Paul Rabbitts    

Park Manager, Parks Historian, Author & Public Speaker




Beautiful Bandstands

It suddenly occurred to me, the section on "bad bandstands" is proving popular, yet actually the majority of them are beautiful - so this page is a simple celebration of their wonderful beauty and I encourage you to seek one out and see it for yourself. 

East Park, Wolverhampton, one of the finest restorations of a derelict bandstand, rescued by Lost Art with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

Cassiobury Park, Watford, the Hill & Smith bandstand restored by Lost Art and back in Cassiobury Park after rotting outside the Town Hall for 40 years. 

Handsworth Park, Birmingham, a Lion Foundry 23 model with stunning colour scheme, and recently restored after virtual dereliction. Thank you HLF. 

Duthie Park, Aberdeen, a delightful McDowall Steven bandstand, again fully restored. Thank you HLF. 

Alexandra Gardens, Windsor - a Lion Foundry recreation by Lost Art in celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday, unveiled in 2016. 

Congleton Park, Congleton, Cheshire, a Hill & Smith model in this lovely park.

Brighton Birdcage bandstand, Brighton sea front - simply my favourite bandstand, a Walter MacFarlane bandstand, bespoke but brilliant. 

Roberts Park, Saltaire, Bradford, a replacement for a long lost bandstand and an exciting and colourful design. I love this one.

North Lodge Park, Darlington, a McDowall Steven bandstand, restored by Lost Art, and thanks to the tenacity of Yvonne Richardson and the Friends of North Lodge Park and HLF.

The Links, Nairn - the most northerly of our bandstands and a stunning Sun Foundry George Smith model. Lovingly used and cared for in a hostile environment. 

Horniman Gardens, London - a venue for concerts and weddings with one of the best views in London.

The Arboretum, Lincoln - another beautiful restoration of a Sun Foundry wonder in this very pleasant park in the heart of Lincoln.

Albert Park, Middlesbrough - my bandstand, the one that started it all off, a wonderful Sun Foundry recreation - no other bandstand like this one. 

Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, and another Walter MacFarlane restored thanks to HLF funding and the mastery of Southern Green Landscape Architects.

Leazes Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, a Sun Foundry recreation, now sitting in the heart of lovely Leazes Park. 

The Arboretum, Nottingham, this bandstand rejuvenated in the very historic arboretum.

Mesnes Park, Wigan, a restoration by the gallant boys of Lost Art, from just down the road. 

Public Park, Barrow in Furness, a timber classic, restored as part of the wider park restoration.

Victoria Park, Bath, a Walter MacFarlane bandstand still used and certainly unusual.

Lister Park, Bradford, one of the first parks restored by the Heritage Lottery Fund and this brilliant bandstand sits proudly in it. I love this one.

Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham, probably the oldest bandstand in the country from the Coalbrookdale Foundry.

Queens Park, Chesterfield, a Walter MacFarlane 249, picture spoiled by the fair behind it. 

Clevedon, sea front and a pretty bandstand from the Scottish Foundry, the Elmbank Foundry. 

Queens Park, Crewe, a WA Baker & Sons Ltd bandstand from Newport. Lovingly restored by Lost Art.

The Quarry, Shrewsbury, a McDowall Steven bandstand with barley twist columns and a colour scheme to match.

Hackworth Park, Shildon, a David Rowell bandstand in a very pristine park in Co. Durham. Home!! 

South Marine Park, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, a Lost Art recreation of a Walter MacFarlane special. Look at those details. 

Elsecar Park, Elsecar, South Yorkshire, a Yates and Haywood of Rotherham bandstand.

Borough Gardens, Dorchester, a Walter MacFarlane in this delightful Dorset park, with concerts regularly put on by the Borough Council.

Hexham Parks, Hexham, Northumberland, a Walter MacFarlane 249, in the shadow of the nearby Hexham Abbey, restored by Lost Art.

Spa Gardens, Ripon, a floral Walter MacFarlane 279 model in this North Yorkshire park, one of my favourite.

Clifton Park, Rotherham, not the original bandstand but this ionic temple is just amazing.

