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Battersea Park is one of London’s liviest parks.  Opened in 1858 by Queen Victoria, the park was seen as a way of keeping the lower classes in order by giving them plenty of space for healthy recreation. The park is bordered on one side by the Thames and there are excellent views across the river towards Chelsea.  The 200 acre park is packed with interest.  The most famous feature is the Festival Gardens, one of the attractions of the 1951 Festival of Britain.  In the park is the 100 ft high Peace Pagoda was built beside the Thames by Buddhist monks and nuns in 1985 to commemorating Hiroshama Day. The pagoda is one of more than 70 built throughout the world.  Other features include an Old English Garden, a herb garden, lakes, a deer enclosure, tree trails and nature trails.   Henry Moore’s carving of ‘Three Standing Figures’, 1948, can be seen near the bowling greens.  There are also sports facilities, playgrounds, a children’s zoo, a boating lake, an art gallery and a café.  Special events including Bank Holiday funfairs and firework displays are held throughout the year.  Maps and information can be obtained from the Park office, to the left of the Albert Bridge entrance, and at the Pump House, which also has an interactive video of the park’s history.   Since the spring of 2000 Battersea Park has been undergoing restoration, and will have a new pier and boathouse on the river and a promenade along the Thames and the Festival Gardens.              Admission free

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