Ride a pink pedalo at Stubbers Adventure Centre

What?: One of those places where you can abseil and kayak and shoot air rifles, except I was there with my two- and five-year olds and I despise extreme sports anyway. We were just there for the flamingo-(and swan- and dragon-)shaped pedalos and the ridiculously cool-looking playground – and given how cheap general admission is I’d encourage everyone else to go for the same.

And I may be prone to exaggeration, but when I say ridiculously cool-looking playground I do not lie. The centrepiece is a giant wooden leaning-wall structure that you can scale and penetrate via windows or jutting tunnels, or approach from the reverse by means of a huge pile of logs. It’s honestly one of the best playground structures I’ve ever seen in my long and eventful playground-critiquing career. And there was a whole bunch of other stuff in there too, from wobbly bridges to Viking swings.

There’s loads to do here – just take a look at their website for a seemingly endless list of activities – but I was impressed by how much we got out of essentially doing the bare minimum. One of my favourite things had to be the giant gazebos that made eating our homemade picnic on this absurdly windy day an absolute joy. And I know it’s weird to talk about picnic gazebos when there’s all this other stuff going on, but seriously why doesn’t everywhere have them? Oh and the cafe offers six types of hot chocolate – that’s really important too.

Where: Find Stubbers Adventure Centre on Ockendon Rd in Upminster (postcode RM14 2TY). Upminster is still technically London despite having a Romford postcode and being in the furthest reaches of the Hammersmith & City line. From Upminster, catch the 370 bus, which will drop you right outside.

When: Stubbers is open 9am-7pm every day in the summer months.

Tickets: General admission is £3 for everyone aged five and over, while under-5s go free. Everything other than the playground (including the pedalos, although these were pretty cheap) costs extra, and can be booked along with general admission via the Stubbers website.

Where to Next: This is kind of an all-day deal, but if you did want to go on somewhere else then Belhus Woods Country Park (also home to an excellent playground) is right next door.


Babu, Roro and Bab Dad test out the flamingo pedalo at Stubbers Adventure Centre, Upminster