Originally built to cater for the poor of north London, Finsbury Park is a 110-acre, Grade II listed public park in the area of the same name in London.
The park underwent a £5 million revamp in 2005 with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and has achieved a Green Flag Award, given to the country’s best green spaces, every year since 2007. Although it went into a bit of a decline in the 1970s, it has now more than recovered. Many of its original features have been restored and are still there, including the flower gardens.
The park has a free outdoor gym, an athletics track, seven tennis courts and two mini tennis courts, a boating lake with an island and a skate park. There is also an enclosed, dog-free play area with a water feature – water squirts up from jets in the ground –, a café and an arboretum.
Furtherfield Gallery and Furtherfield Commons, in the McKenzie Pavilion near the lake, host art exhibitions and activities for schools and visitors. The park is run by Haringey Council but there is also a charity, the Friends of Finsbury Park, which helps to take care of it and organises other activities.
During the 1830s and 1840s, as London became more and more developed, people in the capital began to call for open spaces, and in 1841 the people of Finsbury petitioned for a park which the poor could use. Plans were drawn up in 1850, and the park, which was originally to have been named Albert Park, opened in August 1869. In the early 20th century, the park was often used for political meetings.
The park is a regular concert venue, and has hosted a number of festivals, including the Wireless Festival and the Big Gay Out. Bob Dylan, The Corrs, Sting, the Sex Pistols, Oasis and New Order have all performed here, as has Morrissey, who was heckled off stage at Madstock in 1992 after performing his song National Front Disco.
The park is free and usually open from dawn to dusk, and is right outside Finsbury Park train station and Manor House tube station. We’ve a good choice of hotels near Finsbury Park and we’d recommend spending a bit of time here. There are shops and restaurants in Seven Sisters Road, Blackstock Road and Stroud Green Road, many of which are independent, and Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium is also close.
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