We haven’t been out much recently what with illness and a little more illness. But as this week has gone on it has been apparent that we needed to do something, go somewhere to explore and work off some of the excess energy that has been building up now everyone is (almost) back to normal. So today we went to London Wetland Centre. I have looked at the website for the Wetlands a few times before after reading blogs from others who have been, but I have always been put of by the cost to be honest, and not realising just how close it is to us and how much there is to see and do! I never imagined a wetlands in London would be so big, so amazing, and so full of wildlife!
Gordon was working in Barnes earlier in the week and he noticed it and suggested we go. We all knew we wanted to go out somewhere today, but were torn between Wisley (costing nothing as we are members) or the Wetland Centre (costing £ as we are not members) but after some debate we decided to give it a go as we were in the mood for trying something new!
When we arrived our first impressions were very good. The lady at the desk was very helpful, explaining what was happening during the day and where to go to see certain things. We walked into the courtyard and noticed two signposted routes, the South Route and the West route. After consulting the map we decided to start with the South Route – maybe there was a reason for this but I can’t remember what it was now!
The first area we looked round was the Pond Zone, which I think in a few months time I would struggle to get my kids away from, but right now there was not much to see in any of the ponds so we had a quick look round and then carried along the path. The kids really liked Sustainable gardens and we all had a good look at the large bug hotels. We’d love to build something in our garden so were looking for ideas!
We had told the kids that they needed to walk slowly and quietly around the centre because of all the birds around and they were brilliant for the majority of the time. The photo above shows them waiting quietly and patiently for a Moorhen to cross the path in front of them!
We continued around the South Route to the first bird hide. So far all we had seen was the gardens and ponds so we were keen to see the Wetlands in full so we went in the hide.. and we weren’t disappointed. The view in front of us was amazing! We also got our first glimpse of just what a special place this was when we spotted a Cormarant! A cormarant.. in London! We also spotted a heron and lots of ducks, gulls, coots and moorhens.
We didn’t stay in the hide for long and as it was getting late we decided to head over to the cafe for some lunch. We treated ourselves to bowls of chips and the most delicious Potato and Leek soup, followed by an ice lolly for everyone. The kids were thrilled to have the first ice lolly of the year and that really did show that Spring is on its way!
After lunch we walked back along the path and carried on towards the Berkeley Bat House (not quite what we expected and Jasmine was quite disappointed not to actually see any bats), past the Sand martin nest bank (I can’t wait to revisit when the birds are nesting) and up to the Peacock Tower, a three storey hide overlooking the main lake and lagoons.
I took Jasmine and Thomas up to the top of Peacock Tower to see the view. We didn’t stay for long as there were some serious bird watchers there and I didn’t want to disturb them too much, but both of the kids really enjoyed seeing all the birds from so high up! Jasmine said it was good because she was as high as the birds flying! The views are absolutely stunning. It is hard to believe that you are seeing all these wonderful birds with London as a backdrop!
After we had been in Peacock Tower, we walked back around the Sheltered lagoon and to the path we had started on. The kids had been really well behaved all the way round, keeping quiet and listening to the bird calls so next on the agenda was the adventure playground! Time for them to run, jump and let off some steam!
By the time we had finished in the play area we realised we didn’t have time to get back to the courtyard and start along the West Route around the centre! So we only managed to see half of the Wetlands today! We had such an amazing day though we decided to join as members, so now we can go back whenever we want and explore some more. I think if the kids had their way we’d be going back tomorrow! I am going to try and hold off until next week when Gordon is working nights and I need to get everyone out of the house so he can sleep during the day. With the weather for next week looking good I am fairly certain London Wetland Centre will be top of our to-do list!