South Bank London

Bernie Spain Gardens

A riverside oasis of green between Oxo Tower and Gabriel's Wharf.

Opening Hours

Sunrise to sunset

Contact Info

Bernie Spain Gardens, London, UK

Tucked between the Art Deco landmark Oxo Tower and the Gabriel's Wharf courtyard, Bernie Spain Gardens is an oasis of green by the riverside covering some 13 acres. 

The gardens were established in 1984 on what was once a derelict site of wasteland that had been earmarked for commercial development. The gardens are named after Bernadette (Bernie) Spain, a Waterloo resident who in the 1970s mobilised fellow local residents to oppose the plans for a new office development (referred to as ‘the Berlin Wall’) that would cut off access to the river. The group campaigned successfully for seven years for their alternative vision for the area that encompassed affordable housing, a riverside park, shops and cultural facilities.

In 1984 the resident activist group (who became known as the Coin Street Community Builders) managed to buy the area of land that had been planned for the office development and embarked on transforming the area. In 1988, four years after Bernie Spain sadly died, the Bernie Spain Gardens and a newly expanded area of riverside promenade opened to the public.

Today the park is one of the most largest green spaces of its kind in this area of London. Lucious shrubs and abundant flowerbeds filled with an array of flora bring plenty of colour, complemented by a variety of trees and broad green lawns that look out towards the river and the iconic Oxo Tower.

There is also a small community garden with a variety of herbs and vegetables that is cared for by the Gentle Gardening community group.

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