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Ranked: the best and worst parks in London by who you'll find in them

Which park should you go to to avoid wankers? We investigate

Ranked: the best and worst parks in London by who you'll find in them
18 April 2018

The sun is out. It’s officially, 100%, no take-backs, out. And it’s not going away for three months now. This is fact, I asked Michael Fish, and *UP-TO-DATE, ON-THE-PULSE REFERENCE INCOMING* he’s never got the weather wrong before. But what does that mean? It means that you should probably put some clothes on and go to a park. And then take them off again. Bring some beers and, if you’re a bit fancy, perhaps even a pre-mixed gin and tonic from M&S, and relax in the sun. Which is out.

But which park to go to? London has a hot load of them, and it’s a right tough decision deciding which one to make the investment in. Pick the wrong one and you’ll spend your day in the wrong company and frankly, the sun is now ruined. To combat this, we’ve done the hard work for you, sorting all the main London parks into an easily digestible list according to how many wankers are in them.

From least amount of wankers, to most:

Highbury Fields

Lovely, nice, wholesome, cute Highbury Fields. Where the nice people go and just sit and don’t make too much noise, and have a nice Scotch egg and some nice Kettle Chips and some nice Kronenburgs.

Simple, reliable Highbury Fields: there’s that ice cream van that’s always there which does those cider lollies; there’s sometimes weird pop-up stages with bands that play the mildest music possible; and it’s right near a Little Waitrose AND a Wetherspoons. Granted, it’s potentially the worst Wetherspoons in London, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

You can go there and get pissed, you can nip over and sunbathe, you can take your kids to the playground or you can pop down and have a lovely little-civilised picnic. You can do everything there and everyone is cool with it. Apart from play frisbee - I ain’t never seen no suckers playing frisbee there, ever.

Wanker Rating: 2

Regent’s Park

Mainly joggers, Regent’s Park. Mainly joggers and old people. Nowt wrong with joggers and old people; and if you can give me an Old Jogger, then you can damn well colour me charmed. Joggers, old people, old joggers and animals. There’s a stonking great zoo in Regent’s Park, and animals aren’t wankers, they’re nice.

There really is such a strong showing from the non-arse posse, that it’s difficult to think of a downside to Regent’s Park. It’s maybe a bit, you know, posh, but it’s not like everyone you bump into is a Made In Chelsea cast member. Or if they are, they’ll be on a jog so you’ll only have fleeting contact with any potential obnoxiousness.

Wanker Rating: 2

Richmond Park

Honestly, you really would expect a park in this posh an area of London to be teeming with utter wankers, but to our constant surprise, Richmond Park measures very low on the Richter Scale for twats.

This is probably down to two factors. 1) As the largest of the royal parks, it is so bloody massive that the density of pricks is reduced. 2) With a whole herd of deer on active duty to attack anyone they don’t like - and believe you me, some of those boys are absolutely massive and could disembowel you with a nonchalant flick of the antler - everyone is forced to behave themselves.

Wanker Level: 3

Brockwell Park

Now, when I talk about Brockwell Park, I am not counting the Lido - this is because it’s not an actual part of the park, it’s just next to it. I am also not counting it because Lidos are hives for wankers, and I don’t want to damage the almost untouched grass of the park with their soggy-footed taint. Also, I once nipped in just to use the toilet and got locked in there, so I’ve got a giant vendetta against the entire complex.

Anyway, back to the park itself, which is top-notch, should you be wondering. It’s in South London, and thankfully there’s a swirling hell-hole of a field just up the road that hogs all the proper arseholes, so it’s mercifully light on twattery.

Also, it holds a giant FREE festival every year - the Lambeth Country Show - and it’s remarkably not full of freeloading, cider-toting fun-ruiners, and that’s saying something.

Wanker Level: 3

Finsbury Park

Finsbury Park is not a park full of annoying wankers. It is a good park full of mainly nice people - pretty as down-to-earth as parks go, really, no pretence with this one. It’s also massive, which makes it all the more impressive that it’s not chock-full of sphincter-tightening dickheads.

There is quite a large roadman brigade on patrol, so if you're scared of small bags and Nike TNs then avoid, but really, everyone is there to do the same thing: have a nice time, blast Gotta Get Thru This out of a Bluetooth speaker and knock back some White Lightning, so chill out.

Also, nearly always good festivals (for London), weirdly.

Wanker Level: 3

Wimbledon Common

The Wombles live here and they are the absolute polar opposite of wankers. They pick up litter for fun.

