Lloyd Park is one of the most treasured spots in Walthamstow.
If it’s one of your regular spots for weekend picnics and gallery visits you’ll know all about what makes it a pretty magical place, but here are our five reasons why we love it so. What have we missed? Add your comments on the bottom of the post.
First, a bit of history. The park and grounds are believed to have been in existence since the 16th century, but the name Lloyd Park comes from Lloyd family, who owned and lived in the house (now the William Morris Gallery) in the mid to late 1800s. The publisher Edward Lloyd purchased the house in 1857, and lived in the house with his family until 1885. In 1898, his son Frank Lloyd offered the house and gardens to the Walthamstow Urban District Council, on the condition that they be opened for the public. A full history of the park can be found on the Friends of Lloyd Park website.
In recent years, Lloyd Park was restored in 2012 with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund. Since then the park has seen a surge in visitors, wildlife, and all sorts of free fun activities.
1. The gardens
Perhaps not a surprise that a gardening blog would make Lloyd Park’s gardens the top spot! Any budding gardener will be instantly inspired by a walk through Lloyd Park’s gardens, just behind the William Morris Gallery (which we’ll get to shortly). Roses, irises, giant ferns, wildflowers and beautiful eucalyptus trees have been thoughtfully selected for the gardens. Pops of bright flowers – including the giant poppies that have just opened this week – attract a huge array of insects. And for us humans, the gardens are the perfect spot for some quiet reflection, a lunchtime picnic, or a nature hunt with the family.
2. The ducks and geese
Over twenty ducks, geese, moorhens, and other wildfowl have made the Lloyd Park moat their home, and they are all well-loved by park visitors. At this time of year, the ducklings and goslings are lapping up attention from the crowds that gather to watch them diving and exploring their idyllic surroundings. As well as the ducks and the canada geese, look out for the egyptian geese who occasionally pop over from Walthamstow Reservoirs.
As the Friends of Lloyd Park remind us, please only feed healthy snacks to the birds: switch your white bread for lettuce, peas, sweetcorn, grains, or the bird food for sale in the Le Delice Cafe. Keep the birds happy and healthy!
3. The William Morris Gallery and Tearoom
The William Morris Gallery was opened in 1950 by the Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, and is the only public gallery devoted to the life and legacy of designer, craftsman, socialist William Morris. A permanent exhibition details the life and time of WM and showcases some stunning pieces from his design collection, including furniture, wallpapers and prints. Alongside this run themed exhibitions – with Clare Twomey about to transform the Gallery into a live studio.
Whatever you look at and learn about in the Gallery, be sure to order lots of cakes in the tea room afterwards. Just order one of each and save yourself the pain of choosing between mouthwatering combinations.
4. The free events
Lloyd Park really pulls out the stops when it comes to events: the big fields at the back of the park mean there’s enough space for everyone to enjoy.
Already this year there’s been the Friends of Lloyd Park May Day Fair and legendary dog show, attended by 2000+ people! Check out their Twitter feed and Facebook page for more free events through the year.
And coming up soon is the Walthamstow Garden Party on 16-17 July 2016, put on by the Barbican and Create London in partnership with Waltham Forest Council. A free two-day festival brings together music, theatre, dancing, comedy, circus, art activities and a designers’ market. Don’t miss it!
5. The people
From the park keepers to the free gym users, the outdoor yoga devotees to the picnic planners, most Lloyd Park-ers are a friendly bunch. Is there anybody you want to give a special mention to? Let us know in the commens section below.
Waltham Forest Council website listing: find out more about activities and access for Llyod Park on the Waltham Forest Council website.
Friends of Lloyd Park: The Friends are a group of volunteers who work to improve the park and help everyone enjoy it. Become a member for £10 a year and help support the free events they put on throughout the year.
William Morris Gallery: The William Morris Gallery is the only public gallery devoted to the life and legacy of William Morris: designer, craftsman, socialist. Open Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm and Bank Holidays. Entrance is free.
Our Parks: Our Parks is a new initiative bringing free, group exercise classes, led by experienced, fully qualified and insured instructors, to parks around London. They have many classes taking place in Lloyd Park, including rounders, buggy exercise, dancefit, yoga, bootcamp, and more.
The Conservation Volunteers: TCV run the Lloyd Park Green Gym, where you can get involved with habitat and wild flower meadow creation, tree care and planting amongst many other intriguing activities.