Plashet Zoo and Park
Plashet Park in Newham, London, is built on the grounds of a former manor house, Wood House, built in the 1700s but later demolished. Due to the cramped and often unhealthy conditions for many in London at the time, in 1889, the parish vicar bought the land to be used as a free park providing open spaces, and a contrast to the busy streets. By 1891 the area had been landscaped and the park was opened.
Today, the layout of the park is practically the same as when it was first developed, and the original gas lamps are perched along the railings, but there are more recent additions. Over the years the park has incorporated areas for sport, such as tennis courts, cricket nets, a bowling green and a multi-use games area. There is also a cafe and a children's playground with paddling pool. On a fine day, the picnic tables provide an area for visitors to eat their own food. The main attraction however, is the zoo.
In 1964 the park began housing birds, but since then the variety and number of creatures has increased. Plashet Zoo is now home to wallabies, chipmunks, llamas, goats, ponies and pot-bellied pigs. There is also a tropical butterfly house (open May to September only) and an aviary. The zoo is much smaller than traditional ones, but there is plenty to see, and there is no cost involved.
A visit to Plashet Zoo plus an exploration of the park, would make for an entertaining and totally free day out.