I live right near Southwark Park in London and for the longest time I didn’t really appreciate it. I walk through it to get to work but apart from that I didn’t really spend much time there. I always had other places to be at the weekend and my thinking was “it’s just a park, and it’ll still be there any other day to visit”.
Now throughout this period of lockdown, I’m visiting the park more than ever. I’m also appreciating it more. Having a limit on how often we can go outside has really got me appreciating the little things when I do. Combined with the fantastic weather we’ve been having recently which has been making nature seem more colourful and vibrant.
Southwark Park is split into two. The top part has a bandstand, a bowling green, some tennis courts and some green space. The lower part has a lake, the Ada Salter Garden, a children’s playground, a cafe, an art gallery, toilets and an athletics centre. There is so much to do. During the summer you can hire a boat and go out on the lake if you want to. I haven’t done this because there are geese! The Ada Salter Garden is such a relaxing place to sit and have a quiet moment. I see people doing yoga there sometimes too. I didn’t take a photo of it because there were people sitting there but it overlooks the lake.
Ada Salter & The Ada Salter Garden
Ada Salter was the Mayor of Bermondsey. English social reformer, environmentalist, pacifist and Quaker, President of the Women’s Labour League and President of the National Gardens Guild. She was one of the first women councillors in London, the first woman mayor in London and the first Labour woman mayor in the British Isles. She sought to replace slums with model council houses and create an environment that was good for the body and mind. She planted trees across the borough and organised music, sport and games events for community participation.
Her husband, Alfred Salter was a doctor and set up a GP’s office in Bermondsey. He could have made a fortune but instead charged poor patients just a small sum of money, and the poorest nothing at all. They were a wonderful family and I feel too few people have heard of them. It seems so apt she has a garden that bursts into bloom every spring named after her.
There’s also some free gym equipment for people to use, but at the moment it is all cordoned off due to the virus and transmission risks.
I think the bandstand looks so romantic. I could definitely picture it in a romcom where to lovers meet there at dusk, with a warm hazy sunset in the background. Maybe that’s just me getting carried away because I’m not getting out enough haha.
Pictured above is the Southwark Park Bowling Club. It’s open during the week between 2pm and 4pm, you just turn up and play. I think that it’s such a nice idea. I’ve never been because usually (well, before lockdown) I’m not in the area. But I could imagine it’s nice for the community.
Southwark Park Opening Times
Southwark Park opens every day at 7:30am and it closes at sunset which obviously varies throughout the year. In December it closes at 4:30pm but in June and July it’s open until 9:30pm.
How to Get to Southwark Park
Busses: The nearest bus stops are either on Jamaica Road or Southwark Park Road. The C10, 47, 188, 381 and P12 all stop outside the Park. All but the P12 stop on Jamaica Road, and the P12 stops on Southwark Park Road.
Overground & Tube: You can also reach the park by the London Overground. It is reachable from Rotherhithe, Canada Water and Surrey Quays. You can also get off at Bermondsey or Canada Water on the Jubilee Line and they’re both about a 5 – 10 minute walk away.
Do you live near any parks? Are you using them more due to lockdown?