Living in London, life gets on top of you. But when the sun shines, it’s one of the prettiest cities in the world. Nothing beats a summer’s day in England.
When you don’t have time to take a day trip, a park is your best option. The best thing about parks: they’re free. London has no shortage of these green pockets of countryside for you to choose from.
In no particular order, here’s Spotahome’s list of the best parks in London.
Parks in London: Central
We’ll start with the obvious. If you haven’t been to Hyde Park yet, what have you been doing?
Measuring a whopping 350 acres, this Royal Park is one of the biggest inner-city parks in the world. It’s three times bigger than the Vatican City, twice the size of Disneyland Park, and almost as big as Monaco.
Kensington Gardens and Green Park are attached to Hyde Park. They’re gorgeous, green and utterly English.
- Marble Arch
- The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
- Hyde Park bandstand
- The Rose Garden of Hyde Park
- Pet cemetery
What to do
Speaker’s Corner is a place where people can go to debate and express themselves. Famous speakers include Karl Marx, George Orwell, and Lenin.
In less than 5 minutes, you can walk from Hyde Park to 57 Green Street. What’s special about this address? It’s the only place where all four Beatles lived together eight days a week. (Get it?… I’ll get my coat.)
You can also play tennis here, go boating on the Serpentine River, ride horses, and play football. There’s also a senior playground where you can take your grandparents.
Go to the Winter Wonderland. It’s held between November and January and attracts millions of people every year. It has a circus, theatre on ice, and more than 100 rides.
The British Summertime Festival is a must. Previous performers include The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Taylor Swift.
It’s called Postman’s Park because workers at the General Post Office used to eat here for lunch.
At a glance, it’s very pretty and peaceful. But look closer at the walls. You’ll see some plaques. They’re part of the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, which remembers ordinary people who died saving people’s lives. Not so ordinary.
The ‘Wall of Heroes’ features in the film Closer (2004).
Parks in London: North
The Regent’s Park
It’s one of London’s most popular parks. It’s 410 acres – half the size of Central Park, a quarter the size of Gibraltar. Still pretty big.
Like almost every Royal Park in London, it was once a hunting ground for Henry VIII.
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- Camden Town
- Primrose Hill
- The Sherlock Holmes Museum
- Madame Tussauds
- Regent’s University
What to do
Visit London Zoo.Do you remember the Burmese Python scene in the first Harry Potter movie? That was filmed here. You can take a selfie by the commemorative plaque. Will wonders never cease?
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is said to be one of the most beautiful in London. It’s only open in summer. You’ll feel like you’re in a Midsummer Night’s Dream:
“The course of true love never did run smooth.”
– William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Next door is the Garden Café. This 1960s-themed hangout is the perfect place to catch some live jazz performances in summer. Groovy.
Don’t know what to do with the children? Take them to the children’s park at Hanover Gate. It has a timber tree house and a boating lake. They won’t want to leave.
Regent’s Park has 100 acres dedicated to sports. Get your running shoes on.
In summer 2017, the nearby Jewish Museum is holding an Amy Winehouse exhibition.
Who said English food was terrible? Change your mind at theTaste of London festival. It’s a collection of food stalls by the city’s best restaurants. It takes place between the 14 and 18 of June. You have to buy tickets.
No tourists ever really come here. It’s too far north.
They’re missing a trick. This park is wild, it’s untamed, it doesn’t follow any rules.
What to do
Have a wander. Get off the path. You’ll forget you’re in London. Climb Parliament Hill for breathtaking views of England’s capital.
It’s true, London doesn’t have a beach (unless you count the Ruislip Lido). It’s probably not a good idea to swim in the Thames, though. Fortunately, you can find the outdoor Hampstead Swimming Pools in this park.
Just rented a home and don’t know how to decorate it? Head to the Affordable Art Fair to find, well, affordable art.
Parks in London: South
The largest of London’s Royal Parks. It measures 2,500 acres – three times the size of Central Park, five times bigger than Monaco. Wow.
Richmond Park’s gargantuan size makes it a big player on the wildlife conservation scene. Deer, stags and other animals are free to roam, and roam they do.
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What to do
Come here for a trip to the countryside (almost). Cycle around and take a break for fresh air by the pond.
This is a park for watching wildlife. There are over 600 deer, right here, in the centre of London.
The Isabella Plantation Gardens are a must-see. They’re colourful enough to cure a hangover. Almost.
Battersea Park was born in 1858. Queen Victoria wanted to brighten up an area with a risky reputation. Her project was a success. This park is one of the best in London.
What to do
TimeOut London says that Battersea Park ‘has so much going for it that it’s almost unfair.’ They have a point.
If you like quaint, fragrant gardens, visit the Old English Garden. It was recently whipped into shape by Thrive, a charity which empowers people with disabilities through gardening.
You should definitely visit The Pump House. It’s a modern art gallery, and it’s free.
The Luna Cinema is an open-air cinema. It shows iconic movies. It’s a great plan for a starry summer’s evening.
When my mum was young(er), she used to give the Battersea Dogs’ home number to pesky boys who wanted her details. She would like to apologise and hopes the dogs are doing well.
Parks in London: West
They’re technically a part of Holland Park (go there too), but the Kyoto Gardens speak for themselves.
Think peacocks, waterfalls, and exotic fish.
They opened in 1991 and are symbolic of the long-standing friendship between Japan and the UK.