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Parks in Islington

Find out:

  • What Islington parks offer and their health benefits

  • Where Islington parks are

  • The main parks in Islington and their features

  • Activities in parks, including ones that are approved for referrals by health professionals

  • Links to social prescribing in Islington and other information about Islington parks and green spaces

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Why visit an Islington park

What Islington parks offer
  • Free and open to everyone

  • Offer something to see and do, to be in nature in a city, and to meet other people

  • They offer a place to be outside - 29% of Islington households have no garden

  • Open long hours. All parks with gates open at 8am, usually close at sunset, and are open 365 days a year

  • There are over 100 parks in Islington, so there is a park near to everyone

Health benefits
  • Two hours a week spent in a park, in one visit or more, reduces the risk of poor health by 45%

  • Visiting a park reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, and is good for your mental health and wellbeing

  • Parks are an excellent place to be active, which cuts the risk of dementia & Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke, bowel, breast and womb cancer, type 2 diabetes and other health conditions

Islington's parks

Find parks in Islington:

The main parks in Islington: 

Barnard Park, near Caledonian Road, N1. Features include:

See below for activities in the park.

Barnsbury Wood, near Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station, N1, is London’s smallest local nature reserve. It is a delightful hidden woodland with a wildlife garden. Opening hours are restricted.

See below for activities in the park.

Caledonian Park, near Caledonian Road tube station, N7. Features include:

  • a clock tower with panoramic views across London

  • woodland, an orchard, meadows, and community gardens

  • a large grass open space suitable for ball games and other sports activities

  • a ball court with football goals and basketball hoops

  • a 600-metre running and walking route

  • an outdoor classroom

  • a play area

  • a café

  • toilets

See below for activities in the park. 

Elthorne ParkArchway, N19. Features include:

  • play areas with an accessible toilet

  • a walled peace garden

  • a conservation area with an avenue of silver birch trees

  • native hedgerow and a perennial meadow

  • seven-a-side or two smaller floodlit astroturf pitches with football goals (no booking required)

  • a floodlit basketball court with a set of hoops (no booking required)

  • a floodlit outdoor gym

  • there is a park keeper.

See below for activities in the park.

Gillespie Park and Ecology Centre, Highbury, N5. Features include:

  • a 2.8 hectare nature reserve which is home to a wealth of wildlife, including 244 species of plants, 94 species of birds and 24 types of butterflies

  • ponds, woodland and meadow areas

  • the Ecology Centre, which gives advice on wildlife, gardening and sustainable living. It runs events and is available for hire for meetings and parties. There are toilets.

See below for activities in the park.

Highbury Fields, near to Highbury & Islington station, N5, has been designated a site of local importance to nature conservation. Features include:

See below for activities in the park.

King Square Gardens, near Goswell Road, EC1, has been designated a site of local importance to nature conservation. Features include:

  • a children’s play area including a large sand pit, interactive water play feature and accessible children's toilets

  • a bog garden

  • a 450-metre running and walking route

  • there is a park keeper.

See below for activities in the park.

Paradise Park, near Liverpool Road, N7. Features include:

See below for activities in the park.

Parkland Walk, N19, in Islington and Haringey is a 4.5-mile linear green walkway which follows the course of the railway that used to run between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace. It's a great place to explore on foot or by bike and is a chance to enjoy a tranquil place in the heart of the city.

See below for activities in the park.

Rosemary Gardens, Southgate Road, N1Features include:

  • a children's playground with toddler sand pit, water play feature and accessible toilets

  • a grass meadow and mature, weeping ash trees

  • a seven-a-side floodlit astroturf football pitch and two tennis courts (booking is required for these sport facilities)

  • a 540-metre running and walking route

  • four table tennis tables

  • two sets of basketball hoops

  • an outdoor gym

  • a tennis wall

  • changing rooms.

See below for activities in the park.

Spa Fields, near Rosebery Avenue, EC1. Features include:

  • a children's playground

  • a lavender garden

  • a tarmac ball court with football goals

  • tennis nets

  • basketball hoops

  • an outdoor gym.