St. Annes, Lytham, surrounded by a paddling pool - isn't that just amazing. Another Walter MacFarlane 279 model. 

Battery Field, Southsea, Hampshire - I do like this one even though its modern and contemporary and very white and I got a £60 quid parking ticket whilst photographing it. 

Almshouses, Thame, Oxfordshire - relocated from a London Exhibition. 

Bedwellty Park, Tredegar, a Hill & Smith belter down in Wales

The Arboretum, Walsall, a Walter MacFarlane Shell bandstand. None other like it although its a Mac speciality - it was the only one he did ( although Royal Victoria park, Bath may beg to differ). 

West Park, Wolverhampton, a McDowall Steven - same as the Quarry in Shrewsbury. 

Gheluvelt Park, Worcester - living on an island and the birds love it. 

Castle Fields, Wellingborough, recently restored after being boarded up for years. 

Parsons Recreation Ground, Leighton Buzzard, my local bandstand, sweet and simple.

The Swimming Pool, Hathersage, Derbyshire, a wonderful Walter MacFarlane 279 in this incredible location in the Derbyshire Dales.

Castle Grounds, Guildford, in a most historic setting and shows off this great bandstand, still used to this day. 

Ward Jackson Park, Hartlepool, and really shown off well here. Sadly when its not in use, the shutters come down, but this is just lovely.

People's Park, Halifax, in Joseph Paxton's most famous park. The colour scheme is rather dull but the detail is just incredible. 

Alexandra Park, Hastings. A rather lovely bandstand in this restored and popular seaside town park. 

Carfax Town Centre, Horsham, a lovely 279 with very subtle colours in a vibrant town centre. I do love this one, one of my favourites. 

Beaumont Park, Huddersfield, recently restored by the Lost Art boys. Another success and thanks to HLF. 

Greenhead Park, Huddersfield, in one of the country's finest parks and restored to its full glory. 

Horsham Park, Horsham, I didn't know about this one. Simply love it. Two exquisite bandstands in lovely Horsham. 

Brinton Park, Kidderminster, a real surprise find this one, really not what you would expect to find in Kidderminster. 

St Mary's School, Irvine, the ONLY Ollerton I will ever like because the school saved it from the scrap heap as it was removed from the town centre and the school got so excited. A big clump of a bandstand. Check out the link - its fabulous

Stanley Park, Liverpool, just a wonderful restoration in this incredible park. Oh thank you once again HLF. 

Brough Park, Leek, Staffordshire, a lovely slated roof in this stunning setting. I do like this a lot!!

Sea Front, Littlehampton, a modern sea front performance space. Take note Bexhill. This sits beautifully in the landscape. 

Victoria Park, Neath, gorgeous setting for this brilliant and beautiful bandstand

Macrosty Park, Crieff, and another well restored bandstand in the Scottish Highlands, echoing to the sound of music once again. 

West Park, Goole, yet another restoration, and a Southern Green Ltd project managed HLF park restoration. Just beautiful and worthy of the accolade "Beautiful Bandstand". 

Dane John Gardens, Canterbury, a lovely reproduction of a Walter MacFarlane 279 in bright cheery colours. 

Welfare Park, Hordern, Co. Durham, and in a wonderful Miners Welfare Park, beautifully maintained. 

Vivary Park, Taunton in Somerset, a MacFarlane 249 in one of the most delightful parks I have visited, so well done Taunton Deane Borough Council. 

Woking Park, Woking, Surrey. Modern bandstands can be beautiful. Bexhill take note!!!!

Lammas Park, Staines, how pretty is this, a wonderful combination of brick, timber, slate and planting. 

Town Park, Harlow, Essex, and now restored thanks to HLF funding. Is this beautiful or bad? Could be either but it does have some charm.... and the Bay City Rollers, Hawkwind and Mungo Jerry have played here. 

Victoria Park, Widnes, another one bounces back and a lovely 279 recreation. 

Palfrey Park, Walsall, a lovely wee park and reconstructed from a very poor picture postcard. Worth seeking out. 

Eaton Park, Norwich, oh what a wonderful park opened in 1928 by the Prince of Wales. A truly unique park. 

Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich, park looking a bit shabby but the bandstand most unusual. 

Arnold Circus, Boundary Gardens, London, really simple and straightforward design. I do like this. 

Victoria Park, Swinton - how have I missed this one, it is beautiful and have been to Salford many times but not clocked this one. 

Ruskin Park, London, another wonderful restoration courtesy of the HLF. 

Sparrows Nest Park, Lowestoft - a little bit different but beautifully restored and what craftmanship. There really is some great great restoration work going on out there. 

The Leys, Matlock, a gorgeous Lion Foundry model, one of 3 bandstands in the vicinity. 

Lover's Walk, Matlock Bath, bright, colourful, simple and yet eloquent in this Derbyshire town.

Sefton Park, Liverpool, a real pleasure seeing this one and had to hang on a bridge railing to sneak across to see it. Its starting to fray a bit at the seams but a lovely colourful Hill & Smith in the historic Sefton Park. 

Derby Park, Bootle, a black wet day and virtually broke my neck as I climbed over the fence to get onto it but lovely black and white decoration to this rather sweet Elmbank Foundry bandstand in a Green Flag park in Bootle. Not what I expected. 

Castle Grounds, Newark, dating back to 1911, a lovely surprise in finding this beauty in a cracking setting too. 

Bellevue Park, Newport, a lovely recreation by Heritage Engineering from 2006 and a true likeness to the original.

Waterloo Park, Norwich - totally different to any of the others in this very elegant park, and one of 4 remaining bandstands in the city. 

Mousehold Heath, Norwich, a lovely rustic model, similar to Chapelfield Gardens but in better condition, rustically romantic and well loved. 

Vale Park, New Brighton, Wallasey, a Greek icon in far flung Merseyside, one of many bandstands that have existed over time here. 

North Hykeham bandstand - I DO like this. Billingham please take note, this actually works. Its funky.

Alexandra Park, Oldham - the Lion's Den, which isn't really a bandstand but they do play here. There is a bandstand in the park, but it needs ignoring. This is lovely. 

Coronation Park, Ormskirk, just lovely. A simple bandstand, sweet but with an air of elegance. 

Nicholas Everitt Park,Oulton, Norfolk. It no where near my most favourite but its simplicity makes this a beautiful bandstand. Billingham, take note. 

Morrab Gardens, Penzance, one of the finest settings for this Walter MacFarlane 279. 

Talbot Memorial Park, Port Talbot - a hidden Scottish gem down Wales way and worth a trip down just to see this one. 

Wellington Crescent, Ramsgate - echoing the fine bandstand in Eastbourne and looking better than the bad one in nearby Ellington Park. 

Forbury Gardens, Reading, beautifully restored in this well maintained and fine town centre garden. 

Gyllyngdune Dunes, Falmouth, a beautifully decorated bandstand in Cornwall and another well used one. A Walter MacFarlane 279, who else! 

Campbell Park, Milton Keynes, modern and in my view magnificent. Billingham take note. 

The Walks, Kings Lynn - fantastic colour scheme, in a great setting in yet another HLF funded park. 

Wandle Park, Croydon, a MacFarlane 224 in this South London park by the Lost Art guys. 

Victoria Park, St Helens, same as Wandle Park, Croydon, but with the soundboard. Another Lost Art piece. A bandstand that was always planned but never built but now it is, with HLF funding. 

The Spa, Scarborough, this is truly stunning, every detail, its location, its design and grandeur. Just beautiful. 

Peasholm Park, Scarborough, not the most beautiful but the only floating bandstand that I know of, and in a great park, AND its still used too. 

Sea Road, South Shields - how did I miss this one. I have been here so many times as a child and never noticed the beauty of this seaside bandstand. Who knows what stories this one could tell? Or the activities that have been held on her. 

Queen Elizabeth II Square, South Woodham Ferrers in Essex. This sits within the surrounding vernacular perfectly. Well thought out and beautifully designed. 

Castle Grounds, Tamworth, a rather unique one this but delightfully so. Great location and visually gorgeous. 

