July 12, 2024

From Regent’s Park to Hampstead Heath: Your Guide to the Best Parks in London

London might be known for its skyscrapers and bustling streets but there are a surprising number of open spaces in and around the city. With eight Royal Parks in London and hundreds of other green spaces, you can access a rural idyll from virtually any corner of the metropolis.

What’s more – London’s public transport system makes it easy to get to any of these open spaces. Simply hop on the tube and you’ll find yourself close to one of London’s parks in minutes. If you’re not familiar with the tube, the sprawling interconnected map of tube lines can seem complicated at first but there’s no need to panic. You’ll soon become familiar with the network and learn the etiquette.

Now you’ve got your transport sorted, you simply need to decide which of the parks in London you want to visit first. To help you make up your mind, take a look at these much-loved green spaces:

1. Regent’s Park

Covering nearly 400 acres, Regent’s Park is one of London’s most beloved outdoor venues. From formal gardens to wetlands, you’ll find an array of environments in this iconic setting. There are plenty of walking routes through the park and well-paved footpaths make it easy to navigate the terrain. The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill circular loop is a particularly popular walking route that covers 4.3 miles and takes you through some of the City’s most picturesque surroundings.

In addition to this, you’ll find plenty of attractions within the park itself. Visit Queen Mary’s Gardens and stroll through the 12,000 roses in bloom, book tickets for a show at the Open-Air Theatre, or grab a bite at one of the many cafes and kiosks. If you want to take to the water, you can hire a pedalo or rowing boat and explore the boating lake, while The Hub is the largest outdoor sports facility in the city and has a variety of sports pitches, clubs, and classes.

One of the biggest attractions at Regent’s Park is, of course, London Zoo. Situated on the northern edge of the park, it’s open year-round and home to more than 750 different species.

2. Victoria Tower Gardens

If you find yourself in the heart of the city, Victoria Tower Gardens is a must-see attraction. It might be one of the smallest parks in London, but its iconic location and spectacular views make it one of the most beloved.

Located between the River Thames, the Houses of Parliament, Lambeth Bridge, and Millbank, Victoria Tower Gardens is a hub for local residents, tourists, office workers, and school trips alike. Sit back and enjoy the view as London life goes on around you, visit the Buxton Memorial and the statues of The Burghers of Calais and Emmeline Pankhurst, walk the tree-lined paths, or let your kids blow off steam in the playground.

3. Green Park

Nestled between Piccadilly, The Mall, and Constitution Hill, Green Park is about as close to Buckingham Palace as you can get, which makes it especially popular with tourists. If you’re approaching the Palace from The Mall, you’ll find Green Park on your right as you make your way up the famous road.

There aren’t any on-site sports facilities, apart from cycle hire, and you won’t find major attractions within the park’s boundaries but don’t let this put you off. Green Park’s 30 acres of lush grass, blooming flowers, and mature trees make it the perfect place to relax and unwind amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.

4. Hampstead Heath

Stretching across a staggering 790 acres, Hampstead Heath is one of the largest green spaces in London. It’s situated just four miles outside Trafalgar Square yet it feels a million miles away from London’s busy streets.

With everything from ancient woodlands and hiking trails to open air lidos, swimming ponds, and sports pitches, there’s always something to do and you’ll find plenty of events taking place throughout the year too. The Heath is also home to some of the highest points in London, which means it offers mesmerising views of the capital.

Golder’s Hill Park lies within the boundary of Hampstead Heath and has its own character, along with a zoo, butterfly house, walled gardens, playgrounds, and even a croquet lawn. With so much to do at Hampstead Heath, it’s impossible to explore everything in just one visit. Fortunately, the Heath is open all year round, so you can return as often as you like!

5. Hyde Park

Its central location and size mean that it’s hard to miss Hyde Park so, if you’ve spent any time in London, you’ve probably found yourself wondering through this inimitable place. Bordered by Mayfair, Kensington, Knightsbridge, and Paddington, Hyde Park is close to some of the most well-known shops, restaurants, and bars in the city.

Within the Park itself, you’ll find a wonderful array of attractions. Hyde Park is home to The Diana Memorial Fountain, The Rose Garden, and Speakers’ Corner, as well as Queen Elizabeth Gate, the Cavalry Memorial, and The Hudson Memorial Bird Sanctuary.

The Serpentine Lido is a great place for outdoor swimming in the summer, while boats and pedalos are available to hire from April to October. You can even ride the UK’s first Solarshuttle, which takes you across the lake and is totally solar-powered.

If you want to relax, then grab a deck chair or let youngsters explore the South Carriage Drive playground towards the south of the park before heading to The Serpentine Lido Café or The Serpentine Kitchen for fabulous food and drink.

Explore the Parks in London

London is one of the world’s ‘greenest’ cities, so make the most of your chance to explore the open spaces located in the heart of the capital. Whether you want to enjoy a quiet stroll through undisturbed woodland or visit some of London’s most well-known attractions, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in London’s much-loved parks and green spaces.

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