London is a city rich in history and culture. Most people think of London as a concrete jungle with minimal greenery, but it’s quite the opposite in reality.
Home to Big Ben and many other attractions, London has two sides. Central London is where you’ll find museums, galleries, and other iconic sites. Head over to areas like Hampstead Heath, where you’ll find some of the best green oases.
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The city has tons of green spaces, perfect for getting away from crowds. There are many things to do in London, and visiting one of the city’s parks is something you shouldn’t miss.
Best Parks in London – London’s Royal Parks
If you ever find yourself in Central London strolling through a huge park, its likely you are in a Royal Park. London has eight Royal Parks.
The Royal Parks are the hereditary possessions of the royal family and were used for recreational purposes, mainly hunting.
Today the Royal Parks can be enjoyed by all members of the public and tend to be packed during summer.
1. Greenwich Park
The upper south side is closer to the Blackheath neighbourhood. It has intricate winding paths and towering trees, which is great for a stroll. On the other hand, its lower north side offers some of the best views of London.
The north side overlooks the National Maritime Museum and the Old Royal Naval College. While Greenwich Park is primarily famous for its stunning views of London, it offers so much more.
It is London’s oldest enclosed deer park and has a stunning orchard and rose garden.
It’s also one of the best places to find cherry blossoms in London during spring.
2. The Regent’s Park
Sitting at just over 165 hectares, Regent’s Park is one of the best parks in northwest London. It is popular among Londoners as it has something for everyone, from families to singletons looking for a relaxing day out.
The park has many attractions, including the ZSL London Zoo and an open-air theatre. For nature lovers, there’s the Japanese Garden Island (yes, a whole island).
The garden island has winding paths, ornamental shrubs, and a lovely picturesque wooden footbridge.
There’s also a boating lake, rose gardens, and tennis courts. The park hosts various food and music festivals in the summertime filled with tons of ice cream and food stands.
Regent’s Park is one of the top parks in London, so don’t forget to visit it while you’re in the city.
Regent’s Park also plays host to the biggest food festival in London, the Taste of London in summer. This is a festival that no foodie should miss.
3. St James’s Park
If you’re looking for one of the best parks in Central London, you certainly won’t be disappointed by St James’s Park. This London Park is surrounded by some of the city’s top sites and attractions.
Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben are all less than a minute away on one side of St James’s Park, while the London Eye sits on the other.
The park covers about 23 hectares and has a large lake and two islands. It is also particularly loved by bird watchers and has an array of birdlife.
While you’re exploring some of London’s best attractions, check out the park to catch your breath and take in the beauty of the city.
4. Green Park
Situated north of the iconic Buckingham Palace, between Hyde Park and St James’s Park, sits the smallest of London’s eight Royal Parks‒Green Park. What the park lacks in size, it makes up for in charm.
Green Park is in Central London and covers just 21 hectares of land. It’s not as flashy as some of its neighbours, but it sets itself apart with mature trees and grassland.
This green oasis in the middle of London is perfect for a picnic and spending the day with family and friends.
5. Kensington Gardens
Once the private garden of Kensington Palace, the Kensington Gardens offers a unique mix of old and new park pastimes in a gorgeous green space.
Kensington Gardens covers an area of 107 hectares, and together with Hyde Park, Green Park, and St James’s Park, it forms the “green lung” of London.
Along with peaceful paths and stunning plant life, the park has a variety of things to enjoy.
If you enjoy contemporary art and architecture, you’ll enjoy the displays at the Serpentine Galleries. If you love history, you can learn more about the heritage of Kensington Palace or admire the splendour of the Albert Memorial.
If you’ve got little ones tagging along, they’ll enjoy the Diana Memorial Playground, dedicated to the late Princess Diana of Wales. The playground has a huge wooden pirate ship, sensory trail, and play sculptures.
And if you’re feeling a bit peckish, you can enjoy a light meal at the Italian Gardens Cafe. Kensington Gardens also features stunning ponds and water features.
