of toys and two water sources for your kids to play. For adults, there is a shaded area for them to sit and watch, and enjoy the beautiful surrounding gardens. And if you’re thinking about just how dirty kids can get playing in the sand, fear not because Storybook has thought of everything. There is a cleanup area that has soft brushes and a hose.
Amusement ridesThere is a giant swing set that spins around. A spinning elephant ride for your little ones is a safe and fun ride. No place with an amusement ride section is complete without the classic Ferris wheel. Last, but not least, the carpet slide is a way to enjoy a slide like you have never experienced before.
Felix the Fox’s Archery RangeWho hasn’t wanted to feel like Robin Hood for a moment? Test your aim and your skills as you try your shot at using a bow and arrow to hit your target. Older children will love trying this out!
Pirate’s Play ZoneThere is a rock climbing wall, a pirate ship to climb up and slide down, a giant net that is fun for kids to climb up and around, the giant tower slide where kids can see across the park, the toddler play zone, and finally the pirates training tower, which includes things to climb, crawl through and slide down.
Storybook Gardens has been a part of London’s great city since 1958 and it used to be focused on animals and fairytales. It was a place to walk through with your kids and feel like you were inside of a storybook, with pieces of fairy tales coming to life right before your eyes, such as the giant shoe house that the old woman lived in. And the Storybook zoo allowed kids to see seals and animals that they wouldn’t normally get to see.
Slippery the Sea Lion is perhaps the most adorable and humorous part of Storybook’s history. A few days before it was set to open for the first time, Slippery lived up to his name and escaped the park. He was found 10 days later, swimming his way to Sandusky, Ohio and was safely returned to the park.
In 2008 it was decided that Storybook Zoo would be closed, and the park would focus on turning the park into a more interactive experience for kids, and wanted to put in more fun activities for the kids to partake in. The park has been revamped and for anyone who hasn’t been to it in quite a few years, it is more than definitely worth the trip back!
The Fall Season
Just because the weather is getting cooler in the fall doesn’t mean that the fun has to end! During weekdays in the fall, the playgrounds, the sand area, play village, Leaping Lilypad jumping pillow, and pedal cars will be open. And on weekends, all of that plus the amusement rides will be open. Oh, and also the DELICIOUS Bevertale and Village square concessions to make sure that you are left wanting for nothing.
The fall season also means the opening of the alphabet maze, which is sure to delight your kids as they rush through all of the letters, trying to find their exit!
In October, look forward to Storyspook Village! It’s a great place for families to get their fill of spooky (NOT scary) fun! Come in costume and bring loot bags to trick or treat your way through the park. Listen to singing pumpkins, and interact with the fun costumed characters that roam the park all night! There are mazes, and Halloween themed games and activities to enjoy. Coffin plinko, anyone? The entire park is decorated for spooky-good family fun and isn’t meant to scare your kids.
The Winter Season
Just because Storybook Gardens is known for its fun summer activities does not mean that this place closes down completely for the winter. Instead, it becomes a winter wonderland full of family fun. The park includes a gorgeous skating trail that winds around and past the trees for 250 meters. The entire area is lit up with holiday lights, making the entire experience festive.
Then, because every skating adventure should be followed by a warm beverage, your family can head over to the Beavertails concession for delicious hot chocolate and Beavertails pastry.
If there is anything in this city that has the power to draw families out of hibernation on cold winter nights, it is the skating and treats at Storybook Gardens.
Junior Day CampThe Junior Day Camp is for 4-5-year-olds and will include a bunch of fun activities as well as free-play all within the fantastical and adventurous walls of Storybook Gardens.
Senior Day CampThe Senior Day Camp is for 6-9-year-olds. The kids have fun exploring Storybook Gardens, but will also head outside of the castle and enjoy the beauty of Springbank Park. Senior campers will get to try their hands at fun activities like archery!
You can rest assured that you’re leaving your kids in good hands as Storybook Gardens is very selective about the people the hire for the camp staff. It’s mandatory for every staff member to attend training sessions before camp beginnings to go over safety, risk management, inclusion, and bullying recognition and prevention. Plus every single staff member must pass a Vulnerable Positions Screen police check. They also make sure that they’re hiring mature, fun, and energizing staff members who are going to enjoy working with your kids every day.
Your child’s days will be filled with fun and adventure. They’ll get refreshed playing in the splash pad, have some hands-on learning with fun and kid-friendly science experiments, play in the peep village and playhouses, read stories, and feed the ducks, just to name a few activities.
P.D. Day CampThere are two P.D days in June and Storybook Gardens offers day camps for your little ones, ages 4-9. Your kids will enjoy the splash pad, rides, and fun activities in Storybook Gardens!
You’ll want to stay informed about all of the events that happen in Storybook Gardens. There is always something happening, whether it’s a puppet show or a family friendly concert, so any day that you head to the park is sure to be a good one. There are some events like Princess days or Superhero days that you’ll want to know about beforehand so that you can make sure your little one is dressed to join in on the fun! Other events, like scavenger hunts, are fun for the whole family! Then there are events that get the audience interacting, whether that’s joining the show up on stage, or one of the many fun crafting and building events where the kids get to learn with hands-on play! And finally, there are talent shows that let your little ones show off their talents!
Storybook Gardens is such a quintessential experience for young ones. It brings together the love of adventure, story and imagination into one fun-filled day of hands-on play. It’s an entertaining experience for kids and the adults as you let the waves of nostalgia wash over you in such a beautiful environment. Make sure to keep an eye out for everything, they’ve got going on and make sure that a visit to Storybook is on your to-do list for this summer!