What Is The Difference Between A Playground And A Park

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The words playground and park are often used interchangeably in the UK. 

How often have you said you were going to the park when you meant specifically the area with outdoor playground equipment

There are over 27,000 parks and 16,000 playgrounds operated by local councils countrywide in the UK. But what is the difference between a playground and a park? 

When you look closely, you will see some distinguishable features to identify the two.

Size

Typically in the UK, parks are vast green spaces located both in rural and urban areas. 

Parks will have amenities such as benches and/or picnic tables, ponds, walkways, flowerbeds and more. 

Playgrounds are usually smaller self-contained areas, where there will be ample space for many people to enjoy the area simultaneously.

Equipment

Playgrounds are a hub for children, filled with various outdoor playground equipment such as slides, swings, climbing apparatus etc. 

The specific equipment is dependent on the size of the playground and the organisation developing it. It can include different features such as sensory equipment, trim trails, sports equipment and more. 

There will be plenty of seating for parents to sit on too, along with rubbish bins and picnic tables, depending on the local council’s location.

Parks will have benches or picnic tables placed sporadically and feature less equipment than a playground.

Surfaces

Due to the nature of the playground, the flooring will differ significantly from that of the park. 

Many playground floors will usually be soft and padded either all over or in specific areas to reduce the likelihood of injuries. 

You will likely find more hardwearing, durable walkways with grassy areas in parks.

Shelters

Some playgrounds will feature shelter or shades to help protect children from weather elements, whereas parks are big open spaces that are entirely exposed. 

You can find shelters on the outdoor playground equipment or freestanding, around seating areas.

Safety

Younger children primarily utilise outdoor playground equipment. 

For this reason, there is likely to be more safety measures in place than traditional parks that are open to all ages. 

From fencing to safety gates and high visibility for parents to keep children within sight, playgrounds are designed to provide a safe space for children to play and get some much-needed exercise in a confined space, away from other park users or members of the general public. Such safety measures also keep children away from other hazards such as main roads. 

They may also be monitored by staff depending on the playground’s location. 

Location

As mentioned above, playgrounds can be located in parks, especially in rural areas. 

Parks tend to be sprawling areas encompassing areas of natural beauty or manufactured spaces designed to bring nature to urban developments. 

That being said, some parks can be on the smaller side, especially private parks built for resident-only areas. 

The playgrounds’ location will typically be built in more accessible or pre-planned areas such as inside local parks, school grounds, outdoor spaces in pubs or restaurants, shopping centres, etc.

To find out more about our range of playground equipment, please visit our website.