1. Hyde Park
Just a stone’s throw from buzzing Oxford Street, Hyde Park is a great place to relax and unwind in the summer months. And when the weather is colder, it’s a top spot for a peaceful stroll. There’s a lot to see here, from the Serpentine Lake where you can enjoy a spot of boating to the Diana Memorial Fountain and the ever-popular Rose Garden.
2. Greenwich Park
If you’re looking for things to do in Greenwich, don’t miss Greenwich Park. This overlooks the River Thames and offers some of the most iconic 17th century landscaping in the city. When you visit this haven of tranquillity, you can stand on the Prime Meridien, the reference point for Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), walk through ancient tree avenues or enjoy a snack at the Pavilion Café. Did you know that the park is also at the heart of the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site?
3. St James's Park
St James’s Park is certainly a favourite among tourists thanks to its location which is right next to Buckingham Palace, The Mall, Westminster, and Horse Guard’s Parade. Covering around 23 hectares, this green space is home to a stunning lake, and if you’re lucky you’ll spot one of the park’s famed pelicans. You can also take a stroll along Birdcage Walk which runs along the entire southern side of the park. It’s so named because King James I had a particular love of exotic birds, which he kept in cages and aviaries lining the street.
4. Regent's Park and Primrose Hill
Regent’s Park is a great place to get lost for the afternoon. If you’re looking to escape the hustle of city life, why not stroll down tree-lined pathways, or check out the picturesque Avenue Gardens? View over 12,000 roses in Queen Mary’s Gardens or head over to the boating lake where you can hire a boat and join the ducks on the water. You can even climb to the top of Primrose Hill, which offers panoramic views of the city.
5. Holland Park
While The Royal Parks are perhaps the most popular and well-known of London’s green spaces, there are other parks too which are well worth a visit. This includes Holland Park which is just a short stroll from Notting Hill and Portobello. There’s plenty to see here including the Kyoto Garden which is most certainly the jewel of Holland Park, decorated with colourful maple and cherry trees, miniature bonsai and a stepped waterfall which spills beneath a bridge towards a pond. Occasionally, peacocks strut across the lawn and there’s always a squirrel (or ten), looking for nuts which they will happily take from your hand.
6. Crystal Palace Park
If you’re in south-east London with kids, don’t miss a trip to Crystal Palace Park. This delightful green space is home to some amazing features including five huge dinosaur sculptures, which the little ones are sure to love. These lurk among the trees around the lake and are the remains of a Victorian prehistoric theme park.
7. Battersea Park
Battersea Park isn’t far from some popular glamping sites in London. So if you’re taking a city break in the region, don’t miss this green space with its Thames views, art gallery and a family-run zoo complete with lemurs, meerkats and wallabies. While you’re there, try to catch a glimpse of the Buddhist London Peace Pagoda, which features four large, gilded bronze sculptures of Buddha overlooking the Thames.
There really is something for everyone in the big city of London. So whether you plan to stick to the beauty spots, or you want to retreat to one after a heavy day of sightseeing, you won’t be disappointed. The best parks in London are also great picnic destinations, but as most parks also have a café or some kind of eatery nearby, you definitely won’t go hungry.