An oasis in the city of London — Photo courtesy of Samuel MannThe WWT London Wetland Centre has been developing slowly and quietly in London since its birth in 2000. It may not be exactly new, but as an oasis of tranquility in (almost) the heart of London - in Barnes in the west of the city to be precise - it just keeps getting better and better. In 2012, the centre won the accolade "The UK's Favorite Nature Reserve," and the plants and animals that it attracts just keep evolving.
The centre was created on the footprint of 3 disused reservoirs, so all the paths around the wetlands are flat and possible for wheelchairs, pushchairs and strollers to access. Children under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult, but adults and children alike will get loads out of this amazing place.
Guided walks at the London wetlands teach you about the biodiversity on offer — Photo courtesy of Samuel Mann
The centre boasts daily guided walks, tours and an ever-changing calendar of special events that ranges from talks on how to garden for wildlife coming up in June to focuses on astronomy and bird watching. You can feed the otters or try and spot the seven different species of bats who make the wetlands their home. There is even a bittern, one of the rarest and noisiest birds in the British isles.
Calm, quiet nature in London — Photo courtesy of Samuel Mann
There are wildflowers aplenty, butterflies, moths, lapwings, sand martins, slow worms and warblers, dragonflies, damselflies and Gadwalls, which can all be spotted from the three-story peacock tower that's equipped with a lift. In spring, the place is alive with the screeching croaks of marsh frogs, in winter the wild ducks arrive, and in summer flowers and butterflies prettify everything. Birds of prey are also present, with buzzards and falcons regularly spotted, and the centre has days when you can meet some of those birds and learn more about them. A perfect family day out.