6. Richmond Park
Covering nearly 1000 hectares of land, Richmond Park is the biggest park in London. The park is a stone’s throw away from central London but feels like a different world.
It is the largest nature reserve in London and is home to rare species of fungi, birds, beetles, grass and wildflowers. It also has a large concentration of free-roaming red and fallow deer, first introduced to the area in 1637.
Being such a large area, Richmond Park certainly does not have a shortage of things to do. You can give power kiting a try, go horse riding, enjoy some golf, or even enjoy some off-road cycling.
Alternatively, you could also just enjoy a cup of tea at the Pembroke Lodge tea rooms and take in the beautiful surroundings.
7. Primrose Hill Park
Located north of Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill is the second highest natural point in the London Borough of Camden. It is best known for its unobstructed views of London.
Primrose Hill may not be as impressive as some of London’s other parks but is still worth visiting. It’s a great place to enjoy a picnic and while taking in the views of the city. There’s also an outdoor gym and a children’s playground.
8. Hyde Park
Located right in the centre, Hyde Park is considered London’s beating heart. It’s one of the greatest city parks in the world and covers an area of 142 hectares.
With over 4000 trees, a large lake, a meadow, and ornamental flower gardens, you could easily forget you’re in the middle of London. It’s also home to the Diana Memorial Fountain, honouring Princess Diana.
Hyde Park has something for everyone. You can go for a swim, row down the lake, cycle, and even roller skate. In summer, it hosts a variety of concerts. In winter, it turns into a Winter Wonderland funfair.
You can also sit back and admire the views across the lake from the waterside cafe in the park or have a relaxing picnic.
Top Parks in London
While there are many parks and green spaces in London, a few stand out. Here are some of the best parks in London.
9. Bushy Park
Covering a colossal area of 445 hectares in West London, Bushy Park is the second-largest Royal Park. Bushy park lies north of Hampton Court Palace in Richmond upon Thames.
It is an impressive mix of waterways, gardens and roaming herds of red and fallow deer. Bushy Park is also a flora and fauna haven. In 2014 it was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Bushy Park also has no shortage of things to do within the park. The park has an amazing playground for children with balancing beams, a large sandpit, a timber climbing frame, a see-saw, and climbing boulders.
There’s also a ton of sports facilities including a bowls ground, cricket net, football pitches, and rugby fields.
There’s also a swimming pool, outdoor gym, and tennis courts. Bushy Park also has a beautiful boating lake where you can row around and fish.
10. Victoria Park
Since 1845, Victoria Park has been a popular hangout for Londoners seeking to escape the chaos of the city. The park is in East London and spans 86 hectares of open space.
It’s one of London’s most famous parks, and once you’re there, it’s not hard to see why. Victoria Park has two playgrounds with traditional equipment, summer splash pools and some of the best water slides in London.
For older kids, there’s a skatepark that will keep them entertained for hours. The park is also home to many historical artefacts and has a boating lake and decorative garden.
Feeling hungry? Not to worry. Victoria Park has two great cafes, The Pavillion Cafe is on the west side, while The Park Cafe sits on the east side. Both offer mouth-watering treats.
On Sundays, the park hosts a large market, where you can find various food stalls and try out some of London’s finest street food.
Victoria Park is also used as a concert venue and hosts many festivals and concerts each year. One of its most notable events was the BT London Live broadcast during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
11. Battersea Park
Situated opposite the affluent neighbourhood of Chelsea on the south bank of the River Thames, sits one of the most beautiful parks in London. Opened in 1858, Battersea Park is one of London’s first parks open to the public.
This urban green space spans 83 hectares of land but is surprisingly one of London’s most underrated parks. Nonetheless, it still has many great amenities and attractions.
Battersea Park has an all-weather sports ground, a children’s playground, a zoo, and even a contemporary art gallery.
You’ll also find a traditional English garden with sculptures, a boating lake, and a Peace Pagoda built by a Japanese Buddhist.
If you’re looking to grab a quick bite, there’s a lakeside cafe where you can dine in peace and take in the tranquil views of the lake.
