20 Things to do in South West London

Although we’re avid travellers and love a good trip away, we’re actually based in South West London most of the time. This green and spacious area of the city is a welcome residential retreat from the hustle and bustle of the centre. From Tooting Bec and Balham in the east and all the way to Richmond and Twickenham, this huge area has an amazing amount of activities and attractions. Whether you live SW or are planning a visit, our list of the top things to do in South West London will give you plenty of inspiration!

Explore the parks, take a stroll by the Thames and generally have a blast in this vibrant corner of London. Read on for the best things to do in South West London, all hand-chosen by us.

See stunning plants from around the globe at Kew Gardens

Things to do South West London - Japanese gardens at Kew

Kew Gardens is one of our favourite things to do in South West London. This huge botanical garden is full of plants from around the world. Stop by the Japan inspired gardens for authentic temples, beautiful cherry-blossom trees and Bonsai, whilst the central greenhouse immerses you into an Amazon-rain-forest style environment, complete with the warm humidity. Kew Gardens is a place that can be visited during all four seasons for a different experience and it runs events throughout the year. A hidden gem of a South West London attraction. Visit the Kew Gardens website.

Wander the beautiful nature of Richmond Deer Park

Early morning view of Richmond Park with a deer in the distance

In the sprawling metropolis that is London, you wouldn’t expect to find herds of deer running freely in a park. Richmond Park is unlike many of the other parks in London as it’s more of a nature reserve. The entire 2,500-acre area is filled with trees, nature walks, a pretty lake and bundles of wildlife. You won’t find any commercial shops or recreational activities and will love getting lost outdoors. We recommend renting a bike or simply venturing into the park on foot with a picnic. View map location.

Have a blast in the games room of Four Thieves pub in Clapham Junction

Sometimes you just want to lie back with a pint and relax when you go to a pub. Other times call for a little bit of excitement, and that’s exactly what the Four Thieves provides. The downstairs is an upbeat bar that’s every evening, whilst upstairs is home to lots of fun arcade games. Race your friends on the remote-controlled cars track, play ping pong, try some classic arcade games or shoot some hoops. The Four Thieves games room takes any date or night out with friends to the next level! View map location.

Have a picnic on one of the Common’s

In the warmer months of the year, London is a great place to be! Everyone flocks to the parks of South West London to enjoy picnics on the grass, games of football and tennis tournaments. You’ll also find fairgrounds, music festivals and food stalls. Enjoy a cheap day out with friends or family by visiting one of South West London’s best parks, with Wimbledon Common, Clapham Common, Wandsworth Park and Bishop’s Park in Fulham all having something unique to offer. In colder months, take a stroll past the frosty landscapes and go for a morning jog to warm up.

Clapham Common (View on map)

Wandsworth Park (View on map)

Wimbledon Common (View on map)

Bishop’s Park, Fulham (View on map)

Visit the historic Hampton Park Palace

South West London attractions - Shows Hampton Park Palace and gardens

Wander through the immaculate gardens of Hampton Court (just west of Kingston) and you’ll encounter the grandeur Hampton Park Palace. This 1500’s era royal palace is everything you’d expect from a royal British building and has been adapted through the ages to be suited to the taste of various kings, queens, lords and ladies. Visit the different quarters of the palace on a tour and then explore the gardens on foot. It’s one of the best things to do in South West London on a warm day and will be particularly suited to history lovers.

Unleash some energy at Flip Out – Wandsworth

Flip Out is a new craze sweeping the capital, with new locations popping up everywhere. Imagine a giant maze of trampolines, soft play obstacles and sports activities all under one roof. Bounce around on the trampolines, play basketball, knock your friend into the ball pit on the battle beam and generally have fun. Whilst this giant adventure centre is perfect for families, adults can get involved too. Why not take your partner and pretend you’re a kid again for a couple of hours? Visit the Flip Out website.

Check out the wildlife at WWT London Wetland Centre

London Wetland Centre marshland
Image courtesy of user Diliff – Wiki Creative Commons

London Wetland Centre is an almost unknown thing to do in South West London, especially for tourists! For an afternoon escape into nature, you couldn’t find a better place. Pay the entrance fee of ~£14 and emerge into a marshland of wildlife, lakes and greenery. You’ll be able to spot various species of otters and squirrels or use the on-site binoculars to spot birds in the distance. An unusual but relaxing place to visit that’s great for nature lovers.

