You’re spoiled for choice with the parks on offer in London, so here is a helpful guide to some of our favourites.
Can you hear these sounds? The thump of boots on the ground, splashes as swimmers break the Serpentine’s surface, hoots of laughter from the playground and the gentle chirrup of birds? Those are the calls of Hyde Park, one of London’s biggest outdoor spaces and one of the capital’s eight Royal Parks.
Visitors can while away an entire day exploring the 350 acres of greenery this park has to offer. From embarking on a self-guided walk round the many monuments, fountains and statues, to indulging in a spot of lunch at the Lido Bar and Café, you’ll find something different to enjoy every time you visit.
Richmond Park is a beautiful National Nature Reserve, but you may know it better as the backdrop to a world-famous YouTube clip. In it, a frantic pet owner chases after his
dog Fenton, as the Labrador attempts to herd some of the park’s 630 red and fallow deer. These stunning animals have been roaming freely on the grounds since 1539 and they play a major role in the park’s history.
Visitors come from far and wide to see the wild deer in their natural habitat, as well as to explore the many winding paths, trails and hilly routes that can be found in this picturesque setting.
Whether you fancy a gentle stroll or a surefooted hike, Lee Valley offers 26 miles of trails for visitors to experience. There’s also a guided monthly walk on the first Sunday of every month which is led by one of the park’s Rangers. No booking is required and it is completely free to join in with.
An award-winning open space, Lee Valley was created as a ‘green lung’ for London, Essex and Hertfordshire and aims to connect these communities with activities in a peaceful environment. With woods, lakes, wild flowers and wildlife in abundance, this is an outdoor space where modern, open grounds sit alongside history and heritage in absolute harmony.
Londoners love ‘The Heath’ because it has some of the best views of the city. At the top of Parliament Hill, which is an area of parkland in the south-east corner of Hampstead Heath, you’ll be able to see many of the capital’s famous landmarks including the Shard, the Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral and even the Houses of Parliament (if you squint your eyes a bit).
There’s a wonderful atmosphere here and you’ll often see kite flyers, runners and walkers making the most of this ancient park.
On the eastern side, off Millfield Lane, are three large freshwater swimming ponds known as the Hampstead Ponds or Highgate Ponds – one for men, one for women and another for mixed bathing.
Whether you dive into the chilly waters head first, or prefer to dip in inch by inch, you’ll usually have an admiring audience of ducks watching your aquatic efforts.