Hot? There’s an amazing new Zone 1 park with waterfalls and slides


If you’re just starting to find London in the summer a bit hot and sticky, there’s some welcome news in the shape of a brand new waterpark. Elephant Springs boasts waterfalls, undulating slides, sandy bays, ambient lighting and some huge stone structures. As you can probably guess, it’s in Elephant & Castle, specifically in the new Elephant Park.

After the news that Marble Arch was getting a huge artificial hill, Elephant Springs is further proof that councils and developers are paying increasing attention to the provision of outside spaces within plans. The redevelopment of Elephant & Castle has been highly contentious, with many seeing it as one of the capital’s most blatant acts of gentrification in terms of what kind of housing has been removed and what kind it has been replaced with.

Elephant Springs
Charles Emerson

That said, there’s no doubt that Elephant Park and its Springs looks like a nice place to spend a sunny afternoon. The water features have been designed in collaboration with artist Mel Chantrey, who was responsible for Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground. It includes rocky mounds more than two metres high, constructed from 600 slabs of Italian porphyry stone (one of geology’s hardest, rock fans). On a less ‘natural’ tip, there are also cascading water channels and motion-activated water jets. By night, the park will be lit with special lighting. 

There’s a lot of discussion about London returning after lockdown as a kind of playground. Elephant Springs looks like a good place to start playtime. 

Elephant Park, Elephant Rd, SE17 1UB. Open now.

Also in south London: the Cutty Sark is getting a new figurehead.

You should go and see the new Serpentine Pavilion.

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