It’s a whimsical area of Kensington Gardens where pirate ships and imagination reign, and now the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground has been ranked as one of the country’s best playgrounds.
The playground, which is visited by more than one million people a year, is a favourite of children visiting London and was honoured for the “quality and variety of play opportunities” at the first-ever Play Value Awards.
The awards ceremony was held at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Play Safety Conference 2019, held in Birmingham and attended by play safety experts and practitioners from across the United Kingdom. The Queen serves as patron of RoSPA, a role she’s held since her accession to the throne.
With its centrepiece of an enormous wooden pirate ship inspired by Peter Pan, the playground features a beach, sensory trail, tepees, and a variety of tactile objects for children to enjoy. The playground is free to enter and is managed by The Royal Parks.
“Huge congratulations to everyone involved with the Princess of Wales Memorial Playground,” said David Yearley, head of RoSPA Play Safety. “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.”