Knoll Park is on the southern edge of Hangleton, just to the Western side of the Knoll estate. It’s a bit hidden away as all the entrances are down short paths from the roads that surround it, with housing on every side, so you can’t wander past and check out the play park from a distance. We’d walked past one of the entrances fairly often but never had the time to stop in and explore. From the entrance we go past (by the cemetery) it doesn’t look terribly promising; a long path with a dog mess bin and some hedges, but actually the paths in make it feel wonderfully private once you are inside. The play park is nestled in the center of the park, surrounded by the large field (which seems to be mainly used by dog walkers, but could easily host a kick about or picnic if you wanted it to) and some trees and the path to the other. At the other end is the bowling green and up at the top Little Lambs nursery. From the play area you have a small view out to the sea, so you feel as though you’re on top of the world!
The play park is enclosed by a low fence and a couple of gates, but the gate on the western edge is missing so, unfortunately, kids can escape the play area all too easily. However, that gate is set away from the play equipment, so you have some time to spot them heading towards it and beyond the broken gate is the path that leads out to the path by the cemetery, so it’s still a good long way from any roads or cars.
We visited on a few occasions at different times over a couple of days and never found it to be particularly busy, though I imagine at school kick out it probably gets very busy as it’s only a few minutes walk from Goldstone Primary school. The play area is quite spread out so even when quite a few children are there it doesn’t feel too cramped and there’s plenty of space to run around and burn off energy.
Big S and Little D both immediately gravitated to the sand pit. There’s a small play house with a tunnel out that they spent a good long while crawling through and playing peekaboo in. Big S enjoyed the spinning stick, particularly on one of our visits when he made friends with a few other children his age and they took turns spinning each other around. The slide into the sand pit, with steps on one side and small rocks on the other to climb was a big hit with Big S. Little D was determined to try and climb the rocks, but happily for me was unable to get past the first one, though I’m sure she’ll crack it soon!
Down the bottom of the park near the courts (somewhat tatty basketball hoops and goals for football) is a raised up spinning swing, with chain seats and one disabled friendly bucket seat. Big S climbed up on that and had a good time being spun around by another child’s dad. Beyond that is a small skate area, with a couple of rails and a small ramp. Big S would love to come with his scooter or bike and try out the ramp which as the skate area has been deserted on each of our visits I’d be happy to let him do (unlike the skate park at Hove Lagoon which is always busy with the older kids it’s really designed for).
Next to this area is a lovely long zip wire, with a great view down to the sea from the access ramp at the top. Big S really liked the zip wire. He’s often a bit nervous of them, but he really loved this one for some reason. Being up on the top of the hill, with the sea view, gives the feeling of being up on the top of the world, so jumping on the zip wire and heading down towards the sea is quite a thrill. I really wanted a turn!!
Next to the sand pit is a noise tube, with the two ends spaced not too far apart. Big S and Little D set up at each end and had a great time shouting “hello” to each other through the tube. After this, they had a quick swing on the baby swings. The chains on these are very short, so they’re really best suited to younger babies, if your child likes to swing at all high these are not the swings for them!
There is one big kid swing at the other end of the play park, with a disabled friendly bucket swing and a basket swing. None of them go particularly high though.
Opposite the swings is the one picnic bench in the play park and the northern access gate. There’s one of those spinning teacup rides and a really nice wooden beam and rope climbing frame. Big S is on the small side for the climbing frame, but taller/older children would probably really enjoy it. There is also a small bouncy car, though this didn’t get much love from my two.
There isn’t a lot of shade, but along the sandpit side of the park is a row of trees/hedging that provides a small patch of shade at the right time of day. There is one bench in the shade by the sandpit if you need somewhere to sit with a baby out of the sun while an older child plays.
The park is all grass, so no easy paths for buggies. We have an old Uppababy Vista which, fully loaded with bags and Little D, managed the grass alright with a bit of welly to get over the longer grass/bumpy ground. But if you have a small wheeled buggy/Maclaren type buggy you might struggle to navigate around the park with a child in it.
There are no toilets or cafe (that I found, do please comment if there are toilets that I missed) so if potty training not the best park for a prolonged visit. According to the Brighton Council public toilet map, there are toilets at Hove Cemetary, though I think they are in the southern side of the cemetery, so across the Old Shoreham Road, which doesn’t have a proper crossing point near the park exit. There are also some up at the Grenadier, which is about a five-ten minute walk from Knoll Park.
There’s a building next to the large field, that looks as though it could house a cafe and I found a page online for the Friends of Knoll park that references a cafe on the site, but there are no opening hours posted so I presume it’s not currently running.
It’s definitely a popular dog walking spot, though I didn’t spot a single bit of dog mess on the grass surrounding the paths (though it’s entirely possible that we were just lucky, but it doesn’t seem to have the issues some other local parks have with dog mess; Wish Park in Hove, I’m looking at you).
Now we’ve discovered how nice Knoll Park is I suspect we’ll be adding it to our roster of local parks we call in to regularly. It’s a lovely quiet park, away from roads, with great views out to the sea. The lack of toilets is unfortunate, but with public toilets not far away if we plan well we can visit those on the way to/from if necessary. Everyone we’ve encountered on our visits have been friendly and Big S has enjoyed playing with the other children in the sandpit.
TLDR: Lovely small park, with a good range of equipment, set back from roads, with lots of greenery and a bit of shade. Sadly no toilets or cafe though.