London Pleasure Gardens

Things to do, Event spaces Silvertown Free
2 out of 5 stars
(71user reviews)
London Pleasure Gardens sees the transformation of the derelict, ex-industrial Pontoon Dock into a pleasure garden featuring round-the-clock music, arts, cafés and bars. The Gardens aim to revive the centuries-old tradition of pleasure gardens in London; in fact the Royal Docks had its own such garden between 1851 and 1884. Attractions include landscaped walkways, a wilderness meadow, RIBA-designed follies, street art by Shepard Fairey, RISK, Ron English and others graffiti legends, an oyster and champagne bar, two permanent music/arts venues, the 'harbour garden' installation made in collaboration with local community groups, and Silo D, a listed building with a purpose-built earthwork in front of it to accommodate audiences for projections, pyrotechnics shows and other events. Events scheduled over the summer include firework displays, music festivals and promenade performances.


Venue name: London Pleasure Gardens
Address: Pontoon Dock
E16 2BS
Opening hours: From Sat Jun 30 2012; see the website for times
Transport: Bus: Pontoon Dock DLR
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Average User Rating

1.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:51
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1 of 1 found helpful

Dusty, unfinished. unbelievable that this has been opened to the public

Absolute joke. location is a dump, no "gardens" it's just mud, concrete, and shipping containers. massively overpriced food & drink. staff & secruity clueless layout is insane and useless for a festival, its one long horseshoe with all the stages at each end. all you end up doing is walking from one end to another on a long muddy path with nothing to see or do. dreadful, dreadful, dreadful. and the statements from the owners "Garfield, lol" shows how arrogant, ignorant, and incompetent they are. embarassing. stick to hippy festivals guys, you clearly have no idea what you're doing with an urban space.

After spending/wasting Friday night at Bloc, I can't see how the London Pleasure Gardens is fit to host a festival of that size. Even with half the capacity it would have been uncomfortable. After speaking to a couple of people who have been working on the LPG project, it sounds as though the site was behind schedule and in no way ready to be hosting a festival like this. From what I saw myself, it did look half-finished. The worst festival and venue I've ever been to.

This is absolutely outrageous. This Garfield Hackett says in his posting below - "Already we’ve changed the use of Pontoon Dock into a job and revenue generating cultural destination". Yet on their website they are advertising for a "Volunteer Coordinator Intern to manage volunteers for the next 3 months". That kind of role isn't an internship. It's a real job with real responsibilities - they are looking for a "highly competent project manager" willing to "work long hours", with "previous experience managing volunteers". Yet they're only prepared to pay them an expense wage of £100 a week. To cap it all the successful candidate has to bring their own computer with them. It's a farce. Hackett goes on to say they're creating a "world-class venue". What, by relying on volunteers? Does Newham Council know that their loan is being spent on 'volunteers'. It's all spin. These people really can't be trusted.

Garfield, your comments are appreciated but clearly you have no real understanding of why you are receiving such negative feedback. Look at the huge poster on your office wall then think of the site. By raising peoples expectations with some cool shoreditch designed poster then delivering a dusty, unpleasant and disorganised farce of an event which has no relationship to the PR campaign you've been waging inevitably means you are going to leave you audience feeling short changed. All the bull about 'burning man aesthetic' that you and the people that work for you have been writing about in the comments below show how truly disconnected you are from your audience. I went to the opening and thought it was awful, i went to bloc and it was a mess. I won't be coming to LPG again. I think may have blown it must be some sort of record.

Simon, your venue stinks as does your bitter lashing out at the public. Just do not be fooled by the fake positive reviews people. Do not take kids there.

Poorly organised, not the "cultural gardens" as advertised. More like an el tacky fair ground - very disappointing to say the least. Like others have said, it was very very dusty so bring a face mask if you plan to go, although given there reports of asbestos at the site, I'd probably avoid it. Google London Pleasure Gardens and Asbestos and see for yourself.

Criticism is fine but haters and trolls exaggerating I don't like, like these 'points' I've seen on the comments board: No shade- really? how about the MASSIVE undercover area under the blue marquee or behind or in the smaller dome as well as other spots on site? Nothing for kids- you could spot it's own fairground from the DLR No grass- probably not there long enough to see the large grassy area that was partially opened over the weekend and now permanently Rubbery food- some good representatives of the excellent festival food units, with vegetarian, caribbean etc and an excellent oyster bar Z-list bands- Alabama 3, Dreadzone, Correspondents and others not z-list and well established great live acts well known on the festival circuit plus, it was FREE to see them! Dirty toilets, no toilet paper- portaloos can get quite bad but went both days and they were cleaned and stocked with toilet roll, had pump flushes and hand sanitizer and personally found them fine compared to other events Poor drinks selection, warm cans- most cans I bought had come out of ice buckets and were icy cold, also the variety of drinks available was fine and there was a cocktail bar there for Pete's sake. After speaking to workers and people involved whilst there I know the few legitimate gripes/teething problems will be sorted and this place will quickly reach it's potential and more. Be grateful for the choice London and there will be a clamour for this area to be kept on after it's current 3 year lifespan with some great events, arts projects and acts having been staged there.