Go for a long bike ride by the river, from Putney to Chiswick

Being in one of the greenest areas of London, you really have to make the most of the long scenic trails, parks and riverside. We recommend renting a bike in Wandsworth or Putney and cycling along the river, all the way to Hammersmith and then Chiswick. Both the Putney and Fulham sides of the river have accessible bike paths and you’ll love the view you capture as you leisurely explore the river banks. Stop at a bar or restaurant to take a break along the way.

Check out our recommended cycle route below. If you’d prefer to walk, simply cut the route short and stop your walk at Hammersmith Bridge.

Have a game of quirky mini golf

London is fun of cool date ideas and mini golf is usually hovering at the top of the list. You can play mini golf in almost every borough! Take your partner or challenge a few friends. South West London has some excellent mini golf courses in its parks and we’ve highlighted our favourites below.

Putt in the Park Wandsworth – Putt in the Park is available in both Putney and Battersea and is best enjoyed when the weather’s nice as the course is outside. It has a spacious 19 holes course that never feels too busy and the challenges are very creative. Buy an ice lolly and catch some rays on a Sunday afternoon. View on map.

Birdies Golf Battersea Power Station – Different to the outdoor mini golf mentioned above, Birdies at Battersea Power Station is best enjoyed on an evening and makes a great night out. Order a cocktail and proceed to complete the wacky entourage of mini golf holes. The music is blaring and the décor is groovy. View on map.

Enjoy a cold drink at one of the many river pubs

The pub culture in London is unlike any other city in the UK. After-work drinks with colleagues, catching up with friends and casual first dates all call for a refreshing drink at the pub, and South West London fuels this perfectly. Stop by one of the many riverside pubs along the Thames for a pint with a view. Outdoor seating and a lively atmosphere are expected, making them great summer spots.

Here is a selection of our favourite South West London pubs along the Thames:

Fuller’s Brewery Tour, Chiswick

A selection of beers on Fuller's Brewery tour

Walk around Fuller’s Brewery in Chiswick on a guided tour and you’ll learn the ins and outs of beer making. It’s a cool experience that teaches you the history of this iconic brewery and you’ll get to sample plenty of beers at the end of the tour. Stop by their on-site shop at the end for discounted beers and taste them all to find your favourite. It’s one of the best things to do in South West London for beer lovers! Once you’ve finished the tour, walk around the streets, shops and cafes of Chiswick. It’s a beautiful area of London and a popular place to live for the rich and famous.

Swing through the trees at Battersea Park Go Ape

For an adventure day with friends, family or a partner, ascend to the trees of Battersea Park for a day of ziplining, tree climbing and forest obstacles. The Go Ape brand is famous UK-wide for their treetop adventures and the Battersea Park attraction is perfectly accessible for anyone that lives in London. Book your spot in advance and combine it with a picnic in the park for a fun day out. It’s great for both adults and families.

Chill-out by an outdoor swimming pool

One of our favourite things to do in South West London in the summer is hunting down the best outdoor pools to spend a day relaxing in the sun. It’s rare for the UK to get hot sunny days that rival Southern Europe, but London can be surprisingly warm. Unbeknownst to many, there are some excellent outdoor lido pools in South-West London that restrict the number of visitors, so it’ll never feel overly crowded. Book a space in advance to secure your sun lounger!

We recommend the following outdoor pools:

Visit Little Korea in New Malden

Korean food in a restaurant - Things to do South West London

As one of the most multi-cultural destinations on the planet, London is home to people from all of the world. Specific areas of London have unique draws to different nationalities, infusing world-wide pockets of culture across the city. For a taste of Korean food, shops and festivals in South-West London, visit Little Korea, a vibrant corner of New Malden. Check it out on a weekend for a foodie tour of the restaurants or pick up some ingredients at the market. It’s the best place in town for Korean food! View on map.

