New London Architecture

Finsbury Circus Gardens, City of London

Under Construction

London's oldest public park, and the largest City green space, the site has a fascinating history, from the natural processes that formed it to the communities that helped shape it.

London's oldest public park, Finsbury Circus Gardens is the largest green space in the Square Mile.

The site has a varied and fascinating history dating back to 1606, from the natural processes that helped form it, and the people and communities that helped shape it. The original green space was created through a natural and man-made process, when London Wall partially dammed the River Walbrook, creating a marshy fens, which gave its name to ‘Fens-bury’.
For centuries the park has acted as a haven to serve the community, from providing a ground for archery, drying of clothes and walks, to a temporary tented living space for those displaced during the Great Fire of London and Black Death, and was a former site of Bethlehem Hospital (also known as bedlam).
The design has stayed true to the concept of providing a green haven, referencing a rich heritage of providing useful green space to the local community in times of need.

The design seeks to improve biodiversity with three new planting character areas:
- Woodland habitat – Shade tolerant planting under the large canopies of the existing mature London Plane trees.
- Riverside margin planting, incorporating rain gardens - reflecting the Gardens’ historic relationship with the River Walbrook, including planting with seed heads for birds.
- Herbaceous Perennial Borders - Swathes of longer grass and spring bulbs providing colour and support for pollinators, including night-scented plants to attract moths and provide a food source for bats.

The design also increases equitable space with a central lawn, replacing the bowling green, to maximise space for community events and provides greater accessibility to enjoy the gardens with carefully proposed paths of Kentish Ragstone (referencing London Wall), step-free access, and increased seating. The history of people and place is a key concept for the transformation of Finsbury Circus Gardens and will celebrate the Garden’s legacy to provide a haven for people and nature.

“Finsbury Circus Gardens will be transformed into a tranquil haven for people to relax and spend time outside.
Not only are City open spaces hugely important for people's health and wellbeing, they also play a vital role by increasing the Square Mile’s resilience against climate change and enhancing biodiversity by creating habitats for a number of birds, butterflies, and insects.
Investing in our public spaces is worth every penny and supports our vision for Destination City; making the Square Mile the ‘go-to’ place for visitors and workers from all over the world.”
Caroline Haines, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Natural Environment Board

This project is featured as a case study alongside our Public London: Activating the City insight study. The publication, exhibition and online project directory explore what constitutes a successful and democratic public realm today, the role of co‑creation and partnerships, and how we can ensure that places are fit‑for‑purpose in the long term.
Download the report

Project information


Under Construction


City of London


22000 sq m

Estimated completion

December 2024


15 Finsbury Circus, London EC2M 7EB, UK

Team Credits


City of London Corporation

Lead Designer - Landscape & Public Realm



Architecture 00 / Studio Weave

Project Manager

Potter Raper

Planning Consultant

Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design

Structural & Civil Engineer


M&E Engineer


Sustainability Consultant


Public Consultation

Kanda Consulting

Arboriculturist / Ecology Consultant

Tim Moya Associates

Soil Scientist

Tim O'Hare Associates

Cost Consultant






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