Brixton/Herne Hill: Brockwell Park/Lido
Brixton tube (1km), then bus up Effra Rd/Railton Rd.
Nearest BR stations: Herne Hill (100m) or Tulse Hill (750m).
Bordered by Brixton Water Lane to the north, Norwood Road to the east and Tulse Hill to the west, Brockwell Park is 124 acres of beautiful parkland, right in the middle of South London.
Formerly a private country estate, the park was secured for public use in 1892 by the sterling efforts of Norwood MP, Thomas Lynn Bristowe, who was instrumental in raising funds from public, church, charity and private subscription.
Unfortunately, Bristowe didn't get the chance to enjoy the park, dying of a heart attack on the steps of Brockwell Hall straight after the 6th June 1892 opening ceremony.
Brockwell Park now offers a wide range of activities, including tennis, football, bowls, swimming, walks and regular free events (like the sadly defunct Cannabis Festival) and occasional paid events like Gay Pride.
Not to be missed at any cost is the wonderful annual Lambeth County Show, where locals proudly display their oversized melons, grand turnips and courgette penguins and win awards for their home made cakes, jams and floral displays.
The rural theme is continued with farm animals, horse and pony shows, charity stands and a craft fair, while fairground rides and live bands keep the less rustically inclined occupied.
Also check out the annual fireworks display around November 5th.
An autumnal view, looking west from the Herne Hill park entrance.
Further over the hill you can get yourself some local produce from the Brockwell Community Garden Centre.
Here, volunteers have restored greenhouses and created a vegetable and fruit-growing area on a formerly derelict and fly-tipped site.
Also worth checking out is the delightful walled garden, where you can ponder over life's little mysteries in a romantic rose garden.
Brockwell Hall The imposing elegance of the house on the hill
Constructed between 1811 and 1813, Brockwell Hall is now a Grade II listed building.
The house was was built for John Blades, a wealthy Ludgate Hill glass maker, who had bought most of the land which now makes up Brockwell Park.
The Hall's architecture can be described as 'free Grecian' with the cast iron verandah on the south side and the 'Raj' style bell turret on the service wing being added in Victorian times.
Since 1892, the Hall has served as a refreshment/café for park visitors, undergoing sympathetic restoration after a extensive fire damage in 1990.
Brockwell park obscure facts!
US band the Red House Painters wrote a song about Brockwell Park (on their 1995 album, Ocean Beach)
The abundance of mature deciduous trees in the park makes it an ideal spot for breeding stag beetles.
In May 1981, Aswad and Pete Townshend headlined a TUC benefit gig for the 'Peoples March For Jobs' campaign.
« back to features homepage next »