London is blessed with gorgeous bodies of water so have a look at these lovely lakes.
Next time someone tells you that London is all concrete buildings and not nature, send them a link to this article. Or, even better, take them to one of those beautiful lakes within the city of London. That’ll teach them. And quite literally so.
Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds
Hampstead Heath, famous all over the world for its open-air swimming lakes, is the perfect place to go on a hot day – or a cold one if you’re brave and have a wetsuit. A brisk walk up to Parliament Hill Summit should however fast banish any chills!
Back in 2014, Victoria Park was voted the favourite park of the people with 86.18 hectares of open space, two boating lakes (one is for model boats only), a splash pool and a Chinese pagoda. (Yeah, it’s still holding on to that one. I’m pretty sure there’s been no other competition ever since, so it’s still the reigning champion, technically). The most beautiful part is undoubtedly the West Boating Lake, but little ‘uns will love the splash pool.
The Serpentine, Hyde Park
Go for a swim, take out a pedalo or row row row your boat gently down the, er, Serpentine. Hyde Park is also home to the UK’s first Solarshuttle, a truly impressive craft that is silently floating across the lake, powered only by the sun! Afterwards, enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the park cafes, when they reopen of course. Then, head for some art and some contemporary architecture at the Serpentine Galleries.
For many reasons, Regent’s Park is brilliant. That includes the extensive sports facilities and open-air theatre, and because it has two lakes for boating, including a separate one for children. Which, of course, means that your boat races and pirate raids will be amongst only those who will take the whole business seriously.
The Battersea Park lake has been a popular spot for postcard producers (what a job!), and that should not come as a surprise. It is surrounded by tonnes of flora and fauna and makes a lovely place for a walk. Combine it with a rose garden excursion and Peace Pagoda, and you’ll quickly see why this is one of the best parks south of the river.
Alright then, this one barely counts as a lake, but Greenwich Park is a great place to visit so we figured we’d throw it in. The park is home to The Royal Observatory and the Prime Meridian of the World (that’s the line that separates the Earth’s eastern and western hemispheres), with incredible panoramic views of the city, and it’s just what we need to top off a day here with a stroll around the lake.
St James’s Park
St James’s Park Lake is home to a vast array of waterfowl, as well as the resident pelicans donated by a Russian ambassador first in 1664 (you can watch them being fed every day between 2.30 and 3 pm). You will also enjoy stunning views of the Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye and Horse Guards Parade from The Blue Bridge, due to its very central position.
Alexandra Palace Boating Lake
Choose your car (there are dragons and race cars and swans) and race your mates around Ally Pally Lake. Afterwards at the Lakeside Cafe, grab a drink or some food and explore the beautiful surrounding green spaces, which command impressive views over London.
Crystal Palace Park
All that is missing from Crystal Palace Park is a palace or at least a replacement to the one that burned down. Not only is there a beautiful fishing lake, but you can also get lost in the labyrinth and spot the legendary dinosaurs of Crystal Palace, which the Natural History Museum founder had co-created. It is London very own Jurassic Park.
Epping may be a little further out than many parks and lakes in central London, but it’s definitely worth the journey. The Hollow Ponds are surrounded by the beautiful woods of Epping Forest and a great place to hire a boat and admire the wildlife. Really, a row of leisure under the summer sun sounds dreamy right now …
A real hidden gem among our London lakes roundup, Burgess Park boasts some cracking views of the London skyline and the lake is a lovely place to laze around in the summer. If you buy a permit you are allowed to fish, and BBQs are all right as long as you are in one of the designated areas.
A little further down the road, you’ll find Europe’s largest urban wetlands, that opened to the public at the end of 2017. Offering 13 miles of path to explore and plenty of wildlife to spot, Walthamstow Wetlands is worth the 15 minute journey from central London.
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