The biggest piece of verdant goodness in Bermondsey is Southwark Park, and it’s easily the most diverse. The park offers a lake complete with pedalos and wild turtles, a bowls club, a huge green area for sports with a glorious backdrop of Canary Wharf. At the centre of the park is the most impressive bandstand in London, which looks like a throne for Zeus with monumental columns and a high plinth. It takes a good 30 minutes to walk the perimeter of the park and on a hot summer’s day is hard to beat.
Covering the north side of the Leathermarket, home of The Culture Trip, are the Leathermarket Gardens, which have a variety of benches for a relaxing lunch break with just enough space to clear your mind. The gardens have a wonderful array of colourful flowers attracting a diverse group of butterflies, which manage to hold their own presence even beneath the beautiful magnitude of The Shard. If you’re lucky, you may spot the team eating their lunch, so don’t forget to say hi!
Spa Memorial Gardens
Reopened in 2009, following refurbishment, the Bermondsey Spa Gardens are heavily orientated around the community and helping the young Londoners in the area. The gardens have several play areas, deliberate spaces for games and even a running track. The Spa Memorial Gardens were awarded the Green Flag award in 2007, and the immaculate circular design is incredibly intricate and sophisticated.
Stave Hill Ecological Park
Stave Hill Ecological Park is a beautiful wildlife haven on the Rotherhithe Peninsula. The Park has a delightful patchwork of meadows, ponds, streams and woodland areas to have a picnic in the limited sunlight that London has to compliment the park. Stave Hill attracts a wonderful variety of butterflies, dragonflies, birds and even bats! The views of the wild meadows, with the spectacular city backdrop, is truly incredible and because the park is run by conservationists, it is helping keep London as green as possible.
Downings Roads Floating Gardens
Without a doubt, the most interesting gardens in Bermondsey are the ones floating at the Tower Bridge mooring space. The sequence of barges on the river are deliberately overgrown with wonderful trees, flowers and anything green, which act as a catwalk through the floating jungle. The gardens have been there for over 200 years, and the surreal feeling of walking on an oasis of wildlife on the River Thames is something special.
St Mary Magdalen Churchyard
The surrounding green spaces of this Grade II listed building are tranquil and charming. Although they aren’t the the biggest gardens in London, the different memorials and tombs hidden in the shrubbery around the border make it a fascinating little spot. The Church has a long history, which creates a peaceful environment, and because the grounds aren’t too expansive, you can enjoy a drink on the small green in the comfort that a football isn’t going to unexpectedly hit the back of your head.
By Shay Waterworth