Outdoor Adventures in London’s Best Parks
While London may be known for its many manmade attractions such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster, and the London Eye, the city really shines through its plentiful natural parks. People often say London is gloomy, but you can easily brighten any day by paying a visit to one of its lovely green parks which explode with colorful blossoms during the spring and summer months and come ablaze with fiery foliage come autumn. Even during the winter months, London’s parks offer an abundance of outdoor fun and peaceful beauty.
The crown jewel of London’s green spaces, Hyde Park makes for the perfect base to explore London and its many natural areas (and is additionally an excellent base if you’re also planning on exploring further out, like London to Stonehenge).
Set yourself up at the Park Grand London Hyde Park where you will find yourself just steps away from London’s most iconic park and have easy access to public transport that will take you to the many other natural gems London has to offer.
One of London’s most popular Royal Parks, Hyde Park dates all the way back to the reign of Henry VIII. The 350 acre park offers all kinds of outdoor recreation including bike trails and two designated horse riding trails. Cool off with a swim in the Serpentine or opt to stay dry by renting a pedal boat. Tennis and lawn bowls are offered at the Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Centre and come winter, the park is transformed into a Winter Wonderland filled with Christmas markets and London’s largest ice rink.
The park along with the Serpentine River attracts numerous birds, butterflies, and bats that come out from the Dell Bridge at dusk. You will also find the fragrant Rose Garden located in the south east corner of the park.
St. James Park
Located in the City of Westminster, St. James Park is a great place for birdwatchers. In addition to the famous pelican colony first introduced by the Russian Ambassador during the 17th century, the park is home to several waterfowl species, tawny owls, and woodpeckers. The best place to search for birds is Duck Island on the east end of St James’s Park Lake.
The park is conveniently located for when you need a break from London’s famous landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, The Mall, Horse Guards Parade, Trafalgar Square, and Parliament Square.
The Regent’s Park
The Regent’s Park is home to the London Zoo and the Open Air Theatre that comes alive with outdoor concerts during the summer months. Enjoy one of London’s largest outdoor sporting areas where you can participate in a game of or simply watch football, softball, rugby, or cricket.
The park is one of London’s most scenic with the Queen Mary’s Rose Gardens and waterfalls within the Japanese Gardens as highlights.
One of London’s wilder and less manicured green spaces, Hampstead Heath is a great place to escape downtown. Relax in the rolling meadow hills and surrounding forests which are home to hedgehogs, muntjac deer, butterflies, and countless birds. Set up a picnic or hike up Parliament Hill for amazing views of London.
Swimmers love the park due to its offering of an open air lido, swimming ponds, and splash pools. Be sure to also check out the adjacent Golders Hill Park with its fun little zoo and butterfly house.
Battersea Park is a great place to walk along the Thames after grabbing a treat from an ice cream cart. Check out the bronze Buddha statues of the Buddhist London Peace Pagoda or take the kids to the children’s zoo. Grab a bite to eat at the Pear Tree Café along the park’s boating lake before hitting the running track or football pitches. You will also find the Pump House Gallery along the lake which hosts free visual art exhibitions and film screenings.
Further outside the city centre, Richmond Park is the largest of London’s Royal Parks. Home to herds of red and fallow deer, the park is also popular with flower enthusiasts who seek out azaleas and rhododendrons at the Isabella Plantation woodland gardens. As the park is quite large, you may wish to see it on horseback or rent a bike to take in the Tamsin Trail. The park is also popular for power kiting and is home to the Richmond Park Golf Course.