Tufnell Park Playing Fields, near Tufnell Park tube station, N7. Features include:

  • a children’s play area

  • a grass football pitch and tennis courts (booking is required)

  • a 475-metre walking and running route

  • an outdoor gym

  • a cricket net

  • a table tennis table

  • changing rooms

  • toilets.

Whittington Park, Holloway Road, N19, is named after Dick Whittington and his cat. It has been designated as a site of local importance to nature conservation. Features include:

  • a children's playground with sand pits, a water play feature and accessible toilets

  • a natural play area, a wildlife pond, and an ecology garden

  • woodland and a sparrow meadow

  • an 11-a-side astroturf football pitch with changing rooms (booking is required)

  • two table tennis tables

  • an outdoor gym

  • there is a park keeper

  • Whittington Park Community Centre is next to the park. 

See below for activities in the park.

Wray Crescent, near Hornsey Road, N4. Features include:

  • a children's playground with sand pits and accessible toilets

  • a grass meadow

  • a grass cricket pitch (booking is required)

  • a table tennis table

  • a tarmac ball court with football goals and basketball hoops

  • there is a park keeper.

See below for activities in the park.

Opening and closing time of parks

Activities in parks

39 parks offer opportunities to do sport including football, basketball and netball, outdoor gym, table-tennis, tennis, running and walking routes, cricket, and bowls.

Bright Start offers activities to Islington residents with a child under five years old. Some activities are in a park, such as:

  • North Islington - Caledonian Park, Sunnyside Gardens, Whittington Park

  • Central Islington - Gillespie Park, Highbury Fields (Highbury Bandstand)

  • South Islington - Barnard Park, King Square Gardens 

Many parks have regular activities taking place. This includes Friends of Park groups, who are local residents that volunteer to help maintain a park and may do gardening and other activities. They are a great way to be involved with a park and meet other people. 

Highlighted are activities that have been approved by Age UK Islington in its role as a social prescribing organisation to accept referrals by health professionals. 17 activities, one of which is in three different parks, are highlighted. They are all free.

Barnard Park, near Caledonian Road, N1, has a Friends Group.

Barnsbury Wood, near Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station, N1. Volunteering maintenance work takes place in Islington's nature reserves (mainly Gillespie Park, and also Barnsbury Wood and Parkland Walk), which is organised by Islington CouncilThis activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals. Due to the popularity of the activity, contact the organiser first before making a referral.

Caledonian Park, near Caledonian Road tube station, N7, offers:

  • a dementia-friendly walkThis activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals.

  • volunteering sessions in the park, which are organised by Islington Council. This activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals.

  • health and birdwatching - a gentle walk around the park. This activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals. 

  • health and history walkThis activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals. 

  • tour of the clocktower.

  • The Sculpture Heads Art Project with Age UK Islington. This activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals.

  • Reminiscence with Age UK Islington. This activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals. 

  • art and craft course for people aged 50+, January to March 2022, offered by The Garden Classroom. Booking required. For full information, download the leaflet Art and Craft Afternoons in Caledonian Park top right of this page. This activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals.

  • The park has a Friends Group that offers gardening sessions open to everyone

Elthorne Park, Archway, N19, offers:

  • sport to young people with Access to Sport 

  • support to use the outdoor gym in the park with a qualified trainer. Wednesdays, 2-3pm (women only), 3-4pm (men and women); 19th January to end of March 2022. The session is offered by Arsenal in the Community; for more information contact Joe Chaffey, jchaffey@arsenal.co.uk. This activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals.

Foxham Gardens, Tufnell Park, N19Islington Council offers volunteering sessions in the park.

Gillespie Park and Ecology Centre, Highbury, N5, offers:

  • nature-themed outdoor fun for families with children aged under 5, which is organised by The Garden Classroom

  • volunteering maintenance work in Islington's nature reserves (mainly Gillespie Park, and also Barnsbury Wood and Parkland Walk), which is organised by Islington CouncilThis activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals. Due to the popularity of the activity, contact the organiser first before making a referral.

