Explore the city’s beautiful parks, from boating in Hyde Park to deer-spotting in the woods of Richmond Park.
See incredible London wildlife, wonderfully planned gardens, and of course, lots of space for summertime picnics and refreshing winter tours in London’s parks. As well as being ideal for relaxing, London’s parks have plenty of things to do and activities to experience. Sports events; open-air theatre; live music concertsand adventure playgrounds for children, not to name some of the most breathtaking views London has to offer.
Here are some of London’s largest and best parks.
Take a stroll, zip about on a bicycle, row a boat, or swim in the Serpentine at Hyde Park. Whichever route you decide to explore this vast and centrally positioned park, there are lots to see and do with more than 4,000 trees, a lake, a meadow, rose terraces and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.
Smell the roses in the beautiful terraces at Regent’s Park. Spanning 166 hectares (410 acres), it was designed in 1811 by notable architect John Nash. Alongside beautiful formal gardens, this London park has a boating lake, playgrounds and the most extensive outdoor sports area in London, and the Open Air Theatre.
Admire thousands of free-roaming deer, old trees and unique wildflower varieties at this magnificent Royal Park. It covers 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres), the views from the summit of the hill in Richmond Park are striking and are protected by law. Concealed within the park grounds, seek out the Isabella Plantation to photograph the Instagram-ready evergreen Japanese azaleas.
St James’s Park
Channel your inner royal as you wander through St James’s Park. Surrounded by three royal palaces, including Buckingham Palace, it also owns Horse Guards Parade and the tree-lined Mall. Visit the lake at 2.30 pm to see the famous pelicans being fed, before stopping off for a warm drink at the chic Inn The Park Cafe.
Head to Victoria Park, or “Vicky Park” if you ask a local, to traverse the canals, ponds and canopy in the capital’s first state park. Bordering Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, you’ll see plenty of places for sport, plus you can swing away to live music at All Points East festival each summertime.
Stop off in London’s oldest Royal Park, Greenwich Park, for breathtaking viewpoints over the River Thames and the City of London. The previous hunting park is still home to a modest herd of deer, as well as the Prime Meridian Line, Royal Observatory, and many cafes.
Leave the hustle and bustle of the centre of London just four miles away in Hampstead Heath. Climb to the head of Parliament Hill for great views or embrace #WisteriaHysteria in the romantic flower and vine-covered walkways of the forgotten Pergola and Hill Gardens.
Consider a stroll through this impressive Royal Park in the middle of London, home to Kensington Palace, the Albert Memorial, the Peter Pan Statue, gorgeous flowers, fresh grass for picnics, and the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial yard.
Cycle along the trails or take a stroll at Lee Valley Regional Park. It Stretches 26 miles (42 km) on the River Lee, past Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and up to Ware in Hertfordshire, many are the opportunities to spot wildlife, rest or play. If you’re not certain where to start, try the guided tour on the first Sunday of every month.
Chat with the animals at the Battersea Children’s Zoo or consider a stroll along the beautiful riverside walk in Battersea Park. Take in the grand fountains, cherish the Peace Pagoda and even hire boats on the lake in the summertime. This vast south London park possesses plenty of play spaces plus the four-storey Pump House Gallery.
Walk down Chestnut Avenue to Hampton Court Palace or view trees full of mistletoe in Bushy Park, the second biggest of London’s Royal Parks. You can also find Baroque water beds and the 17th century Diana Fountain in these historic areas.
Crystal Palace Park
Channel your inner T-Rex in the dinosaur park, get lost in one of the UK’s most large mazes or explore the various ponds, playgrounds and green areas Crystal Palace Park has to propose its visitors.
You should pick a warm day to cruise around the lake or take the children to the waterpark for a dash of fun. Danson Park is a perfect family destination, with a quiet rock garden and a wildlife-rich Nature Reserve, plus afternoon tea in the Grade I listed Danson House.
As most of those who live in Streatham know, something quite special hides at the top of the hill of Streatham Common.
On reaching the summit, you’ll pass the cafe. Cling to the picket fence of the cafe as it sweeps around the corner, and it’ll unveil the gem in Streatham Common’s crown — the Rookery.
A huge cedar tree dominates the view, while 20 or so benches line up with military precision, inviting you to sit down and take it in
Skirting the lawn, you’ll find yourself in an arboreal cavern, in which lies a modern-looking drinking fountain — the only feature of the Rookery which serves to remind you that you’re not immersed in a period drama. Further down the stone path, you’ll become aware of the trickle of a fountain, inviting you to explore also and yet simultaneously frustrating you with each turn of a corner that doesn’t reveal the source of the sound.
The Rookery, Covington Way, Streatham Common, SW16 3BX