Watch live stand-up at Half Moon Comedy Club or Banana Cabaret Club Balham

London’s centre has some of the best comedy clubs in the world, many of which have once welcomed the rising stars of the comedy world. Stand-up comedy has a huge following in the capital and South West London is no different. Our personal favourites for evening comedy shows are Banana Cabaret Club in Balham or the unassuming Half Moon pub in Putney. Visit their websites for the upcoming event plan and book a cosy night of laughs in a close-knit bar environment. It’s cheap, cheerful and a great start to a night out.

Plan a night out with friends

Shows a traditional London pub - South West London attractions

When people think of a night out in London, the first thoughts are central London, Soho, the skyscrapers of the City of London or areas such as Shoreditch or Brixton. The beauty of London’s many districts and its enormous size is that you have mini nightlife hubs everywhere. Stay South West for a night out and you’ll experience a more local nightlife scene with some excellent bars and clubs. It feels way less touristic than the nightlife of Soho, however bars are quieter on weekdays. We recommend checking out the following areas for the best nightlife in South West London:

  • Clapham – The nightlife hub of the South West. Check out the classy cocktail bars and pubs of Clapham Junction and late-night party vibes of Clapham High Street.
  • Putney – Walk down the main high street from the train station to the river and you’ll encounter plenty of pubs, cocktail bars and one main nightclub – Fez.
  • Fulham and Chelsea – For a nightlife scene on a classier (and more expensive) scale, tour the champagne and cocktail bars of Fulham and Chelsea area and rock up to a late-night club such as Embargos.
  • Battersea Power Station – If you want a night out with some cool bars and restaurants and aren’t keen on late-night clubbing, the vibrant bar-scene of Battersea Power Station is highly recommended. Check out Birdies mini golf at the same time (mentioned above).

Events in South West London:

See a football match at Craven Cottage or Stamford Bridge

Best Things to do South West London - Stamford Bridge pitch

If you’re a football fan, you’ll know that South West London is home to two of the city’s biggest teams, Fulham and Chelsea FC. To see a top-flight match with some of the best players in the world, book tickets in advance and visit the match with friends. Even if you don’t like football, a home game at either Chelsea or Fulham is an experience in itself and the atmosphere is electric. Chelsea play at Stamford Bridge, whilst Fulham play at Craven Cottage stadium. Fulham is the cheaper match of the two, however the stadium and experience is on a smaller scale.

Dress up and attend a horse racing event at Sandown

Shows horses racing at Sandown racecourse
Image courtesy of Carine06 – Creative Commons

We’ve all heard of race day at Cheltenham, Ascot and the UK’s other extravagant horse racing venues; however, South West London has its very own ‘Sandown Race Course’. At key events throughout the spring and summer, everyone dresses up in their best and descends on the race course for an action-packed day of betting, sipping Pimms and catching up with friends. It’s a fun day out for adults and you can get there in less than half an hour by train from Waterloo station. Browse the Sandown website and book tickets in advance. We’ve been four times and it’s always a great day out!

Watch rugby, American Football or a music concert at Twickenham Stadium

Things to do South West London - Shows a full Twickenham stadium
Image courtesy of Diliff – Wiki Creative Commons

Twickenham Stadium is the official home of England rugby and the national team play all of their home games here. For top class International events such as the Six Nations, book tickets for a match and rock up to the roar of Twickenham Stadium. The arena seats a massive 82,000 people and the atmosphere is always electric. Aside from rugby, it also hosts big music concerts and a line-up of NFL American Football games throughout the season. View the latest event plan on the official website.

Embrace the atmosphere of the Famous Three Kings sports pub

If you’re looking for things to do in South West London on a day where there’s a big sports game, a trip to Famous Three Kings pub in West Kensington is our top choice for live matches. International football, cup finals, big rugby games and other high-profile events attract an amazing atmosphere here. Embrace the roaring crowd and cheer on your team with a pint. We think it’s one of the best places in London to watch live sport!

Now we’ve inspired you with the best things to do in South West London, all that’s left to do is explore… We encourage everyone – tourists and locals alike, to explore this vibrant corner of the city. If you love parks, cafes and nature over the gritty urban atmosphere of the east and north, you’ll feel at home right away! If you have any questions about the recommendations on our list or about South West London in general, hit us up!


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