London’s Saddest Playground 2024


London Play is on the hunt for London’s saddest playground! How does your local play area measure up?

London Play is once again on the hunt for London’s saddest playgrounds!

Children have the right to play and to exercise that right, every child in London should have good quality play spaces near where they live.  But it’s a postcode lottery. If you are lucky, you live near one of London’s many great ones. But too many are rubbish – sometimes literally.

We want to highlight examples of poor quality, badly maintained, broken or unsuitable play areas in the hope of persuading those responsible for them to do better for their young residents.

Playgrounds can be sad for any number of reasons. Perhaps yours has pitiful play equipment or appalling access. Or is it rubbish-strewn, dangerous, or just plain neglected? Whatever the reason, we want to hear from you. Please send us pics of your sad play area – in your local park or green space, or housing estate.

Share your sad playground pics on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #LondonsSaddestPlayground – or simply send to us at

Don’t forget to state the location of the playground and make sure you include a way of contacting you.

Deadline for entries is 11.59pm, Sunday 11 February.

We will put all entries to the public vote. The winner, to be revealed on Valentine’s Day, Wednesday 14 February, will get some BIG love. London’s Saddest Playground will become the poster child for our campaign to improve local play facilities in London; and the team at London Play will work alongside the winners to convince those responsible to give it some love in 2024. So, what are you waiting for? A ray of hope on #bluemonday so get clicking and sharing!

Some of the 2023 crop of sad playgrounds got national and local media attention; others were brought to life with community events and others began to build their networks of would-be campaigners.

Not just playgrounds
We would also like to hear about poor play services or policies in your area. For example, after school clubs or holiday play schemes which are threatened with closure or reductions in the services they provide. Or maybe there are too many signs prohibiting play on your housing estate. Email us at with details and we will try to help!

#LondonsSaddestPlayground PR
Current work
This two year project sees London Play working alongside local play campaigners, supporting them to successfully challenge threats to local play spaces or services; and influence decisions relating to play.
Play news
The Guardian reports that playgrounds around England are falling to pieces, missing large pieces of play equipment, or simply being locked up, as councils facing huge budget cuts struggle to maintain them.


Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.