When Victoria Park was opened to the public in 1845 it provided greenery for the cramped, impoverished working-class slum areas of the East End. The popularity of Vicky Park (as the locals call it) made it known as ‘The People’s Park’. From festivalgoers to families with kids, the park is still one of the most thriving places in East London.
Things to do for kids in the park
Victoria Park is very family-friendly, and you’ll find a good range of activities for toddlers and preschoolers as well as for older kids:
- The V&A Playground on the west side of the park intended for younger children
- The main playground on the east side is featuring one of the longest slides in London
- Skatepark which holds London’s only skateboard cradle.
- Splash Pool in the summer season with fountains and water pumps
The Victoria & Alexandra (V&A) Playground
We first thought the initials stood for Victoria & Albert, like in the V&A Museum of Childhood and V&A Museum in Kensington, but in this case, the old Queen is associated with her daughter-in-law Alexandra!
From a distance, the playground looks a bit like a Gallic village taken straight out of Asterix with lots of wooden structures and play elements. We really liked the natural feel of the playground with its sandpits and water pumps. For toddlers and preschoolers, this is a great place to spend some time.
Victoria Park Kid’s Main Playground
If your kids like slides, Victoria Park’s main playground is probably one of the best spots in London to let them loose. There are four slides in total, and the the biggest one is wide enough for at least two kids to go at the same time which is a lot of fun. In addition you’ll find the usual swings, sand pit and climbing frames.
Other highlights of Vicky Park
- Summer music festivals
- Great selection of cafes and pubs
- Victoria Park Lake
- Summer-evening cricket matches
- The Bathing Pond, which is popular with London’s anglers.
- The beautiful Victoria Park Village nearby with its Georgian and Victorian terraces.
- The elegant Victorian drinking fountain (so beautiful that it has been awarded Grade II listed status by English Heritage)
Politics and Music in Victoria Park
In the 19th century, Vicky Park became associated with left-wing politics with its Speakers’ corner becoming a hotbed of socialist and reformist debate, an ideological tradition that continued in the 1970s and ’80s when the park would associate left-wing music festivals, featuring performances by artists like The Clash. The park has continued its association with indie and alternative rock music with the likes of Radiohead having staged huge concerts there in the 21st century, maintaining the park’s status as one the most popular East London attractions.