12. Dulwich Park
Dulwich Park covers 29 hectares of land with historic features, facilities, and the best picnic spots. It was opened in 1890 and remains one of the best parks in South London.
The park features a stunning boating lake, with kids and family-sized pedalos and traditional rowing boats available for hire.
The park has sports facilities and a large children’s playground with various play equipment suitable for all ages.
Dulwich Park is the perfect place to stay active as its sports facilities include a football pitch, outdoor gym, cricket nets, tennis courts, bowling grounds, and four outdoor table tennis tables.
There’s also a cafe where you can get something to eat, a garden that grows succulents, and a vegetable garden.
13. Holland Park
If you love flowers, you’re going to enjoy Holland Park. Located on the western ridge of central London, this park was the first place in the UK to grow Dahlias and since then has had a flourishing garden.
Holland Park has several smaller garden areas you can explore, including the Japanese Garden. In summer, this tranquil space hosts open-air concerts and theatre shows, making it one of the nicest places to visit then.
The park is also home to the New Design Museum, which makes it worth visiting. If you’re looking for a zen-like atmosphere, Holland Park is the place to visit.
14. Kyoto Garden
Head over to the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park for a little piece of a traditional Japanese garden. The Kyoto Garden is, without a doubt, the crown jewel of Holland Park.
It was opened in 1991 and was a gift from the city of Kyoto to commemorate Japan’s long-term friendship with the UK.
The garden has a wonderful variety of Japanese trees, including miniature bonsai maples and cherry blossoms. There’s also tranquil tiered waterfalls and a serene pond of koi fish.
Once you step inside, you won’t feel like you’re in the middle of London at all. Instead, you’ll immediately be transported to Kyoto, Japan.
15. Burgess Park
Burgess Park is a public park in the London Borough of Southwark. Covering 56 hectares of green space, it is one of the biggest parks in South London.
It offers an extensive grassland area, trees, woodland, and a stunning lake. Burgess Park has several attractions, including two playgrounds, a splash pool, and go-carts.
Burgess Park also features a sports centre, tennis courts, and a BMX track. If you’re not too keen on working up a sweat and would just like to have a relaxing day out, the park has a cafe and picnic and BBQ areas beside the lake.
It’s also a bird lover’s paradise and is home to about 33 species, including Egyptian Geese and Red-crested Pochard.
16. Hampstead Heath
Just a few kilometres away from Trafalgar Square, Hampstead Heath is one of London’s most loved parks. It features 320 hectares of rolling hills, meadows, glittering ponds, and glades.
It also has some of the highest lookout points, offering the best uninterrupted views of London, which is a reason in itself to visit. Apart from that, it has an open-air lido, swimming ponds and splash pools for kids.
There’s also an athletics track, some playgrounds, and stunning pergolas where you can spend some time. For a true city escape, spend a day relaxing in Hampstead Heath.
17. Crystal Palace Park
Crystal Palace Park is an old Victorian-style park located in South London. This 80-hectare park is one of a kind and one of the most unique parks in London. It’s best known for its statues and dinosaur sculptures and has attracted families from as early as 1854.
Along with the dinosaur sculptures, Crystal Palace Park also has a skatepark, an intricate maze, terraces, and a boating lake.
You’ll also find the National Sports Centre with a gym, three swimming pools, and an indoor running track.
There’s also a petting zoo that will keep the kids entertained and the Crystal Palace Museum, which tells the history of the Crystal Palace area.
18. Peckham Rye Park & Common
The Peckham Rye Park & Common makes up 45 hectares of recreational grassland. It’s another one of London’s underrated parks and sometimes gets overshadowed by its neighbours like Dulwich Park.
At first, it seems like it’s just big open fields. As you look closer, you’ll see that it’s a series of smaller gardens, like its Japanese garden. This makes it the perfect place to sit back and take in the beauty of the park.
There are also wisteria pergolas, hidden gazebos, a duck pond, and much more within the garden.