Needs something to cover the dusty hardcore, but a great event otherwise fab bands art work and when the garden (yes grass and greenery) was opened up, there was the whole point. an oasis in an industrial back water. looking forward to future events.

I actually live right across the road and considering these guys were supposed to start 12 months ago, and actually started I think 6 weeks ago they did a pretty good job. Its not the pleasure garden advertised but from what I saw it has the potential to be. They had some great entertainment and I thought the food was decent compared to other events I've been to, certainly for a free event. Rating the event, which I think is the idea then 3 stars. For the work they have done and the potential of this place I'd give 5.

With all the complaints about dust - its difficult to gloss over the fact that previous studies relating to the redevelopment of this industrial wasteland have reported dumped asbestos. As a local resident, I'm highly dubious that the rushed job to finish this venue on time has fully dealt with this contamination.

Wow. Amazed to see these reviews. Did I go to a different event? ;) I thought Hypnotic Brass Ensemble played really well. Entry was totally free. The venue was new and quirky, with street art and a big dome and interesting little benches. The pyrotechnic theatre show was entertaining and I walked straight in and didn't have to pay a penny. Sure, it was opening night and so there were issues to address which I'm sure the organisers are aware about... for me these include: (a) Dust -- although this did lend some "burning man" style character to the place (b) Toilets: no urinals and some cubicle queues positioned to block the pathways between the two main event spaces (c) The exit could be managed better at the end of the night with improved communication. Keep up the good work and I'll be happy to return :)

I went there and it was so dusty that it was impossible to breath. Came back coughing due to the fact that there was a lot of winds and the pavement is only made of sand... So that while you are walking and it is windy (as it is often the case around the area), you are inhaling sand particles in your lungs. So I was wondering if, due to the fact that the building adjacent has asbestos, if the asbestos would be found in the soil and would then contaminate the people breathing it? The council should destroy that building once and for all... It has no historical value...

I'm sure the organisers of Paradise Gardens were as depressed as most of those people reporting here at having to hold their event at this disgusting venue. It was such a lovely event when it was held at Victoria Park, what a shame Tower Hamlets Council withdrew their funding. Rather than Paradise it was more like being at the other place! Let's hope they can get some grass and flowers growing here soon and get away from the idea that industrial is pleasurable.

Spent a truly horrible half hour trudging around the "Pleasure" Gardens trying to find something pleasant about it. The site was awful, it felt like going round some half baked amusement park dropped into the middle of a post apocalyptic wasteland. Constantly had dust in my eyes, was choked by it. No decent drinks, places to sit, etc. Admittedly some people seemed to be enjoying themselves around the music / dance venues. Maybe given time it will improve. I was thinking of going to Bloc but have decided I couldn't face 10 hours in a dump of a place as it curently is. I live 5 mins away and my favourite artist (Numan) is peforming at Bloc and I still wouldn't go. Can we have seats, gardens, decent drinks please? NB the organisers should update the pictures and descriptions on their website as they set the expectations way way too high. And it's no good getting your mates to post good reviews on here as it's a bit obvious isn't it? Sorry I am so disappointed as I thought it would be good for the area and I'm really not out to run the place down.

The fact that all the reviews here are either one star or five star tells you that one of those groups is not being altogether truthful. I went to the place and it was a dusty, tedious badly managed disgrace.

Am I allowed to swear on this review site about how dire this event is? I went with high expectations only to be the most disappointed I have been by an event....badly organised and managed (amateurish is to good a word for it), dangerous (how this has ever got through health and safety I don't know) and a huge sham/con given the websites marketing spin. How it can be ever described as a family event is laughable. It is clearly aimed at the 20 something chemical affected generation. God knows what the £5,000,000 plus was spent on....

It doesnt matter how FREE something is if it is awful. And those who are interested to see how it will progress probably have an interest to do so (just a thought). Totally mis sold event and more like a building site. Embarrassing for the organisers.

So there might well have been some teething problems with the launch, but I have a feeling it will only get better. I mean Bloc festival is being held there next weekend... that's going to be amazing surely? London needs places like this to balance all the poncy bars and clubs and "exclusive" nights - if I was a visitor I'd love to see something a bit more edgy and genuine like this. I'm gonna give it another couple of tries starting with Bloc this weekend - can't wait.

Not what it is advertised as! No wow factor, no comfort. Expensive warm drinks. Very average food. No vibe. So dusty and windy had to keep sunglasses on even when dark...had to keep mouth closed so didn't fill up with dust. No paradise, minimal pleasure and no gardens. Meant to be family friendly.....definitely not. it seems like a good idea on the website ...but in reality its just a few marquees on a dusty carpark.

