Top 10 London parks
London is by no means short on green spaces - the city is peppered with grassy pockets to take a breather from the hustle and bustle. Of course, everybody is pretty familiar with London's two great green lungs that give the city life, Hyde Park and Regent’s Park, but what about some other relaxing, airy spaces?
1. Holland Park
One of the finest parks in the city, this space is polished, buffed and manicured, in keeping with the tone of the area. Built around a stunning Jacobean mansion, complete with fountains, orangery and peacocks strutting confidently about, its easy to lose yourself in the park’s beauty.
Make sure to stop by the pretty and relaxing Kyoto Garden and don’t miss a trip to the impressive Design Museum at the park’s southern tip to be wowed by innovative exhibitions and the building’s striking architecture.
2. Battersea Park
This park has to be one of London’s gems. Set on the banks of the river overlooking well-heeled Chelsea, with the magnificent Peace Pagoda, boating lakes, majestic fountains, vast sporting fields, sub-tropical gardens, a family-run zoo, a gym and tennis courts, highly-praised café-restaurant and the super-fun Go Ape ropes course, you could easily spend all day (or all weekend?!) in this supremely lovely spot
3. Victoria Park
East London’s party park, this great green gap hosts many festivals and events during the summer months, and draws the cool young hipster crowd.
Take to the pond on a pedalo or join the rollerbladers for a whizz about the wide avenue that wraps around the south-west end of the park. Finish a day in the sunshine with sundowners at the exceptional Royal Inn on the Park.
4. Primrose Hill
Capture the perfect panorama of London’s famous skyline from the highest point in the city’s centre. Adjoining Regent’s Park, this is a gorgeous spot with views that will quite literally take your breath away (its a pretty steep hike to the top!).
5. Greenwich Park and Blackheath
Location of the Prime Meridian, this Royal Park is included in the Greenwich World Heritage Area. A stone’s throw from the riverside, through the seaside-village-like suburb of Greenwich, the park comprises the stunning National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House Museum, Roman Temple ruins and the magnificent Royal Observatory, perched up on the hill, with the vast open spaces of Blackheath just behind.
6. London Fields
Over in the East, but in stomping distance from electric Shoreditch and The City lies the hipster hangout of London Fields. Whilst you might not be able to barbecue there anymore, this is a summer hangout popular with the beautiful people and includes a lido on its premises. Also just round the corner lies pretty little Haggerston Park if you find the ‘Fields too lively.
Who could forget these big players:
7. Hampstead Heath
Set over one of the highest points in London, a hike up its grassy banks to Parliament Hill will reward you with striking panoramas over the city. Surrounded by upmarket Hampstead and Highgate suburbs, this park has a distinctly epicurean air. In summer join the throngs of people eager to dip in the fabulous swimming ponds and laze out on the grassy knolls.
8. Richmond Park
This country park feels a world away from London, but is easily accessed in barely 30 minutes from the city centre. The expansive walled park was created in the 1600s as a great hunting ground for nobility, and its famous residents - hundreds of fallow deer - still wander and play in plain sight.
And two other smaller spaces that might have gone under your radar:
9. Russell Square
Pitch up with a picnic or lose yourself in a book on a lovely day in this green and lush square right next to the incredible British Museum. In the centre stands a statue of its founder, the Duke of Bedford, and a pretty water feature.
10. Postman’s Park
Just around the corner from magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral, this little garden really embodies the term ‘postage stamp’! It was originally a spot that post office workers would take lunch - hence its name - and it remains a great little midday pitstop for City folk.