When people think of London they often focus on the hustle and bustle, the traffic, the skyscrapers and towers and the underground. They rarely consider the wide, open green spaces and the parks that litter the centre of the city. London’s parks are often hidden gems in the centre of a sprawling metropolis, but each has its own personality.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot for lunch, a weekend picnic or simply want to reconnect with nature here are our top 5 London parks.
Hyde Park is 1.5 miles long and around a mile wide making it one of the biggest of the capital’s Royal Parks. It used to be owned by monks but King Henry VIII had far better ideas; he wanted to use it to hunt deer. A green playground for the wealthy the park gradually evolved into one loved, and used, by ordinary Londoners. The Serpentine is right at one end of the park and is London’s oldest boating lake. It isn’t just for show; there’s a swimming club based at the lake and it hosts regular open water training sessions and races. Hyde Park’s location near Westminster means its own history is often closely connected with that of Parliament – Speaker’s Corner was built in 1872 and it’s a space for people to stand and hold the floor while they vent their political views. When it gets really warm you’ll often find people splashing about in the Joy of Life Fountain.
Another royal hunting ground, this time for Charles II, Green Park is centrally based making it popular with both tourists and commuters looking for a place to stop off. The stripy deckchairs are iconic and enticing, but beware, you can’t sit for free. Not far from Buckingham Palace it’s in a great location right in the heart of the city.
Covering 395 acres, Regent’s Park is the place to go for those looking for something to do. It’s known for its excellent sports facilities with the largest outdoor sports space in central London. That’s not all. Regent’s Park is home to Queen Mary’s Gardens with 12,000 roses, the Open Air Theatre, London Zoo and Primrose Hill. Regent’s Park is home to 100 species of wild bird. It’s the ideal spot for those looking to get back to nature in one of the world’s biggest cities.
It’s the back garden of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the shadow of the nearby Kensington Palace and attracts millions of visitors every year. It’s not hard to see why as there’s plenty to explore; see the Italian Gardens, the Albert Memorial, Peter Pan statues and the Serpentine Galleries. Those who love garden design revel in its formal avenues and pathways with ornamental flower beds. It’s certainly one of London’s prettiest parks.
Founded as a deer park originally in the 17th century Richmond Park is now recognised as a place of national international importance in terms of wildlife conservation. A nature reserve is here along with a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation. Covering 955 hectares it’s one of the largest Royal Parks famous for its rich cultural history. It’s home to the Royal Ballet School and Pembroke Lodge on its grounds was the home of philosopher Bertrand Russell. The red and fallow deer are probably its most famous inhabitants, though. They roam freely and the pack is now 630 strong.
London’s Royal Parks are close to Clarendon’s serviced apartments dotted across the capital so if you’re staying at one of our properties be sure to explore the green space on your doorstep.