Tower Hamlets has over 120 parks and green spaces for everyone to enjoy. These are treasured by the local community, whether they are small pocket parks, local parks or parks of national repute. The fabulous Mile End Park and the majestic Victoria Park have both been recognised as examples of great parks in the National Good Parks Guide produced by GreenSpace and the Royal Horticultural Society.
Your award winning parks include Weaver’s Fields, Island Gardens, Millwall Park, King Edward Memorial Park, Trinity Square Gardens, Mile End Park and Victoria Park. They have all gained the prestigious Green Flag Award, a mark of excellence in the quality of provision for parks and open spaces. Victoria Park also won the Green Heritage Site award for its historic importance and was voted the UK's favourite park in 2012. The Bromley by Bow Centre, a community partner organisation, has achieved the equally coveted Green Pennant Award for ‘Bob’s Park’ in Poplar. Several other squares and green spaces have won awards for design and excellence.
When visiting your parks, you can expect to find an array of interesting features. Victoria Park for example, contains historical lakes, the Burdett Coutts Memorial and two of the original London Bridge stone alcoves. Mile End Park provides a more natural environment, containing both an ecology and Art Pavilion as well as a sports stadium and a go-cart track. Whether you're wanting historic churches, beautiful fountains or peaceful gardens, our parks have more than enough to explore. This is just a snap shot of what your parks can offer.
An overview map of the boroughs parks.
Enjoy the parks
The borough’s parks host a variety of events and activities throughout the year. The council’s events team (part of the Arts, Parks & Events Team) co-ordinates and supports a programme of large funfairs, arts, music and dance events in the parks. For listings of borough wide events visit the Art and events website.
The community park rangers regularly hold their own outdoor community events including guided walks, arts and crafts, bulb planting, face painting, play events, meadow seed sowing and other activities. Mile End Park regularly hosts arts and environmental exhibitions and events, while Victoria Park also functions as a key venue for music and cultural festivals. The outdoor environment adds something special to all of these events and provides an opportunity for the whole community to get together for some fun and entertainment.
The parks also provide venues for a number of fund raising events for charities such as sponsored walks, fun runs and cycling.
Play areas and staffed play facilities are very popular with children, young people, parents and carers. The council has been improving these facilities to make them more accessible and attractive for everyone.
If you would like more information on facilities and events or want to find out about the plans for further improvements please do not hesitate contact us.
History of our parks and open spaces
The parks and open spaces of Tower Hamlets have come about through a variety of processes. Some public open spaces were the result of deliberate design or policy, while others were the result of historical accidents. There were broadly three periods during which public open spaces were created in Tower Hamlets.
The first, was the deliberate creation of Victoria Park in the mid 19th century, the late 19th century saw the second period with the conversion of churchyards into public gardens and the most recent was in the mid 20th century after World War 2.
Many churchyards, particularly in the west of the borough became public open spaces managed by the local authority. Having been closed to further burial use because they were full, they were converted in the second half of the 19th century into public gardens.
In the 1990's the London Docklands Development Corporation created a number of river and dockside spaces, and the creation of public spaces continues to today with new areas continuously arising.
Find out more about the history of parks and open spaces (pdf 55k)
Get healthy with parks
You don’t have to run around your park to improve your health, though you are welcome to do so! Parks are great places to unwind; just sitting and relaxing in a pleasant green environment and spending a moment in touch with nature is proven to help to reduce stress levels and improve your feeling of well-being.
Tower Hamlets parks also offer a great variety of opportunities for a more active lifestyle. The sports and play facilities available can be found under each park listed in this guide.
Discover the great outdoors on your doorstep! The council has eight published ‘Healthy Walking Routes’ which encompass the borough’s parks, gardens and green spaces. If you are interested in improving your health and fitness but don’t know how to get started, our Healthy Lifestyles team can offer advice and information on a range of activities and give you information on our Healthy Walking routes.
Run & Walk a mile in Mile End Park - Mile End park run is free but you must register in advance. It is a 5km run - it's you against the clock, and takes place every Saturday at 9am.
For more information please visit the Parks run page.
Having given much consideration to the issue of permitting and controlling barbeques in parks we have decided on a blanket ban across all our parks in Tower Hamlets.
We appreciate this may seem extreme to those people who are careful and do not allow their cooking to burn the grass or leave cooked food waste which is very hard to clean up. Unfortunately however we have had numerous fires caused by ill supervised barbeques and much damage caused to our parks, sadly we cannot rely on common sense and responsible usage amongst the whole population of park users and have nowhere near enough staff to monitor use of barbeques across our parks.
So in the interests of park users and in order to maintain our parks to a good standard we have had to take a hard line on barbeques. We hope you can appreciate the wider issues involved and thank you for your co-operation.
Parks for people and wildlife
We are aiming to improve the wildlife value and habitats within parks. Creating areas for nature not only encourages wildlife, it provides ‘spaces for reflection’ – quiet areas, screened by trees and shrubberies with wild flowers where people can enjoy the natural surroundings.
At present there are two local nature reserves, Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and the Mudchute Park and Farm. These nature reserves are examples of excellence in nature conservation and provide spaces for local volunteers to be trained and gain new skills.
Getting involved with conservation work, such as creating new wildlife habitats, can be great fun and has many physical and psychological health benefits. We are creating new pockets of natural landscape ranging from simple things like allowing the grass to grow in appropriate areas to create meadows, through to establishing new woodlands and woodland walks.
View our Local Biodiversity Action Plan.
Parks with good biodiversity value:
You can be involved in improvements to the borough’s parks and open spaces, helping to make them better places for the community. Wherever possible we will consult and engage with local people in future proposals.
As well as letting us know your views, you may wish to join one of the many community organisations that are working with the council to provide better parks and services. The council continues to develop strong partnerships with a wide range of community groups and organisations including city farms, charities, environmental groups and Parks Friends Groups. There are opportunities to get ‘hands on’ experience of planting and looking after plants, as well as maintaining and improving spaces.
Mohammed Raja (park development officer – community)
Tel: 020 7364 6108
Paul Sammut (community engagement officer)
Tel: 020 7364 2253
Keith Woodard (park development officer – infrastructure)
Tel: 020 7364 7459
Park ranger team
Tel: 07951 321051
Mile End Park Play Pavilion
Tel: 020 7364 0902
For Arts/Ecology Pavilion bookings (only)
Tel: 020 7364 1213