Jubilee Park, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, another surprise find and dating from 1935 still in beautiful condition. 

Valley Gardens, Withernsea, a modern bandstand dating from 2002, which I really wasn't sure about but it is rather funky. 

Castle Park, Whitehaven - a funky bandstand from West Cumbria. Dates from 1936, but worthy of a beautiful bandstand.

Ponciau Park, Wrexham - Billingham & Bexhill, take note. This is modern, vibrant well designed and not sh*t.

Grove Park, Weston super Mare - dating from 1891 and a Sun Foundry bandstand, from Alloa and popular on postcards.

Ropner Park, Stockton on Tees - a lovely MacFarlane 279 and great colour scheme in a beautifully restored park.

Barnes Park, Sunderland - I never thought this would ever be restored and one of 3 great bandstands in the land of the mackems. 

Battersea Park, Wandsworth, London - a really beautiful bandstand in a simply irresistible park and this is the 3rd iteration of a bandstand here - this one by Bandstands Ltd, and its lovely. Billingham - take note please, and Bexhill - you should have taken note! 

Victoria Jubilee Park, Whitchurch - a wonderful Walter MacFarlane bandstand in this Shropshire town, well maintained and well used and worthy of the title "beautiful bandstand". 

Public Gardens, Grange over Sands - this rather lovely Scottish bandstand in stunning gardens and extremely well used with Music in the Park every weekend - see here for the 2015 programme. 

Victoria Gardens, Chatham - a lovely MacFarlane 279 on this hill top park and a vibrant red and green colour scheme. 

Vine Recreation Ground, Sevenoaks - a rare MacFarlane 224 model in this gorgeous little recreation ground, and just restored as is the cafe next door. 

Brenchley Gardens, Maidstone, with the very spectacular references to composers including Handel and Bach. A very old bandstand indeed. 

Whatman Park, Maidstone, originally a bad bandstand until I visited it. Fantastic setting and an immense structure. Looks good from all sides and popular for music and theatre. 

Stanley Park, Blackpool - a very popular park and one still extremely well used. A greek temple in Blackpool? I do like this one and in a wonderful park too. 

Caldecott Park, Rugby - a lovely arts and crafts style bandstand in a lovely park. Simple colour scheme and I recall seeing it in very poor condition. 

Dock Park, Dumfries - a well restored 279 in a very dull and damp Dumfries, but a great piece of work by Charles Laing. 

Cutts Close, Oakham, Rutland

This was a real surprise. A very subtle and simple bandstand in a delightful park and it was a Lion Foundry one from Kirkintilloch. The soundboard was immaculate. 

Town Gardens, Swindon, Wiltshire

One of the loveliest parks I have visited and the bandstand, although needing a bit of attention, is a delightful Elmbank Foundry bandstand. 

Saltburn on Sea, Cleveland

I had this down as a bad bandstand. I was wrong, its actually really rather lovely. Delicate design overlooking the blustery North Sea. 

Hedgemead Park, Bath, Somerset

As part of a tour of Bath's parks, visited this lovely park on a hill. A great bandstand set on a terrace but with a stunning backdrop. A George Smith Sun Foundry bandstand. Loved it. 

Royal Victoria Park, Bath, Somerset

One of 2 shell bandstands by Macfarlane. The other is in Walsall Arboretum. This was well maintained and had a great summer programme, but wonderful location. 

Parade Gardens, Bath, Somerset

Not the prettiest bandstand, but location, usage and Gardens it sat in. Magical. 

Pump Room Gardens, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Restored and reopened in March 2019, again by Lost Art after wonderful work by Lost Art and the Friends of the Pump Room Gardens

Victoria Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire

A well used bandstand I visited last year and a great 279 from Macfarlane

Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich, West Midlands

Replica of the long lost bandstand in this stunning park, yet another by Lost Art.

Boultham Park, Lincoln, Lincolnshire

A Hill & Smith restored as part of the wider park restoration. Lost Art again. 

Victoria Park, Ilkeston, Derbyshire

A wreck of a bandstand, rescued from obscurity. Restorer? Lost Art and another HLF park restoration