Things to do in London: WWT Wetland Centre, Barnes

If I was to sell the London Wetland Centre to you in one word it would be – otters. But hey we'll get to that verrry exciting bit later. First let's start with the need-to-knows. Located in Barnes, the land was once four disused Victorian reservoirs before being turned into a nature reserve. Spanning more than 100 acres, it boasts plenty of attractions including several hides and a whole host of brilliant birdlife, including some rarer American species such as the noisy white-faced whistling ducks.

When you arrive you'll be greeted by this lovely bronze statue of Sir Peter Scott and two swans. He was a conservationist and painter who created the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and even designed their swan logo, too. Though the work he's more famous for is the WWF panda logo which is arguably one of the most recognisable designs across the globe. 

A white and black duck perched on a fence in front of reeds.

An otter swimming

My favourite reason to visit will be no surprise to anyone. It's the two Asian small-clawed otters – Tod and Honey. You can see them in action during the feedings (when I visited it was 11am and 1pm) and also hear some interesting facts about them, too. Like how surprisingly these are actually the smallest breed of otters – other types can be as big as 6 foot. Yes, 6 feet of adorableness. You'll also meet a heron who loves to keep an eye out for their lunch and who has become a permanent (albeit unwanted) resident. If you don't catch them outside, they'll probably be chilling in their holt but I've managed to catch them every time I've visited. So you can always pop back later on in the day if you don't catch them the first time.

Brown butterfly

An Egyptian goose walking along

If you've got little ones, there's plenty of activities to do along the way. One of which is a wobbly bridge that hangs just above the water which kids love to jump up and down on – hours of fun (apparently). There's also an outdoor adventure playground, too. So plenty of things for them to get on with.

A man looks out of binoculars as a wetland's landscape through a big two storey window.

One of my personal highlights and my favourites of the hides is The Observatory (pictured above) located at the beginning of the centre. It just has the most amazing panoramic view and is definitely one you won't want to miss. On my last visit there was actually a wedding on, so kudos to that couple for choosing such a unique location.

I hope this review's been helpful and honestly there's no time like the present to visit – it's so beautiful this time of year and there may even be some ducklings pottering about.

Want to visit? Here's the deets

How to get there

If you're driving, there's a large car park with free parking available when you register at the front desk.

The closet station is Barnes. The Wetland centre's about a 15 minute walk away from it.

Queen Elizabeth Walk, London SW13 9WT

Ticket prices

Currently an adult ticket will set you back £14.09 or £15.50 with a donation, while a child's ticket (4-16) costs £8.63/£9.50. There's also some concessions available as well as family group options. Sound like your thing? Book tickets to visit here.

Opening times

9.30am - 5.30am everyday.

Food and drink

They have two cafes on site and plenty of seating all around the place for picnics.


WWT prides itself on being accessible so that everyone can enjoy nature. They have level access around the site, accessible toilets and even provide services like enlarged maps if you ask ahead. Check out their accessibility guide for more info and details on how to contact them if you have any questions.

1 comment

  1. These wetlands look like somewhere I need to visit! Loved reading the history behind it, it was super interesting! :D & Those otters are so adorable too! xx


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