Burgess Park in South East London has no less than three playgrounds making it a great park to get the most out of family time outdoors.
Here is our summary after visiting the three playgrounds with kids (6 years and 3 years):
1. Woodland play area Burgess Park (Camberwell)
In the Burgess Park playground on the Camberwell side, you’ll find several structures made of natural wood. They resemble tree-houses and are linked together with ropes, nets and tunnels. Just the sight of these beautiful timber houses was enough to excite our kids and they turned out the be both challenging and fun for a six-year-old to explore unaided. Our three-year-old needed a bit of support, but had lots of fun being guided by his big sister. On the slightly negative side, the play area is not that big and it doesn’t take many kids before it feels crowded.
But where’s the woodland?
Considering the huge amount of green space available in Burgess Park we were a bit surprised that the playground has been assigned such a limited area in the corner of the park next to a road. It would have been great to see more open space surrounding the playground making it easier for families to have a picnic on the grass while keeping an eye on the kids. We also didn’t quite get the reason why it’s called “Woodland Play Area” as the playground is squeezed between a footpath and a road with not that much natural vegetation.
Things we like about the Woodland Play Area:
- Inspiring design, kids get engaged very fast
- Challenging while safe
- Natural wooden materials
- Easy to keep an overview
- Suitable for different age-groups
- Nice mix of play equipment from swings and slides to nets and poles
- Free-flow between elements
Things that could be better:
- More green space surrounding the play equipment
- The name of the playground suggests a woodland area which is not the case
2. Burgess Park playground (for over fives)
As opposed to the other playgrounds in Burgess Park, the play area for above five-year-olds close to Chumleigh Gardens has plenty of open space. We always appreciate open space type of playgrounds where it’s easy to keep an eye of kids (while sipping to a latte). The climbing frame is particularly popular with school-age children competing to see who can climb the highest.
The other two highlights of the playground are the zip-line and the long slide where kids can use ropes to climb to the top. Race tracks are swirling around the play areas great for kids to go scooting and cycling. We really enjoyed this play area, but would be nice if it had been a swing in the same area to keep our toddler occupied.
3. Burgess Park playground (for under-fives)
There’s a separate “toddler-playground” next to the big playground, gated and fenced off. We like the fact that older kids are not running on top of the toddlers, but the amount of separation seems a bit over the top. Especially if you bring kids different ages, you’d either need to split up or drag the kids to one playground at a time. I would say this is more for under 3-year-old kids since the play equipment is very basic. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the slide, swings and sandpit area.
Highlights of the Burgess Park Playgrounds:
- Easy to keep an overview of the kids playing
- It encourages physical activity
- Spacious playground
- Challenging equipment for over fives
- Basic but sufficient play area for toddlers
- Plenty of seating for parents
- Cafe nearby
Other playgrounds in South East London
You’ll find plenty of green space in South East London. Here are some of our favourites:
- Greenwich Park Playground
- Southwark Park Playground
- Eltham Palace Gardens
- Peckham Rye Playground
- Horniman Museum & Gardens
Traffic-free cycle route in Burgess Park
Burgess Park is a great place to take kids just starting to learn how to cycle. The terrain is flat and you’ll find broad shared paths, but be aware that it can get crowded during weekends. If you take a circular route it’s around 2 miles and perfect for a family cycle ride away from any dangerous traffic. Burgess Park also has an impressively large BMX track, and reportedly a great place to start for young riders just learning how to cycle.