Queen opens Jubilee Gardens on London's South Bank

image captionThe International Brigades Memorial was restored and relocated to the gardens

The Queen has officially opened the London gardens that were created to mark her 60-year reign.

She formally opened the Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank, on the site of the former Festival of Britain.

The gardens, in the shadow of the London Eye, have undergone a £5m transformation with flowerbeds planted, new grass laid and granite paths completed.

Almost 100 mature trees have been planted including English Oaks.

Flat featureless space

Ted Inman, chairman of the Jubilee Gardens Trust, which manages the open space, said: "Originally it was the Festival of Britain site then a car park and it was also the 1977 Jubilee Gardens."

He said it ended up as a flat featureless space, but was now a fitting tribute to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

"It's now an open space worthy of where it is, it's so busy now and well used," he said.

"We opened at the end of May in time for the river pageant and there were about 15,000 people here watching the procession."

image captionThe Queen met children in a playground at the opening of the Jubilee Gardens

The Jubilee Gardens also feature granite seating alongside a path network made from the same material, a new playground with a "jungle arena", "spider web" and a flock of wooden sheep for children to enjoy.

The International Brigades Memorial, a tribute to British volunteers who served with republican forces in the Spanish Civil War, has been restored and relocated with adjacent seating areas.

Responsibility for the gardens, part of the Southbank Centre site, has been transferred on a long lease to the Jubilee Gardens Trust, a registered charity.

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