Kings' Park In Retford

Raising the Green Flag at Kings Park 2017

Address: Chancery Lane, Retford, Nottinghamshire, DN22 6DF

Opening Times: Kings Park offers free public every day, 365 days a year

An Award Winning Park

In the Peoples Choice Award for 2013 (organised by The Keep Britain Tidy group), Kings Park was voted Britain's 5th Favourite Green Space/Park.

In achieving this status our premier green space beat off extremely stiff competition within a group of 1,448 elite Green Flag Site Winners.

Kings' Park first received national recognition in 2007 as winner of Britain's Best Park competition in the Midlands region.

Since 2008 the Park has achieved the prestigious Green Flag Award. The Award celebrates the very best, most well-managed parks and green spaces in the country. Places that are constantly looking to improve, both for now and for future generations. Staff and volunteers are trying new ideas, taking risks, and involving others to improve their sites.

The criteria for receiving this award is:Formal Gardens Kings Park

  • A welcoming place
  • Healthy, safe and secure
  • Clean and well maintained
  • Sustainability
  • Conservation and Heritage
  • Community involvement
  • Marketing
  • Management

The Award is reassessed on an annual basis and Kings' Park has achieved The Green Flag Award every year since 2008.

Green Flag's Special Award for Innovation

Each year Green Flag celebrate the very best innovations occuring across Green Flag-awarded sites with their Special Innovation Award.

The Council used Local Democracy Week (October 2015) to consult with local schools within Retford.  The school children were presented with three different concepts on the splash park design and through the process of voting were able to choose which type of facility they would like. 

This gave the children a valuable opportunity to discover and learn more about democracy within society, how to conduct a ballot to vote and how to decide upon a preferred design based on a majority vote.

The park's new Water Splash Park is now in place and has proved to be a huge success, meeting the expectations and needs of the local community along with the many visitors it attracts to the park. 

Plus the installation has given local children an opportunity to have their say and learn more about democracy and how it works within society by conducting their own ballot. And provided the Council with a different way forward on the decision making process for similar projects in the future.

Features and Facilities

Located in the very heart of Retford, award-winning Kings' Park is often described as the 'Jewel in the Crown’ of the Council’s green spaces.

Covering an area of over 10 hectares, the park is divided into two parts by the River 

Idle, which provides a scenic backdrop for people using the facility. The park has many features and facilities including:

  • Children's Water Play Area*  Kings Park Tennis Courts
  • Bowling Green*
  • Tennis Courts x2*
  • Multi-Use Games Area
  • Skate Park
  • Play Area
  • New Performance Stage 
  • Rose Garden
  • Community Garden
  • Wildlife Garden
  • Formal Gardens
  • New Kiosk/Public Conveniences*

*Seasonal (May to September)

Parkland to the east of the River (Formal Gardens)

This area of the park is an ideal setting for relaxation and passive recreational pursuits. It boasts various types of specimen trees from different regions of the world, as well as neatly kept hedges, regularly mown lawns, impressive water features and flower beds.

Kings Park Rose Garden

Here you will find the various formal gardens laid out in a traditional parkland landscape including a stunning rose garden planted with a wide range of colourful, highly scented roses and lavender with climbing rose varieties supported on ornate metal archways leading into the centre of the garden. Next to this garden is the limestone rock and water garden with its very own waterfall feature cascading over the rocks into the pond area.

The park’s refurbished tennis courts are available for informal use free of charge throughout the summer months.

The Community Garden is found behind the Goodhall Hall building on the Chancery Lane Goodwin Hall Gardens - Kings Parkboundary of the park. Accessible by the riverside path through the park it incorporates patio-cum-seating with raised beds and trellis work for climbing plants. There is also a large circular paved section with seating surrounded by mixed planting and an impressive winter border that adds to this garden feature adjacent to the arboretum area of the park.  The garden provides an opportunity for both users of the Hall and visitors alike to meet and relax within a quiet and colourful garden environment.    

Parkland to the west of the River (West Retford Hall side)

In contrast to the Formal Gardens, the parkland to the west of the river opened as an extension much later – in 1960 – and caters for younger visitors.  

Kings Park Water Play

The park includes a children’s play area with a range of challenging and stimulating play equipment along with the more traditional items of equipment such as swings, slides and roundabouts for children of all ages.

