Beautifully landscaped gardens with plenty of space for picnics, long walks and all-round fun
As well as being perfect for a spot of relaxation, London’s parks have plenty of space for recreation, whether it’s reading a book, sunbathing on the lazy summer’s day, practicing sports, family fun with the children, or simply taking in the stunning views of the city. They have also been an important sanctuary for those looking to unwind during the Covid-19 pandemic. Just remember to stay safe, act responsibly and follow the latest government guidelines.
Enjoy walking, cycling, rowing or even swimming—in the Serpentine. There’s no shortage of things to see and do in this vast park in central London: the park is home to thousands of trees (more than 4,000!), a lake, large expanses of lawn, rose gardens and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.
Stop and smell the roses in the vibrant gardens. Spanning 166 hectares (410 acres), it was designed in 1811 by renowned architect John Nash. In addition to the stunning floral displays, this London park has a boat pond, playgrounds and London’s largest outdoor sports area, as well as the Open Air Theatre.
Spy the hundreds of free-roaming deer, ancient trees and rare wildflowers in this lush Royal Park. Covering 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres), the views from the top of the hill are impressive and protected by law. Hidden within the park’s grounds, discover Isabella Plantation and the perennial Japanese azaleas within.
St. James Park
Channel your inner royal spirit as you ramble through St. James Park. Surrounded by three Royal Palaces, including Buckingham Palace, it also features Horse Guards Parade and the tree-lined Mall. Visit the lake at 2.30pm to see the famous pelicans being fed, before stopping off for refreshments at the St. James Cafe.
Head to Victoria Park, or “Vicky Park” as the locals call it, to explore the canals, ponds and pavilion in one of the capital’s oldest public parks. Bordering Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, you’ll find plenty of place for fun and games during the summer months.
Stop off in London’s oldest Royal Park, Greenwich Park, for breath-taking views over the River Thames and the City of London. The former hunting ground is still home to a small population of deer, as well as the Prime Meridian Line, Royal Observatory and several eateries.
Only a mere 6.5 km from central London, Hampstead Heath is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle. Climb to the top of Parliament Hill for magnificent views or stroll the romantic flower- and vine-covered walkways of the abandoned Pergola and Hill Gardens.
Take a walk through this beautiful Royal Park in central London, home to Kensington Palace, the Albert Memorial, the Peter Pan Statue, beautiful flowers, green grass for picnics and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial.
Jog around one of London’s largest flat open spaces, Clapham Common, or simply relax in the sun by one of the three ponds. Check out the skate park, cosy pubs, tennis courts, grass pitches and bandstand that keep south Londoners coming back for more.
Lee Valley Regional Park
Cycle along the paths or take a stroll through Lee Valley Regional Park. Stretching 42km (26 miles) along the river Lee, past Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and up to Ware in Hertfordshire, there is plenty of opportunity to spot wildlife, relax or play. If you’re not sure where to start, try one of the regular guided tours.
Take time to converse with the animals at the Battersea Children’s Zoo or saunter along the grand riverside promenade in Battersea Park. Check out the grand fountains, admire the Peace Pagoda, or even rent a boat on the lake during the summer months. This enormous London park boasts plenty of play areas plus the four-story Pump House Gallery.
Stroll down Chestnut Avenue to Hampton Court Palace or see trees weighed down with mistletoe in Busy Park, the second largest of London’s Royal Parks. You can also discover the baroque water gardens and the 17th-century Diana Fountain in these historic grounds.
Crystal Palace Park
Get your Jurassic explorer fix in the dinosaur park, lose yourself in one of the UK’s largest mazes, or simply explore the many ponds, playgrounds and green spaces Crystal Palace Park has to offer.
Sail around the lake or take the kids to the waterpark for a splash of fun. Danson Park is a great family destination, with a tranquil rock garden and a wildlife-rich nature reserve, plus Grade I-listed Danson House.