It's stopped raining as much, it's warm in brief patches and it's unbearably muggy the rest of the time. You know what that means? The British summer is here, baby! To mark the occasion, why not get out of the house and head down to a park? You know, a nice little park, like that one you had a picnic in with your parents 13 years ago.
But how best to find one of these nice parks? The internet, of course! Because on the internet, you'll find reviews of parks left by people who, for one reason or another, have felt compelled to share their thoughts about expanses of tarmac and grass, typed out furiously, screamed into the void, to be read – presumably – by no one at all.
Until now, that is. Because to lend a helping hand in your quest for a bit of grass on which to drink increasingly warm, flat beers, I've scoured every review I could find and created this list of Britain's objectively most shit parks, so at least you know which ones to avoid.
Peace Garden, Birmingham (2 Stars)
John N laments what might have been: "The idea behind the Peace Gardens is nice. It's a monument to Birmingham's losses in the Second World War. Unfortunately it feels decidedly sketchy, and seems to be the kind of spot that attracts dodgy looking characters. Also some of it seems to be falling into disrepair, which doesn't exactly encourage visitors."
Michelle B was moved to laughter by its inadequacies: "Underwhelming and slightly amusing. This is pretty much the second thing the Mrs and I saw in the city – the first being an array of 'gentleman's clubs'. It, in theory, would be a cute little space, but like John previously mentioned, it seems like a bit of a wasted space in a rather random area."
Ardwick Green Park, Manchester (2.5 Stars)
Sam R gets straight to the point:"Ardwick Park is a thin strip of green right by the busy A6 dual carriageway near Manchester Apollo. It's not the place to go for an afternoon picnic or for a lengthy stroll, purely because of the fact that it's not very big and it's by a main road"
Alfie B doesn't exactly leap to its defence: "I don't know why anyone would want to visit Ardwick Park at all, ever. The area looks dangerous and there are often bull dogs knocking about in the park. The swings look dangerous too, and swings are rubbish anyway."
But every cloud has a silver lining, and Ardwick Green Park is no exception:
"There's one nice tree"
SHOREDITCH PARK, London (3 Stars)
Chris F hasn't got a lot of time for grass: "I live right nearby but I've only occasionally walked through the park to get somewhere else. It's nice having a bit of green space around, I guess, but it's a bit of a waste of space most of the time."
Colleen C felt the need to express her feelings through a simile: "Shoreditch Park is like an ugly dog. Even an ugly dog is still pretty good – because it's a dog and I like most dogs. Even an ugly park is a park – and for that, we thank it."
Dan R agrees: "Yep, it's definitely a park."
PARADE GARDENS, Barry (3 Stars)
An anonymous Qype user from the Vale of Glamorgan offers up the geographical explanation for the park's shortcomings that nobody asked for: "This park is a bit disappointing. It sounds so grand, but is little more than a grassy strip. When it was laid out, almost 100 years ago, it would have been much wider, but cliff erosion has meant that a large part of it has disappeared into the sea."
Ceri M is more upbeat: "Nice to walk through on your way to or from The Knap/Romily Park, etc. However, lately this has been used by dog walkers and some don't clean up their pets' mess! Be careful when walking there in the dark!"
Camperdown Country Park, Dundee (2.5 Stars)
Jennifer is underwhelmed: "Camperdown is the standard place you are taken when you are little on a school trip if you live in Dundee. The zoo section is alright – it's fine for chickens or other little animals, but doesn't have any of the really exciting variety of animal."
One user from Berlin was so uninspired that they decided to seemingly just copy and paste some information about the park from another website.
Another, going by the name of Alan T Teasmaid, tells an incredible, if possibly fictitious, tale of their account at the park, which I cannot and will not cut down to an easily digestible couple of lines. Please go and read it in full by clicking the link above.
THE LEVEL, Brighton (3.5 Stars)
Mike F delivers a few home truths: "As far as mid-city rural retreats go, the Level is pretty poor. At no point do you feel like you've escaped the hustle and bustle, as it's a magnet for wacky juggling students with dreadlocks, poi and acoustic guitars. Another social group commonly found hanging around the Level are the drunken washouts who'll see no issue in hassling you for fags, booze, cash or company."
Nobody asked for Sophie W's life story, but that didn't stop her: "The Level is a funny old place. I've seen a lot of quite open drug use happening just yards away from me. I'm generally a 'live and let live' kind of girl, but if you're a bit more sensitive… Although I guess it is technically a park, it feels a bit more like a green or a common. I just realised I'm still defining a park as somewhere that includes a children's play area. I'm 25! Oh dear."
Oak Hill Park, Accrington (3.5 Stars)
One Qype User paints a vivid, if problematic, picture of the park's fall from grace: "A shadow of its former self, chavs hang about the monument at night (but I suppose chavs have always hung about the monument at night ?!!). The band stand has been torn down and it's now a pretty ordinary park."
Another commenter echoes what we've already heard, but offers a faint glimmer of hope that the old lady may eventually rise again: "This place has really gone down hill, not as much happens there as it once did. I must say, however, there is a wonderful playground for children and it's a beautiful place to go for a walk."
GARTSIDE GARDENS, Manchester (1 Star)
Sam R has left 674 reviews on Yelp, and I'd wager that none have been more witty/scathing than this: "Gartside Gardens is a pleasant name, isn't it? You would think that a park with a name like this would be a lovely, urban retreat. Gartside Gardens is nothing of the sort. Basically, because it's a park surrounded by loads of housing, all the kids spill out into the park. And after dark, the kids aren't nice. My girlfriend's car got broken into right by this park, and as I arrived back at the car to find a kid actually in my car trying to find something to rob, he used the usefully situated park to get away through. So Gartside Gardens isn't a nice park. It's just a rat run for criminals."
Govi Gao over on Google Reviews is decidedly more enthusiastic, giving the park five stars: "New basketball playground!"
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