What a pile of shambolic badly organised rubbish. I will not be going there again even if I was paid.....

What an awful experience. To sum it up: get covered in dust as if you were in the sahara, in a wasteland full of hippies, z-series bands performing, and crappy festival food for treehuggers (yes, there's even an 'exotic tagine' stand and a 'vegan & vegetarian' one). Also advertised as a 'family friendly' venue: good thing I haven't got children as I wouldn't have felt comfortable to stroll a pram on that rocky desert full of people off their tits stumbling to reggae and smoking weed. Oh and Bloc, they kinda lead you to think it'd be in the Millennium Mill building looking at the promo videos, so I thought it'd have been a cool London version of Berghaim (Berlin). Nope, it's only 'set against the background of Millennium Mills', it actually happens in the blue tent.

went on sunday - got told about it by my neighbours who went on saturday , had a great time and i did on sunday as well..the meadow area was open on sunday which was fantastic - spoke to one of the helpers who explained they couldn't open it on saturday because of the firework display (something about a fall out zone) but reccomend everyone to got now as its a real peaceful oasis in the middle of urban wasteland - the acts were great , street theatre enjoyable and the only down points were the dust (which i hope they deal with) and the fact we couldnt use the grassy mound yet as the grass was bedding in..cant wait to go on it though....i live locally and am so excited that something like this is happening on wasteland thats been empty for decades..great effort ..not perfect yet but a major improvement on what was there before ..and it was free..have never seen so many people in this area in my 25 years living reminded me of an old ken livingston glc gig .and i got to dance with that women from dreamgirls.... what more can i say

My family and I had a fabulous time and loved that it was so different from the bog standard fest in a field. Yes it was dusty but also pretty quirky and we loved it. The atmosphere felt like Butlins circa 1972 crossed with hipster east London. Best was baroque version of Tinie Temper and the view of the bedraggled factories.

this place surely has to be a joke? No wonder it was free, if I paid here I would've demanded my money back and kicked up a real fuss. There is no pleasure to be hard at this non-garden. Its just a big, dodgy dust bowl. Do not bring your children, as there is broken glass all over the site. It's just an excersie to rinse ever more money out of you at £4.50 for a can of beer. I'd stay away from the food as well, all of it was disapointing, tasted like rubber and massively over price. I'd suggest popping over to the park next door as it actually has grass there. AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

Used to work in the area and was amazed to see the turnout to this once forgotten part of London. The site is industrial and somewhat crazy but that's one of the reasons why London is an exciting place to live. Will be back this summer!

I live opposite and have seen what they have done in such a short time.. It was FREE anyone feeling cheated needs a reality check. Can't wait to see how this transforms this area. H

Had a great time!!! It was a FREE festival dont know why everyone is moaning ? They should of been having a nice time in the sunshine... Def going back to see the site progress!!

This was really disappointing and I didn't even have expectations as had no idea what it would be. It was like walking around a dusty carpark, with the option to buy crap food and expensive beer. It was free, but its also free to go to any of the parks in London or Southbank and get much more pleasure!

When is a Pleasure Garden? When its neither pleasurable nor a garden it seems! London's much hyped "cultural destination" fails to deliver on any front, other than to annoy the local residents with noise and litter. Apparantly transforming this wasteground cost around £5million, with Newham Council investing £3million in taxpayers money into this abomination of a project. A "paradise Garden" this most definatly isn't. A dusty urban wasteground with some shanty town wooden huts painted with skeletons and graffiti... Dust, a feeling of desolation, and a lack of any real atmosphere. The funfare was sparce, the "stages" loud with terrible sound systems, the beer over priced and the toilets (those smelly blue cubicals) needed cleaning. Nothing to keep my kids occupied and the number of drunks (and trippy festival people) by the middle of the evening saw me and my family leave well before the fireworks on the opening day. We'll not be returning and feel cheated. We tracelled across from West Kensington for this, and wished we had not bothered! Avoid at all costs. The organisers should be ashamed and the council should be questioning the wisdom of investing such a huge amount of public money into this ill concieved and frankly shambolic venture. BEST AVOIDED!!!

Very disappointing - it looked like one of those desolate nuclear test areas they use US desert back in the 50's .I was there for the first hour half the place was closed nowhere to sit and nowhere to get shade from the sun .Looked very good on the website but failed to deliver . I am sure it go better few hours later but my patience was exhausted out but then . US back in the fifties .