Like its neighbour Richmond Park, Wimbledon Common waters down any problematic individuals on account of it being absolutely huge; as an added bonus, it’s also split into kind of segments, meaning that you can go through entire swathes of it without seeing another human. However, the sort of person who hangs about in a park where there’s no one else around for miles is quite likely to be a wrong-un.

Wanker Level: 5

Hampstead Heath

The good thing about Hampstead Heath is that it’s socking large, mate, and it’s divided up into sections comprising different social groups. A trip through the Heath and you run the gamut of: normal people; frisbee nerds; leisurely swimmers; pissheads; twats with guitars; adult sports day pricks; boring ramblers; lost people trying to find the pub; weirdos that are actually interested in nature; hungover people extremely close to death; the footy lads; a five-strong group of calisthenics show-offs; solo joggers, people riding bikes WHERE THEY’RE NOT ALLOWED; genuine slugs; a hidden-away clearing full of wacky bastardologists practising poi and diablo; and some nice buzzy little dogs and their walkers. I think I saw a deer there once, too. And a snake. And a hippo.

And for the most part, they’re all separated, so you can pick where you’ll fit in. It’s for everyone: twat or not.

Wanker Level: 5

London Fields

What’s your policy on hats? Head to London Fields and you’re gonna be in the immediate vicinity of a hefty bunch of them. Flat caps, bucket hats, beanies (in the summer), over-sized fedoras - all these and more can invade your eyes should you put in a stint down east.

I mean, come on, let’s not beat around the forehead here: hats usually = wankers. There are exceptions, but in the case of London Fields, if a hat’s on a head, it’s usually belonging to a top-drawer chump. A hat also greatly increases the potential for guitar ownership - mix the two and you’ve got a dangerously confident twat-zord designed almost purely to prevent your relaxation.

Aside from that lot, though, it ain’t that bad. Assuming you don’t mind the constant, 24/7 hiss of a whipped cream dispenser filling up a balloon, that is.

Wanker Level: 6

Green Park

The only people who can afford to live within walking distance of Green Park are aristocrats, foreign billionaires, and members of the royal family, none of whom would ever deign to rub shoulders with the public-park hoi polloi. This makes Green Park a haven for the cosmopolitan wankers of the world.

Because no actual Londoners would go there, not least the Queen, whose front lawn it effectively is, it is absolutely swarming with Italian teens taking a break from walking five abreast at one mile an hour up Piccadilly.

We should probably be grateful that the two or three square miles of central London are too expensively inaccessible to the city’s actual residents. It makes for an excellent quarantine zone for groups of 200 American exchange students to stand, gawp and endlessly coordinate themselves safely out of our way, but you should remain deeply suspicious of any local who goes there when it’s not lunchtime.

Wanker Level: 6

Greenwich Park

It’s a park with history. A park bisected by a line that bisects the world. It’s also a park where I was microscootering down one of its steep concrete paths, when I was ten, and a woman absent-mindedly chased a frisbee across my path and I swerved and fell and grazed all of the skin on my stomach and chest and also chin. I was topless at the time. Seems fine apart from that one woman. But yeah, that memory kinda takes the edge off, tbh. Kinda sullies it a bit.

Wanker Level: 6

Hyde Park

Hyde Park is the park to go to when you don’t know what park to go to.

“Shall we go to a park today? It’s sunny out.”

“Yes OK, which one? I don’t know any.”

“Nor do I.”

“Shall we go to Hyde Park? That’s a park.”


As such, Hyde Park contains a great number of people who do not know how to behave in parks - however, it also contains a great number of people who do. It is London’s most mainstream park, in essence. This is backed up by virtue of it being host to London’s most mainstream festival - British Summer Time.

It’s favoured by basic people, which is fine - basic people aren’t wankers. It’s the beige of parks, the Clarendon, the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, the side-parting, the Shawshank Redemption, the fidget spinner, the X Factor, the gin and tonic, the university hoodie, the flower crown of parks.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Sometimes you need a safety net. Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s nice to go to Slug and Lettuce.

Wanker Level: 7

Clissold Park

A beautiful park in Stoke Newington featuring playgrounds, sports fields, a bowling green, tennis courts, and café and literally everyone who has ever bought a pram. Not calling mums wishing to push their kids around in the sunshine ‘wankers’ per se, but if you multiply that by a bunch of ‘creative directors’ on long boards and a topless lad practicing the bongos out loud while, inexplicably, wearing headphones, then the word does start to loom on the consciousness. You can see it, over the silhouette of Church Street: W… A… N… and then as you look out towards Highbury: K… E… R... The final S? Why, that’s inside you.

