Archbishops Park

Check it out! It’s another sarf-of-the-river, lambef walk type tip! (And yes, we actually go up Lambeth Walk to get to this one). To be fair, it’s also incredibly close to St Thomas’ Hospital and not far from Waterloo. So, it could be handy if you get stuck in one of those places (and I hope for your sake it’s the latter).

The first thing I love about this park is that it’s pirate-themed. The second thing I love about this park is that they let local schoolchildren choose the theme. There’s even a note somewhere saying that the children chose a pirate theme, even though there is “no record of piracy on this part of the Thames”. I can just imagine the scene – “OK children, what do you think really sums up this part of London. The park’s in the back garden of Lambeth Palace and was bequeathed to the people by the Archbishop – that would be a good start, no?” “We want pirates!” “OK, it’s near St Thomas’ Hospital – one of the most famous in the world. How about a hospital theme?” “We want pirates!” “How about some of the very famous landmarks located close to the park – the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye….?” “Pirates! Pirates! PIRATES!”

So, Pirates it was. One piece of artwork depicts the pirates being hanged. It’s done in felt-tip, glazed and put on top of a barrel to make a seat. You can’t make these things up.

The playground has been redeveloped quite recently and -pirate themed or not – it is very nicely done and well thought out. The sandpit is remarkably clean for South London and there are picnic benches right next to it for tired parents to sit on, as well as a grassy bank. There is a “natural” play area, with a tunnel cut through another bank. It’s all divided roughly into different age ranges although (shocker coming up), Reuben likes to disregard the natural order of things and go straight for the biggest of the big boys’ slides and attempt to walk up it. Of course. The slide count is at least 4, including the toddler size one (scorned by Roo), the aforementioned big boy slide, one in the sandpit and a medium sized one that he will occasionally deign to go on.

Oh, and don’t forget that the park is very close to Magic Coffee Man

VERDICT: Well designed, never too crowded and a pleasant atmosphere. Inevitable tantrums whenever you try to leave.

More details here (official website)

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