Battersea Park is a green space situated in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It sits along the south bank of River Thames and is a popular destination for locals and tourists looking to enjoy nature within the bustling city. The park was first created in 1858 and covers an area of roughly 0.83 square kilometers. Before it became a park, the area was known as Battersea fields, and was the location of many duels of honour including a notorious one between the Duke of Wellington and the Earl of Winchilsea in 1829. From 2002 to 2004 the park received a £11 million overhaul, and was re-opened by Prince Philip. From wild animals, to sports centres, event spaces, and stunning gardens, Battersea park is an excellent place for locals and those visiting the area can step away from the bustle and noise of big city London and enjoy a view of the Thames, stroll around the lake, or quietly ponder in one of the gardens.
Attractions In The Battersea Park
Battersea Park Children’s zoo
Though small, the park has several attractions, facilities and things to do. One of the more popular of these attractions is the Battersea Park Children’s zoo. The zoo contains various small animals - both local and exotic - such as otters, monkeys, donkeys, tamarin, pigs, rabbits, lemurs, wildcats, wallabies, sheep and armadillo. There are also a number of bird species, from parrots to owls, to emus, finch and chickens, as well as reptiles and insects for younger visitors to enjoy. The park focuses on viewings, but also conservation and educational programs for children.
The Battersea Evolution - Evolution London (aka the Battersea Evolution)
This is an event arena that hosts parties, conferences, and exhibitions. Anything from private parties to holiday events and festivals and charity events are hosted here throughout the year. Similarly, an outdoor bandstand is available which hosts smaller, more casual outdoor events and gatherings.
Sports centres - The Battersea Park Millennium Arena
It is a large sports and recreation centre in the park. This sports complex has a 400 metre running track as well as indoor gym facilities and changing areas. The outdoor track also includes stands for viewers, and meets and events have been hosted here. The park also includes the Battersea tennis grounds, Battersea Park Astro football pitches, a bicycle rental pavilion (and bike paths), a cricket pavilion, and the Wandsworth gaels GAA Sports Club.
Pump House Gallery
Another major attraction is the Pump House Gallery. It is located in a four-storey historical Victorian tower, which is listed as a Grade II building. This attraction is impressive both outside and inside. It is located along the edge of the lake, and hosts a variety of art related gatherings from exhibitions to art talks, art classes and workshops, and film screening.
Monuments And Sculptures
The London Peace Pagoda stands along the Thames bank, and is a buddhist pagoda complete with a beautiful golden buddha statue. The pagoda itself was erected in 1985, and has become a popular place for quiet introspection. In 2011, a 10 year anniversary monument was also erected in the park to commemorate the lives and heroes of the September 11th tragedy. The monument is named After 9/11. The ‘Three Standing Figures’ sculpture also stands in roughly the center of the park. It was carved in 1947 by Henry Moore, and has been in the park since 1950. The three female figures are depicted looking upwards to the sky, and are generally thought to represent the bombings and air raids of the Second World War.
Green Spaces And Nature Areas
Many of the other attractions in the park are of the natural variety. From naturally growing forests to cultivated gardens, there are many outdoor green spaces to enjoy. The park’s largest feature is the boating lake, which includes the Ladies pond, and provides a visual and recreational space for visitors. The Winter Garden, next to Albert Bridge Road, opened in 2011, and is another beautiful outdoor space. It includes a variety of plants, from forest trees to shrubs. Some of the major species in the garden include birch trees, ironwood, and pine trees. Shrubs, ground cover and flowering bushes include prunus, hollies, camellias, hamamelis, cornus, viburnums, daphnes, mahonias, hellebores, chaenomeles, iris, fern and vinca vines. The park also includes the Old English Garden, a beautiful traditional English garden with cultivated plantings and pathways, as well as a flower covered trellis roof. A sub-tropical garden can also be found alongside the boating lake.
Wildlife In The Battersea Park
Though there are many animal species within the Battersea zoo, there are also a number of naturally occurring animals in the park. These include small mammals like squirrels and rabbits, as well as various woodland bird species such as sparrows, blackcaps and bullfinches. Butterflies are also common here, and there have been some 20 species recorded in the area.