Wanker Level: 7

Victoria Park

Are you allowed to brand someone a wanker just because they own a pair of rollerblades? I think you are, and there are lots of people on rollerblades in Victoria Park. Did a wormhole open in the ground back in 1998 and suck in a load of bladerz, complete with wraparound Oakleys and all? Yes, it is the only logical explanation.

Oh, and also did a wormhole open on Arsehole Mountain and vacuum in a load of gym bros with portable BBQs? Yes, it did - it sucked in their Huaraches and their laughing gas and their tickets to Lovebox. Victoria Park is like the Bermuda Triangle of London, whatever the hell that means. Loads of wormholes, or something.

Wanker Level: 8

Battersea Park

Once upon a time, Battersea Park only registered ordinary background levels of wankerness. It was in one of London’s forgotten areas, a relatively central location largely untouched by the very wealthy for the simple reason that its transport links absolutely stank. But as Chelsea and Fulham were bought up by the mega-rich, the Sloanes were pushed eastward in a great, braying wave. Many of them settled in Battersea, clogging its park’s arteries with blonde joggers and expensive prams.

But more trouble lies ahead: the whole area is being extensively redeveloped. There’s a tube coming, as well as a vast number of luxury high-rises, including the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station into impossibly swanky flats. All of this will bring a concentrated influx of thousands of acute wankers swarming across the park’s children’s zoo, boating lake and weirdly-out-of-place Peace Pagoda, ruining it all for the last few normal people who just want to sit in their deck chairs without interference.  

Wanker Level: 8

Kensington Gardens

We’ll be honest with you, this isn’t good. Oh, of course, it’s absolutely beautiful, with the lovely-but-extremely-unimaginatively-named Round Park and the west bank of the Serpentine but we’re not here for the niceness are we? We’re here for the wankers.

And, unfortunately, given the presence of Kensington Palace, you’re never more than a frisbee-throw’s distance from someone still mourning Diana. Secondly, there are always loads of games of football going on with permatanned Ronaldo-alikes preening everywhere but that’s not the main problem. No, that lies with the fact that a large portion of the music industry is located nearby, and we know they’re all irredeemable pricks. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ve got the Daily Mail offices too. Avoid at all costs unless you want to see Paul Dacre with his top off after five pints screaming at the top of his lungs that this country is going to the dogs.

Wanker Level: 8

Peckham Rye

A lovely, gently sloping park, with an incline that suits the arch in your back like a luxe armchair for long, lazy days of grazing in the summer sunshine. It’s got a spot-on ratio of trees-to-empty-space ratio, that when the sun sets, it breaks over the tops of the leaves in such an ethereally blissful way that the only thing you can think is “it’s good to be alive.” However, it’s also near where I – the colleague Gary asked to fill in this section as he’s never been – live, and where seemingly every other person who would mortifyingly describe themselves as “a creative” of no renown now lives. It’s a park where the sort of people who actually buy ‘zines’ and recognise one another from their Twitter avatars go to huff supermarket Prosecco and drone on and on endlessly about the ‘future of content’.

It is lovely, though.

Wanker Level: 9

St James’s Park

St James’ Park is surrounded on all sides by the trappings of the British Empire: Buckingham Palace; Horse Guards; Whitehall and so on. The only people who come here, therefore, are those who work for the bad parts of the government or those who especially like the royal family.

So you’ve got soldiers in funny costumes on one side, and on the other you have the Mall, the Queen’s own front drive, which has a huge union jacket flapping every 10m or so, just in case you forget which country you’re in.

On the plus side, it does have a flock of pelicans which were donated by a Russian ambassador in 1664, but the camels, crocodiles and elephants that also used to live there are sadly all gone, leaving nothing but regiments of tourists wearing rad London Underground merch and sad civil servants choking down their Tesco meal deals in the drizzle.

Wanker Level: 9

Clapham Common

How wanky a park is, is directly correlated to how many frisbees there are in it. Clapham Common has the most frisbees in it, so it’s the wankiest. It’s full of that particular type of smug Australian male that works in tax, has a loose pink vest on, and always carries a frisbee. Good luck trying to eat your Magnum in peace, surrounded by a pack of whooping hounds chucking about high-speed weapons like they’re in Mad Max 2.

But that’s not it - keeping the British end up is the boat shoe contingent, also inexplicably carrying frisbees, but with a worn-out rugger ball for backup. Also, no vests - they’re dressed for Henley Regatta instead. Still work in tax, mind, still wankers.

Also all of the festivals on Clapham Common are exclusively bad.

Wanker Level: 10