What's On Offer At Escape To Freight Island?
More than just a great name, Escape To Freight Island is a veritable entertainment complex. Live music, DJs, comedy, karaoke, arcade games, a roller disco, a bike park, retail spaces and of course a variety of food and drink outlets, all this is on offer. The place's greatest appeal however are the buildings in which it lives.
Whereas the food is arguably overpriced and portion sizes small, the fairy-lit mix of concrete and iron girders is sure not to disappoint anyone with a love for repurposed industrial landscapes. You might come for the pho and craft beer, but the architecture is what you'll most likely to stay for.
What Was Here Before Escape To Freight Island?
Escape To Freight Island is situated in the old Mayfield Depot, a former Royal Mail depot. The buildings began life in 1910 as Mayfield Train Station. This was mainly used as a relief station and was at its most busy during the late 1950s when the nearby Piccadilly Station was being refurbished and electrified.
This same refurbishment however, once complete, left Mayfield Station redundant. It closed in 1960 but reopened 10 years later as a parcel depot. At the time the Royal Mail distributed its parcels via railway, making it the ideal location.
16 years on however they abandoned rail transport in favour of road haulage, and the former station was once again left surplus to requirements. It was stripped of its tracks in 1989 and over the next 25 years saw only sporadic usage. Here, it served brief stints as a go-karting track, a film and TV set and a festival site, but it was mostly left abandoned.
In 2016, the Mayfield area underwent a £1.1 billion redevolopment. The former depot was regenerated and since then has hosted many events and festivals. The first part of Escape To Freight Island opened there in July 2020 and more food and entertainment options have been added since. Its owners say they have aspirations for it to become an international destination to rival the likes of NYC's Coney Island and Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens.
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