Islington top for adventure play second year running


Islington’s Waterside Adventure Playground  was named London’s Adventure Playground of the Year 2022 and Lewisham’s Ashwater Road took the gong for Play Street of the Year at a noisy celebration in London’s West End yesterday.

Some 250 excited children converged on the Prince Charles Cinema yesterday to see the short films they had made about the places they love to play up on the big screen – and find out if they had won prizes.

The event was nearly derailed when compere Charlie was abducted by aliens, but he returned – albeit with feet in place of fingers – to keep the atmosphere just on the right side of anarchy with the help of young adventure play expert and co-host, Adil.

The more adventurous the play, the more highly the film was rated, and it was BIG fires, the inventive use of old tyres and bits of wood, and a rocking soundtrack that set the reel from young Watersiders apart in a strong field. Sienna, aged 10, said she likes Waterside because: “It’s local and I know lots of people there and it’s fun. There’s lots of things to climb on and you can invent fun games.” Aja, 7 added: “I like the dens at the back.” Children from the winning group will be whisked away for a ‘winter wonderland’ adventure in the woods outside London later in the year as their prize.

Children at Barnard Adventure Playground, which won the top award in 2021, had chosen the winners – but did not know which playground they had scored highest until it was revealed on stage, to great excitement. Five other adventure playgrounds were shortlisted for the big award: Hackney’s Shakespeare Walk (SWAPA), Three Corners in Islington; Haringey’s Somerford Grove, Richmond’s Marble Hill and Roman Road in Tower Hamlets.

Play street of the year

Lewisham’s Ashwater Road (above) won the Janet Dalglish London Play Street of the Year award with young residents’ film documenting how their street had been transformed since they started their play street in summer last year. Film director Alma said: “We spent a year and a half going in and out of lockdown, and new people had moved onto the street. We wanted to get to know them.” The elated group won £150 of play street equipment for their efforts.

Other awards

The Bright Idea Award was won by Haringey’s Somerford Grove Adventure Playground, featuring kids’ ingenuity with loose parts, mud and mess. Best Flick went to Marble Hill Adventure Playground in Richmond, whose doco-style film featured kids interviewing each other about their much-loved play space. Their prize is a group trip on the London Eye, thanks to Marks Barfield Architects. Special awards were also given to Max Roach (Best Acting Oscar); Lumpy Hill (Soggy Bottom Award) and Shakespeare Walk (SWAPA) for its original soundtrack, made by children. A special film also paid tribute to playworker Celestine Lamontage, retiring after 27 years from Bethwin Adventure Playground.

London Play’s chair, Melian Mansfield said: “Congratulations to Waterside, Somerford Grove and Marble Hill adventure playgrounds. Their films show how important these magical places are in the lives of the children who play there – and underline that play is not just a ‘nice to have’ extra, it is vital for children’s healthy development and wellbeing. Well done too, to the young residents of Ashwater Road and all the other groups that made such wonderful films.”

All films are available on London Play’s YouTube channel or click links below.

For additional details, download the press release below or contact Fiona Sutherland via

London Adventure Play Awards 2022_PR


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