The City of London’s oldest and largest public park, Finsbury Circus Gardens, will close to the public later this month and won’t open again until late next year.

Current layout with temporary lawn (c) ianVisits

The park hasn’t been open much in recent years, as most of it was taken over as a construction site by the Crossrail project in March 2010 and didn’t reopen until August 2020. Although it was returned back to its original condition when it was handed back by Crossrail, the City of London has decided to go for a full redevelopment of the park.

Liverpool Street station underneath Finsbury Circus (c) Crossrail

The proposal, by Hackney-based Architecture00 + Studio Weave (00SW) with ReardonSmith Landscape, will see an ‘urban forest’ created in the shaded west of the two-acre park, skirted by a new oval-shaped pathway inside the existing Yorkstone-paved outer ring, which will be retained.

The park’s Grade II-listed drinking fountain, dating back to 1902 will be re-sited nearby.

Plans for a pavilion cafe have been replaced with a dedicated space in the southern section of the Gardens, near the existing vehicular access, which can be used for food trucks or coffee carts.

Finsbury Circus Gardens will close to the public on Monday 20th November 2023.

The Garden has been owned by the City Corporation since 1812, but dates back to 1606 when it was laid out as London’s first public park. It is Grade II listed on Historic England’s register of Parks & Gardens of Historic Interest and sits within the Finsbury Circus Conservation Area.


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  1. Malcolm says:

    Sounds absolutely awful. The park is perfect as it is.

    • Harry says:

      I agree *almost* completely. The ugly building that looks like a 1940 prefab just west of the south entrance could do with removing or replacing, but it shouldn’t be necessary to close the entire site to do that. And there’s absolutely nothing that could improve those three quadrants, except possibly if there’s space for a few more benches.

      The gardens are essential to those that use it and it should be possible to keep two or even three quadrants of the circle fully open and available while that building is replaced with something more appropriate. Anything else comes under the heading of guilding the lily.

  2. Hugh Levinson says:


    I was in Finsbury Circus Gardens around lunchtime about 10 weeks ago when it was hot. So nice to have it open again after years of Crossrail chaos. The only problem was that it was packed with people enjoying themselves. But who cares, we’ll close it again.

    So why was’t this new idea put in place as Crossrail were tidying up their site – it probably would have saved some reinstatement work being done twice. Also, could the work be done quicker or piecemeal to keep as much as possible open.

    Was there any public consultation? The public convenience is rarely considered nowadays by councils and other ‘official’ organisations. Examples are officious and unnecessary closing of parks and children playgrounds, endless roadworks insufficiently staffed taking ages to complete etc etc.

    Little thought is often given to sustaining council projects with perishable structures being built that cannot be repaired for lack of money.

    To me, the gardens are fine as they are. Just a bit of upkeep and TLC needed not a complete redesign for someones engrandisment.

    No need to spend much money!

    • Nick says:

      Hi, I am a student journalist, and I am working on a report about the closing of this historical park. Are you available to talk more about the park with me?

      Thank you!

      Best regards,

  3. Gerry says:

    Improvement means Worse.

  4. Shirley says:

    Absolutely terrible . I know this is probably down to cutting costs but a shanty town of food trucks instead of the intended pavilion cafe ? The corporation of London and the city of London have money , so this is even more sad to see happen to a beautiful space in the city . I used this space frequently for my lunch when I worked nearby and losing it for those few years of cross rail construction was bad enough and now this .

  5. Doug Zegers says:

    This is outrageous why can’t they (planners; bright sparks justifying their jobs and big organisations with vested commercial interests) leave things alone ? If it’s grade 2 listed how’re they allowed to get a way with it ? As for coffee and food trucks, are they mad ? haven’t we got enough of those already in London ? That will completely ruin the ambience and promote a tacky take away litter strewn area. The circus is perfect as it is, LEAVE IT ALONE.

  6. David C says:

    Personally I rather like the plans, and having worked there for some years I can imagine it will continue to work well as one of the rare local outdoor lunch spots. Though it does again highlight the huge difference in budget and capacity between the City and its neighbours when it comes to public realm: Finsbury Circus is already in pretty much mint condition before these works while its’ near-neighbour and near-namesake Finsbury Square a block to the north remains a tatty and worn-out mess dominated by crumbling hard landscaping, a decaying NCP car park and what seem to be the remains of not one but two long-abandoned petrol filling stations.

    It still just about works, and the cafe at the centre’s decent – but it gives a pretty poor overall impression for such a large ‘City’ space, and could be so much more. I believe there’s some complicated leasing arrangement where British Land own the car park and NCP run it (and a lack of cash at Islington Council who own the freehold) – but I continue to hope that the efficient and keen team managing the City’s public spaces can step in to help improve what could be one of its most useful green spaces at Finsbury Square (even if it is just across the border).

  7. Reaper says:

    Just what this part of London ns, yet more tacky coffee carts and the all pervading stink of fried onions all with nowhere covered to sit and rest sheltered from London’s occaisional rain. Great pity and yet another wasted opportunity. Typical Local Authority mind set. They had such a long time to tink about this while the site was being used as a Crossrail tip why on eartrh didnt they plan and do a revamp when Crossrail moved out. Not in their mind set to look forward and save Council taX payers

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