Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens, one of London’s eight Royal Parks, was named as one of the best playgrounds in England at the first-ever Play Value Awards, held at the RoSPA Play Safety Conference 2019.
The awards recognise excellence in the provision of children’s playgrounds, with the quality and variety of play opportunities being assessed. The winner was chosen by an open vote by delegates at the conference, most of whom manage playgrounds on behalf of local authorities or charities.
The Diana Memorial Playground is instantly recognisable because of the huge wooden ship, inspired by the children’s novel Peter Pan, at its centre. The playground is also home to a sensory trail, tepees, and a whole host of tactile objects. The Diana Memorial Playground receives more than a million visitors a year and is free to access.
David Yearley, head of RoSPA Play Safety, said: “Huge congratulations to everyone involved with the Princess of Wales Memorial Playground. It was a real pleasure to host the UK’s first Play Value Awards at the RoSPA Play Safety Conference this year. The awards are part of our commitment to celebrating achievement and promoting excellence in playgrounds and play sites. We are very grateful to everyone who took part in the play value awards.”
Andy Williams, Park Manager of Kensington Gardens, The Royal Parks, said: “We’re thrilled to receive this award for The Princess of Wales’ Memorial playground – almost 20 years after the playground first opened in June 2000.
“Since then millions of children have played, explored and let their creativity soar in this magical space within the wonderful natural setting of Kensington Gardens. The carefully-designed playground means that less-able and able-bodies children can play together and develop their physical, social and educational needs – following their imaginations and learning while they have fun.”
The other play sites in contention for the top award were: The Children’s Garden, Kew; Heaton Park, Manchester; Town Park, Telford; and William’s Den, North Cave, East Riding of Yorkshire. Sacrewell Farm in Cambridgeshire was voted to be the overall winner. The sites were shortlisted by RoSPA Play Safety inspectors who visit playgrounds across the country.
The sell-out RoSPA Play Safety Conference 2019 was held at the Birmingham Metropole Hotel and was attended by play safety experts and practitioners from across the UK.
For more on RoSPA Play Safety, see www.rospa.com/Play-Safety