Spring has officially sprung at London Wetland Centre.
The first butterflies — the attractive small tortoishell and peacock — were spotted on site on March 22. At least 30 sand martins have also made their way to the centre, with many investigating the recently cleaned nest chambers of the artificial nest bank. But these avian migrants aren’t the only new sights at London Wetland Centre. Behind the scenes, the facilities team, led by facilities manager Ian Wilson-Clarke, has also been busy sprucing up the centre to improve visitor experience.
Here are five new installations you should look for during your next visit to London Wetland Centre.
1. Bar table & work stations
The corner of the main tower, by the bookshelf and the Kingfisher Cafe, used to be an empty space. No longer. A bar table and six stools were installed in February to maximize the utility of this indoor space. The bar stools, which were left over from the refurbishment of the café in 2021, have found their new home. Since its installation, London Wetland Centre’s staff members and volunteers have taken advantage of this tranquil spot to rest their feet or use it as a breakout space for meetings. For visitors, you are more than welcome to bring your coffee from the cafe to the bar table to enjoy the courtyard view. It’s also the perfect “work from home” spot if you fancy a change from the same old living room view.
2. Bouncy lily pads
(Photo Credit: Ian Wilson-Clarke)
As part of the ongoing improvements of the outdoor adventure playground, three bouncy lily pads were installed to mimic natural lily pads across the ponds.
While you are there, venture deeper through the bamboo woods to say hi to the massive common toad sculpture, which has recently been refurbished. The facilities team doesn’t have a name for the toad yet. If you have any punny ideas, croak up and let our team know!
(Photo Credit: Zahid Tanjir Morsalin)
The much-loved wobbly bridge has reopened on March 25 after repair. It no longer dips into water, which means parents chasing after the little ones through this wobbly, swampy tunnel won’t have to worry about wet feet.4. Swing seats
(Photo Credit: Ian Wilson-Clarke)
gorgeous swing seats have arrived at the London Wetland Centre to invite
visitors to sit down and soak up nature.
one outside Wetland Living, the popular London wedding venue, is the cosier of
the two. Couples will have no trouble finding the perfect backdrops for their
wedding photography at the centre; this intimate swing provides another option.
The facilities team also plans to add planters around the seat to make it the
perfect wedding photo op.
The second swing seat can be found down by the shelter lagoon on the far side of the reserve, ideal for a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Even better, these funky swing seats are made with recycled plastic from milk bottles. They are designed to last longer with minimal maintenance.
5. Mud kitchen
After a few popular stints during special events, the mud kitchen is now a permanent fixture at London Wetland Centre. You can find the entrance by the cross roads.
Make earthy potions, build mud castles, cook up a storm. We are thrilled that this classic activity now has a permanent home, offering hours of tactile fun for the little ones and a great opportunity to connect with nature.
The kitchen stands are also made from recycled plastic, and the pretend kitchenware are donated by staff and volunteers. Many cooks were involved in the making of this mud kitchen!
Ian, who joined the staff a week after London Wetland Centre opened in 2000, is one of the longest serving members at WWT. Starting as a shop assistant and working his way up, he now runs a team of 1.5 facilities members and 4 cleaning crews who make sure everything is in tip-top condition at the centre.
“There’s not five minutes to get bored,” said Ian.
To recognise his commitment to WWT, Ian has been invited to attend the King’s Garden Party as part of the coronation celebration. This is part of the tradition where the longest serving WWT staff member is invited to attend the garden party as a representative of the charity.A huge congratulations to Ian and thank you for all your hard work. We can’t wait to hear all about it!