In August 2016 the park celebrated the opening of a new children’s water and sand play area next to the existing play area incorporating a pirate ship, water cannons and jets, hanging buckets and sand play.New kiosk King Park

Kings Park Water Play 2

Please note that this facility is seasonal and will re-open daily between 10:00am and 6:00pm from Friday 4th May to Sunday 9th September 2018

Take the opportunity to enjoy some light refreshments or maybe an ice cream or hot/cold drink from the park’s new kiosk. Open most days during the summer months from April to September the kiosk also offers access to the toilet facilities.

Skatefest 2017 - Kings ParkFor older children and young people a separate bespoke concrete skateboard park facility and multi-use ball court can be found on the area between Inkerbridge Bridge (Pelham Street) and Carr Bridge (West Street). The area is known as 'Retford Skate Park'.

Multi-Use Performance Area

In August this year we officially celebrated the opening of our new multi-use Performance Area.

The Retford Civic Society successfully applied for a £20k grant from Nottinghamshire County Council's Supporting Local Communities towards the costs of building the canopy.

Kings Park Performance Area

The Civic Society, along with Bassetlaw District Council have had an input into the design of the pad.

Designed to be functional, robust and add interest to the park. The performance area has been located to maximise the best views of the area in an ampitheatre setting.  It is intended that the pad will be versatile and lend itself to any type of performance and we can’t wait to see the many and varied types of artists, performers and attractions who will want to use this fantastic new facility.   

Kings Park2The Wildlife Garden

Although found in the parkland to the west of the river, the Wildlife Garden with its impressive habitats requires a separate mention and is always worth a visit, whatever the time of year.

The Wildlife Garden is home to an impressive array of birds and wildlife, including Nuthatches, Thrushes and Pipistrelle Bats. You may even be lucky enough to spot Tawny Owls resting during the day or a Woodpecker flitting between the trees.

Community Involvement

Kings Park Volunteers

Kings Park's Volunteer Gardeners

In March 2014 the 'Kings Park Volunteer Squad' was formed. A number of valuable projects have already been carried out by the group including the planting of over 2,000 snow drops next to the River Idle (Bridgegate) entrance to the park, wildlife projects, community litter picks and assisting with Xplorer sessions. The volunteers normally meet on a monthly basis and new members are always welcome to join the group.  If you are interested in helping then please see the information sheet contained on this webpage 

Kings Park - Purple Crocus Planting with The Retford Rotary Club

Purple Crocus for 'End Polio Now' 

One of our last community projects of 2017 was working with Retford Rotary Club, where 5,000 purple crocus around the woodland area of Goodwin Hall Gardens. 

The purple crocus is a symbol of Rotary’s worldwide campaign to eradicate polio, with its colour representing the purple dye used to mark the finger of a child to indicate they have received their life saving oral polio vaccine.

Activities and events in Kings Park

Kings Park Duck Race 2007

Kings Park is a sought after venue for hosting events and activities including the annual Retford Charter Day, National Armed Forces Day and the Scout and Guide Carnival. Please see the Council's Event's Diary for a full list of activities planned for 2018.

Individuals or groups interested in using the park for an event or activity can submit a request to the Parks and Open Spaces Team by completing the 'Host an Event' form which can be found on this web-page.

A Brief History of Kings Park

Kings' Park was opened on June 29th 1938, to commemorate not only the reign of King George V, but also the Coronation year of King George VI.

The site for the original park occupies the land from Chancery Lane to the River Idle.  This was donated by Mrs M Huntsman of West Retford Hall in 1937.

A public appeal by the Borough of East Retford at the time raised £2,000 towards the estimated cost of £8,000 (equivalent to £485,000 today) to develop the park.

In 1960 a further donation of the land by R H Williamson to the west of the River Idle allowed for an extension to the park within the former grounds of the historic West Retford Hall, which dates from 1699 and still stands outside the north-west boundary of the park.

Kings Park Management Plan 2016-2019

The latest Kings Park Management Plan and appendices have been produced to:

  • Assess and evaluate the current value of the park as a community facility
  • Establish opportunities for future improvements to its facilities and features and formulate actions accordingly
  • Monitor the management of the park in respect of its on-going maintenance and future development potential.

The Plan also identifies how Kings Park and its management relates to broader policies and strategies at local, regional and national level.