I did not mind the urban feel of the place, although honestly it was not what I was expecting. I thought it would be more like a garden, or at least have a garden area, which I did expect from the term Paradise Gardens. I also agree with most people saying there were hardly any areas to sit down and relax. It was disappointing that you could not get up and close with the artworks on offer at the site as well, as that was my main reason for going. Hopefully this is something that would be improved in the future. There were a good selection of stalls, but it did feel a bit more like a food festival with all the food stalls. It had a nice vintage fun fair and the live music sounded good as well, offering a more varied selection of artists and bands. Lots of people were also very happy to get involved with the Ballroom area as well. However, I just think that the event suffered from perhaps being brought to public's attention a bit too early, as the site did not feel complete. However, as it is still developing I am sure it can only grow and get better as an event site.

A real shame that hardly any of the stuff promised on the website was delivered (err floating cocktail lounge, grass, gardens!!?!?) because it sounded amazing and should be (the location is awesome). It wasnt finished, it was badly organised and isnt in any way a garden. Half the site was closed off, there was only one tree which still had the polythene wrapping hanging from the top and no grass! The main problem is the dusty gravel which made it unbearable and instead of being a lovely chilled out place there is nowhere to sit. Food is average festival rubbish and beer £4.50 for a warm can. Seems like they have been a little over ambitious in terms of timescales. Massive pity, it could be brilliant.

This is what makes London great!! Crazy new projects like this, amazing art!! Nice crowd and loved the solution sound system!!

Wow what a transformation from an industrial wasteland that has sat empty for years! Yes was dusty, but enjoyed the day, amazing views and can't wait to see how this site develops.

More like a dusty carpark, an end-of-the-world post apocalyptic rubble field... felt like a bit of a mis-sell? Still have the dust coming out of my eyes a day later...

I went on Sunday - had a great time and so did everyone I went with. The bands were fantastic (Ska Cubana, Alabama Three and the fabulous Ida Barr for free? What's not to like?) plus other treats such as amazing baroque costumed performers set against a waterside industrial landscape - really memorable. Yes, it's dusty (hence 4 stars not 5) - but the prospect of three years of a festival site full of such brilliant entertainment - in London - is amazing. More!!!!!

A very grim place - we lasted twenty minutes in this unreclaimed indiustrial wasteland. Please stay away from this venue, London has so much more to offer than dirt, dust, chaos and contempt. Apparently this was funded by a loan from the Borough of Newham. I hope the good people of Newham manage to get some of it back.

when i was there 1000's were having fun so it couldnt have been that bad! i enjoyed it (as did my son). thought the fireworks at the end would be a traditional display but turned out to be quite different - incorporating music, lighting, actors and singers with a little bit of history of silvertown as well. thought it was really very interesting, and of course fireworks are always there anyone who doesnt love fireworks.

Aside from a small area of plastic garden chairs there was nowhere to sit. Even the most up-for-it club is going to have chill areas. Considering it was being advertised as family friendly pleasure gardens, it was just a failure. Even for free.

I failed to find any "pleasure" in the London Pleasure Gardens. If your in the idea I suggest you go on the Emirates Air•Line (cable cars) and take in the amazing views. I don't live very far so I can sit in the comfort of my garden and enjoy the live music. I won't be in a hurry to return. A dispicable waste of funds!

If only there was grass! You couldn't relax there, hence no pleasure at all. All I wanted was to sit on some grass, with a cider near a music stage, get some food later on and enjoy the day and festival spirit. Due to the stony dusty ground this was far from a garden filled with pleasures. Remove everything, plant some grass, spread it out a little further if possible and it would have the potential to be wonderful.

Family Opening Event at the London Pleasure Gardens. Only 2 words I can use. Absolutely appalling!!! Dangerous site with all the dust, stones and broken glass, definitely not family friendly. Also very concerned to see how poorly organised it was from everything including the late opening, traffic guidance, anti social behaviour, drunk revellers, entrance on a very busy main road, and lack of co-ordination of people arriving on DLR and by foot. The entertainment didn't really cater for children from what I saw and as there was no where to sit within the site people were going outside and causing a nusience around the local residents and the local park. I would avoid this at all costs and even if you paid me to attend I wouldn't go back!

I saw a Mafia Wedding - it was mad genius, yes it was dusty but to see this site become a festival location was great yesterday, it's good to have new things and yes it wasn't perfect but they're here for a while I hope it'll become something special, I'll be going back to find out more, that's for sure! Hope the people behind it stick with it

Unfortunately the pleasure gardens as described above do not bear any resemblance to the site.. The whole area is currently dusty and stony and as it was windy, there was more pain than pleasure!, There are lots of places to eat at, serving festival type food but not much else. There is a sort of a token fairground with a helter skelter and carousel but it looks very tacky. We walked round it and then walked out - no where to sit and have a beer. Couldn't see any of the cafés, beach, floating lounge etc. The entrance is through a sort of fin de siècle style gateway but the many skeletons and death heads give it a slightly scary and occultic appearance. Overall it would have to get an awful lot better to get me to go back.

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