  • a dementia- and family-friendly walk on the first Friday of the month, 10am. Contact Jo Corrall: 07890 044808; jo.corrall@islington.gov.ukThis activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals.

  • the park has a Friends Group.

Highbury Fields, near to Highbury & Islington station, N5, offers:

  • a community hedge planting event on Saturday 29th January, 10.30am-2.30pm, which will create a new space for wildlife. For more information, download the leaflet Hedge Planting Event top right of this page

  • a free 5k run every Saturday 9am

  • tennis with Highbury Fields Tennis League and Highbury Tennis Club

  • tag rugby

  • gardening with Highbury Fields Garden Volunteers every Wednesday and Sunday 10am-4pm. Contact Flora Goldhill: flora@highburyplace.co.uk; 07487 880778. This activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals

  • Gunner Get Active, a 12-week programme to support beginners build up to running a 5k with a qualified trainer. The programme starts with short walking distances around the park. Fridays, 2.30-4pm, men and women; 21st January to end of March 2022. The session is offered by Arsenal in the Community; for more information contact Joe Chaffey, jchaffey@arsenal.co.uk. This activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals

  • Outdoor Total Body Workout is on Fridays 9.45-10.45am. It is suitable for all fitness levels. For more information, download the leaflet Outdoor Total Body Workout top right of this page

  • the park has a Friends Group

King Square Gardens, near Goswell Road, EC1, offers:

  • wellbeing walk for people aged 50+ on Friday 18th March 2022 offered by The Garden Classroom. Booking required. For more information, download the leaflet Wellbeing Walks top right of this page. This activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals

  • a men's shed organised by St Luke's Community Centre for men aged 55+ who live near the centre to socialise and have fun while gardening. This activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals.

  • nature-themed outdoor fun for families with children aged under 5, which is organised by The Garden Classroom

  • wellbeing walk for people aged 50+ on Friday 18th March 2022 offered by The Garden Classroom. Booking required. For more information, download the leaflet Wellbeing Walks top right of this page. This activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals.

  • The park has a Friends Group

New River Walk, near Essex Road, N1Islington Council offers volunteering sessions in the park. This activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals. 

Paradise Park, near Liverpool Road, N7, offers tag rugby.

Parkland Walk, N19, offers:

  • volunteering maintenance work in Islington's nature reserves (mainly Gillespie Park, and also Barnsbury Wood and Parkland Walk), which is organised by Islington CouncilThis activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals. Due to the popularity of the activity, contact the organiser first before making a referral.

  • a walk for intermediate walkers with Hornsey Lane Estate Community Association every Wednesday 2pm; meet at Station Place, Finsbury ParkThis activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals. Registration is required beforehand: contact Susan Aykroyd, walkleader@hlcea.org.uk, 07985 156876. 

  • the park has a Friends Group

Penn Road Gardens, near Holloway Road, N7, has a Residents Association that offers gardening sessions to everyone.

Rosemary Gardens, Southgate Road, N1, has a Friends Group.

Sunnyside Community Gardens, Hazellville Road, N19, next to Elthorne Park, has a community group that offers gardening.

Thornhill Square Garden, near Caledonian Road, N1, has a Residents Association.

Whittington Park, Holloway Road, N19, offers:

  • nature-themed outdoor fun for families with children aged under 5, which is organised by The Garden Classroom

  • football for young children, boys, girls and women; contact Islington Football Development Partnership ifdp@gll.org

  • volunteering sessions in the park, which are organised by Islington CouncilThis activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals. 

Wray Crescent, near Hornsey Road, N4, offers:

Social prescribing in Islington

Find out about social prescribing in Islington with:

Other information

Parks and open spaces has other information about parks: park improvement projects, setting up an event in a park, Islington in Bloom, love your park - get involved, managing parks and green spaces, and memorial benches in parks. 

Record updated: 13/01/2022