There cannot be a children’s playground anywhere else in England that’s as visually arresting as that found in Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance. A swooping riot of primary colours that will fascinate any child, this play zone knocks the socks off brash commercial ‘fun factories’, and there’s even some attractions for grown-ups as well.
These historic gardens date back to the early 1900s—when ex-councilor Horniman bought and devoted the land to the local community—but fell into disrepair until the grounds were finally rescued and rebuilt in the 1990s. For architecture buffs, the Pleasance is worth a visit for the small white-walled garden designed by famed Arts & Crafts architect Charles Voysey—commission by Horniman after Voysey had designed him a house. With its pretty pergola and waterway it’s a small haven in the park most famous for its role as the starting point for the rowdy Notting Hill Carnival.