Despite widespread use, community-based physical activity prescription is controversial. Data limitations have resulted in a lack of clarity about what works, under what circumstances, and for whom, reflected in conservative policy recommendations. In this commentary we challenge a predominantly negative discourse, using contemporary research to highlight promising findings and ‘lessons learnt’ for design, delivery, and evaluation. In doing so, we argue for the importance of a more nuanced approach to future commissioning and evaluation. Contribution: • Amalgamating learning from multiple research teams to create recommendations for advancing physical activity prescription.