Parks in South Islington

Find out:

  • What south Islington parks offer and their health benefits

  • Where south Islington parks are

  • The main parks in and near south Islington and their features

  • Activities in and near south Islington 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 a South Islington park

What South 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 40 parks in and near south Islington, so there is a park near to everyone

Health benefits

The Governnment says being in nature, such as a park, improves our mental health and feelings of wellbeing and can:

  • reduce stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression

  • help boost immune systems, encourage physical activity and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as asthma

  • combat loneliness.

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.

South Islington's parks

Find parks in Islington:

The main parks in and near south 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. 

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.

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.

See below for activities in the park.

Opening and closing time of parks

Activities in parks

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. 13 activities have been approved. They are all free. An Islington resident can go straight to any of these activities without a referral by a health professional.

39 Islington 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:

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

  • South Islington - Barnard Park, King Square Gardens 

Arvon Road Community Garden, near Holloway Road, N5, has a Friends Group.

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

Barnsbury Square Gardens, halfway between Caledonian Road and Upper Street, 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:

Canonbury Square, Highbury, N1, has a Friends Group that offers gardening sessions.

Compton Terrace Gardens, Highbury, N1, has a gardening group.

Culpeper Community Garden, near Upper St, N1, has a gardening group.

Fortune Street Park, near The Barbican, EC1, offers volunteering sessions in the park, which are organised by Islington CouncilThis activity has been approved to accept referrals by health and care professionals. 

Graham Street Park, near City Road and next to Regent's Canal, N1 has a Friends Group.

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

  • a free 5k parkrun 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. Please contact the organiser first before making a referral

  • Outdoor Total Body Workout on Fridays 9.45-10.45am, which is offered by Healthy GenerationsThis activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals. 

  • Healthy Minds Healthy Bods offers a fitness session on ​Saturdays 9.45am with Lazza and Zumba at Sundays 12pm with Karina. For more information, contact Lawrence Curtis: hmhb2016@outlook.com

  • Mencap offers a walking group to adults with a learning disability who live in Islington. This meets at Highbury Corner and takes in local parks. It takes place on Wednesdays 11am-12.30pm. For more information, contact Johny (07506 844 649, johny.brown@mencap.org.uk) or Jonathan (jonathan.quarterman@mencap.org.uk) 

  • the park has a Friends Group

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

  • 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

  • Qi Gong + social with Healthy GenerationsThis 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. 

Rosemary Gardens, Southgate Road, N1, offers:

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

  • the park has a Friends Group.

Spa Fields, near Rosebery Avenue, EC1Islington Council offers volunteering sessions in the park. This activity has been approved to accept referrals by health professionals. 

Thornhill Road Gardens, halfway between Caledonian Road and Upper Street, N1, has a Friends Group. The group offers tai chi (May to October, Thursdays 8-9am weather permitting). For more information, contact Dirk: dirk.meerstadt@hotmail.co.uk. Update: the sessions are now closed to new applicants due to their popularity. 

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

Other information

Find out about:

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. 

Social prescribing in Islington

Find out about social prescribing in Islington with:

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