Fairlop Waters lake, London

Fairlop Waters and Outdoor Activity Centre: Calm, cross beams and… The Crystal Maze?!

You’d be forgiven for not knowing about Fairlop Waters. This gorgeous lake sits at the eastern end of the Central line (you know, the bit where it goes round in a circle) and is a bit of a hike away from nearby Fairlop and Barkingside Tube stations.

However, as I found out last weekend, it’s worth the journey. The water is still, the paths around it unkempt enough to feel natural and there’s even a BBQ smell in the breeze from the park’s welcome centre.

Owing to the windsurfing, sailing and angling that goes on here, there are boats dotted around the water, which kind of makes it feel even more peaceful – as if there’s evidence that so many others take so much from this quiet little corner of London. If you can still believe you’re in London when there are secluded little gaps in the hedges offering views like these…

Fairlop Waters lake, London

Flowers at Fairlop Waters

But there’s something else hiding the other side of the water. As we wandered round the gorgeous lake, the shadows got longer, the breeze got breezier, and activity equipment started appearing lakeside.

A cross beam here, a monkey bar there: and by the time we got to the end of the path, huge climbing boulders had risen from the ground and we were in an adventure park. Turns out, Fairlop Waters also boasts a boulder park. The largest boulder park in the UK, I’m reliably told.

Boulder Park at Fairlop Waters, London

Fairlop Outdoor Centre boulder park, London

Fairlop Outdoor Centre boulder park, London

We’re not ones to turn down the chance to sing the Crystal Maze theme tune while reliving long summer evenings on playgrounds, we climbed the boulders, swung on the ropes and balanced across the beams. By the time we crawled back into the car we were relaxed, played-out and exercised all in one go. And that is what I call a good Saturday.

Nearest Tube: Fairlop or Barkingside

More information: www.vision-rcl.org.uk/fout_home.html

Fairlop Waters lake, London

Flowers at Fairlop Waters

Fairlop Waters lake, London

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