London Pleasure Gardens

Things to do, Event spaces Silvertown Free
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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

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  • 1 star:51
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Dusty, unfinished. unbelievable that this has been opened to the public


Officially announced they have gone into administration. good riddance to bad rubbish. Wonder where the £££'s have gone, someone has lined their pockets and bankrupted numerous promoters in the process. SHAMEFUL


This site is a disgrace, unfinished, dusty and full of asbestos. Some of the artists who contributed to the site have not been paid yet, the neighbourhood has been complaining since day one of littering, anti social behaviour, noise pollution but no real improvement, traders on site feel cheated, event organisers are one by one pulling out of LPG and everyone knows what happened to Bloc who used this venue... i have heard that the LPG organisers are asking those who come out of the Olympic events at excel to sign their petition to keep this venue as a permanent feature in the local area. If this is true, it is again an underhand and pathetic attempt to bypass the local community and put their own personal interests first. A local council rep defended LPG by stating that "Glastonbury was not built in one day", he seemed to have completely missed the point - why build a Glastonbury in the middle of a residential area in the first place??


first, some perspective - i went to the bt river of music there yesterday, so tickets were free, this may have influenced slightly my experience. honestly, i liked the venue! not sure what they've done between the bloc fiasco and now to make it any better. true it was dusty, the floor being made up of gravel. we stood all day. it's true that it seems half finished and it's also true the overall aspect of the place is pretty post industrial and bleak, but i thought this had a real charm. i liked the fact that the new cable car was running in the skyline with canary wharf and modernity behind it, whilst i was listening to world music standing in a car park in the shadow of a broken factory. had a blade runner romance to it. by all accounts there were 17000 people there yesterday and it never once seemed over-crowed - over-priced yes (£4.50 for a can of beer takes the piss). Taking a piss however, was free, though the usual festie queues and misery applies... i've no connection with these dudes in anyway, just a genuine punter who took and interest in the venue after spending a really good day there (with my two kids, 7 and 2). there seems to have been a lot of mis-selling of the venue which is always a bad idea, as is rushing to finish (or worse still not finishing and still putting events on). when it's got a floor and some decent food concessions, and if it ever realizes it's potential it could be a really fantastic venue. conversely it could be the Dome, without a roof. for a one day, freebie, i thought it was great. honest. james

Danny H

Was at the opening weekend, it's an amazing waterside location with huge potential! Considering what the site was like before as i have worked in the area for over 10 years and seen it sit empty, it's great to see activity and life in the area that is not official Olympic waffle....

Martin Abrams

Industrial wasteland dustbowl with barely anything to do. Would have had more fun going to Great Yarmouth, in particular Louis Tussauds House of Wax in Great Yarmouth


One of the architects (Greg Lomas) working for the event organisers has been quoted on the internet as saying, ‘The site was covered in asbestos – it was ground up rubbish from the industrial buildings but they had to take that up and bury it' Judging by the un-organised rush to finish the venue, the vested council interest (£3million) and the amount of reported dust complaints on here, do you trust this site is safe for you and your family?


Garfield, Whatever future evolution the site might have, your PR and promotion should match what is is today. Half the venues and features do not exist, so you cannot advertise them yet to attract visitors. This is basic business ethics It is a shame you were able to con Bloc into booking here and have subsequently killed off a quality independent electronic festival already. I only hope that others take heed and stay well clear as the events of the 6th were a disgrace. The site may have potential but until that is realised to a standard that the public deserve then I'm afraid your poor unpaid workers have a lot of work to do...


I mean, i hate to say it, but... really... it's just a bit of a disaster isn't it... A trodden sand castle.

Kyle Barrington

Pleasure Gardens in name only - the reality is that it's a barren, dust-blasted wasteland, and really nothing more than a glorified contruction site.


Have they cleared away the asbestos properly? Based on last week's fiasco, not sure it's worth the risk.


Husband and I went to the opening weekend, and we are glad to hear they were shut down for overcrowding reasons the following weekend. Absolutely no crowd control. The bridge to the DLR station is totally insufficient for the amount of people they have on site, and we were nearly crushed trying to leave. We live right next door, but we were forced to leave through this tiny footbridge that could have killed us. They promised the neighborhood security officers, but we only saw a handful hanging around the entrance, and not patrolling the surrounding area, where Pleasure Gardens patrons were damaging our parking garage gate. Not to mention the dust, generally overpriced food and drink, and complete lack of toilet facilities. Oh sorry, I forgot the port-o-potties with urine and feces spilling out over the walkway. On the up side, our friend's 2 year old had a blast on the carnival rides. Sigh! We had such high hopes. They have a lot to improve upon. Our advice would be to avoid it until they do.


I went to bloc and even before the ticketing fiasco, was really unimpressed by the site. It feels unfinished and underwhelming with the atmosphere (and over-pricing) of a service station. Avoid.

Matt H

I have been to disused airport car parks with more pizazz, and with certainly better surfacing. This venue is a disgrace, and I hope poor visiting tourists don't waste any time here when there are such great alternatives in London. Horrible brownfield industrial site, with dust, puddles and pebbles. The meagre "facilities" are pathetic, and frankly when compared to the owners' promotional material the whole thing feels like a big fraud. AVOID! Any review here with more than the minimum one-star rating simply must have been posted by the owners. One star is far too generous.

Alyssa J

One comment said "dusty, unpleasant and disorganised" - couldn't agree more. It looks like an explosion happened in a container/caravan park and the debris is strewn across the venue. In a word, awful. Avoid.


Awful awful embarrassment of a site and venue. I was at Bloc and whilst the debacle was seemingly not just the fault of LPG the venue is not finished - it's a building site and not fit to host any kind of event. Avoid, avoid. I can't believe they are hosting further events!

Phil Thompson

It's with no exaggeration to say that London Pleasure Gardens is a DUSTBIN. AVOID like the plague. I'm serious, it's AWFUL. and that's being kind.


I was at both events and agree with all the comments - Absolutely terrible area - no gardens and absolutely no pleasure .


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.

Not a troll.

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.


Hmm this is worrying that a project of this scale (catering for near 40,000 people)has been wrapped up within 6 weeks. That would explain the complete shamble (no bins, leaking toilets, little entertainment and expensive junk-food) and safety hazard (broken grass/ huge screws and nails from the industrial type on a bed of dust) I have seen on site. I won't even comment on the asbestos that some commentators made reference to..Let's not forget that they are events organisers who are behind some other major festivals. The festival I have been to was of an amateur-type due to the complete lack of preparation and consideration for the audience they were targeting ie. family, people from all walks of life, locals and non-locals. I would not recommend this venue as unless they shut it down and revamp it appropriately during whatever time needed, I cannot see substantial improvements.


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.

Paul L

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.

Colleen D

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.

Peter D

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.

A Person

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.

Simon m

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!

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