19. Waterlow Park
Although the 11-hectare Waterlow Park might be small compared to other parks in London, it has always been the “people’s park.” This North London park sits south-east of Highgate Village.
Named after Sir Sydney Waterlow, who donated the park to the public in 1889, It is the “garden for the gardenless”. Sir Waterlow wanted a space where all Londoners who did not have a garden could gather and enjoy the beauty of London’s green areas.
Waterlow Park might be small, but it offers breath-taking views of London and has three peaceful ponds, all fed by natural springs.
20. Clapham Common Park
Since 1890, Clapham Common has served as a centre of community life and is still one of the most well-known parks in South London today.
There are numerous amenities in Clapham Common, including a running track, a football field, a cricket pitch, and a skatepark. There’s also a paddling pool and playground for the little ones.
It’s also home to a few cafes and a large bandstand that hosts open-air concerts in the summer.
21. London Fields
London Fields is one of the oldest parks in London and is particularly popular among young Londoners.
It has a range of amenities including, a heated swimming pool, cricket pitch, outdoor gym, table tennis, tennis courts, and two children’s play areas.
22. Brockwell Park
If you’re visiting South London, Brockwell Park should be on your list of places to visit. Covering 50 hectares and brimming with amenities and activities, Brockwell Park is regarded as one of the best parks in South London.
It also boasts stunning views of the city skyline and Central. It welcomes around 4 million people to its grounds every year.
Kids of all ages will love this park as there is an adventure playground. Then there’s also a wet play area for children ten and under with splash pools and sand.
To top it all off, there’s a miniature railway that takes kids and parents on a ride through the park.
For older kids and adults, the park boasts six tennis courts, a basketball court, cricket nets, a BMX trail, football and rugby pitches, and an outdoor gym.
All of these activities can make you work up quite a sweat. So after you’ve had some fun, head over to the Brockwell Lido Cafe and treat yourself to a reasonably priced homemade meal, Italian coffee, cake, or ice cream.
23. Clissold Park
Clissold Park covers over 22 hectares and is one of London’s oldest and best-loved parks since it first opened in 1889.
It has held Green Flag status since 2006-the highest rank awarded to the best green spaces in the UK.
The park is teeming with attractions and amenities, and there is something for everyone of all ages. There’s a large play area, a multi-games area and splash pad with waterslides and fountains for families with children.
There’s also a tennis court, skate, and table tennis area that will keep slightly older kids entertained.
For animal lovers, Clissold Park boasts a huge aviary with a variety of bird species as well as an animal enclosure.
There are also two small lakes where you’ll find wild ducks, geese, swans, and other water birds.
You’ll also find Clissold House within the park. It hosts many weddings, meetings and parties.
Situated within Clissold House, you’ll also find the Park Life Cafe where you can enjoy freshly brewed coffee and a variety of hot dishes, ice cream and tasty cakes.
Here’s everything you need to know about some of the nicest parks in London.
There’s often a huge debate around this question since London has loads of beautiful parks. But to narrow it down, St James’s Park and Green Park are both excellent contenders for the title because of their proximity to Buckingham Palace and the incredible views they both offer.
Three most famous parks in London are Hyde Park, Green Park, and Richmond Park.
The oldest park in London is St James’s Park. It dates back to the 16th century, with upgrades taking place in the early 1800s to form the park it is today.
The largest park in London is Richmond Park. It covers nearly 1000 hectares of land.
Richmond Park is the biggest of the Royal Parks in London.
The Crown owns London’s parks. Royal Parks Limited, and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport manage them.
There are eight Royal Parks in London:
- Hyde Park
- Kensington Gardens
- Richmond Park
- Bushy Park
- St James’s Park
- The Green Park
- The Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill
- Greenwich Park
London certainly does not have a shortage of great parks, with a range of activities and attractions for everyone. Its parks are all unique and offer some of the best views of the city.
Whether you’re looking to spend time alone or with family and friends, you’ll have no trouble finding a park that suits all your needs, no matter where you are in London.