Parks & Gardens
London parks and gardens are located throughout the city serving as a breather from the daily grind of modern living. But a visit to any of London’s parks and gardens is not only about having a break. In fact, each destination offers a variety of activities to explore and experience. Hence, all the more reason to include any or even all of the following parks and gardens in London to your itinerary. Best of all, you can stopover on any day of the year.
Hyde Park is located in the heart of London. Yet its beauty and size could make you forget where you are. Moreover, the numerous activities it offers can already fill your itinerary for a day or two. Indeed, there is something for everyone to do – you can go for a swim, ride a bicycle, as well as go boating and horse riding. Ice-skating is even possible from November to January when its large lake freezes over.
The Serpentine Bridge, the Archiles statue, and the Joy of Life fountain are some of the notable buildings and monuments throughout this 350-acre park. You do not have to leave Hyde Park for a good meal. Its two lakeside restaurants can provide you with everything from a cup of coffee to a full-course meal. No wonder, Hyde Park is one of the best city parks in the world.
St James's Park
St. James’s Park might be familiar to many who have watched countless ceremonial parades and various national celebrations in London. Indeed, its flowerbeds located in front of Buckingham Palace are often in the background. Chances are you have seen it during the Queen’s birthday for the Trooping the Colour parade. Hence, making the occasion even more colorful.
The pelicans who call St. James’s Park home is another reason to visit this royal park. Did you know they have been there for close to 400 years? Daily feeding is at 14:30. Owls, bats, woodpeckers, and water birds are some of the other animals to watch out for. From April to September, children can play at the playground while parents relax on the deckchairs. Refreshment kiosks and a restaurant are open to the public.
Bushy Park can make you feel as if you were in the English countryside instead of the highly urbanized city of London. The entire scenery comes complete with ancient trees, streams and ponds, as well as a diverse selection of plant and animal life. Where else in the English capital could you walk among deer roaming free here apart from its nearby neighbour Richmond park. Its extensive area makes it even more spectacular and awe-inspiring to be in the middle of it all.
One of the more interesting areas in Bushy Park would no doubt be the Woodland Gardens. Indeed, many consider it a secret paradise. A stroll through this area is one of the favorite pastimes of visitors to Bushy Park. The trail is bound to make anyone a nature lover soon enough. So, consider this a warning, once you enter Bushy Park you might be tempted to get lost in its beauty for hours.
Like other parks and gardens in London, Bushy Park also offers a variety of activities to allow visitors to make the most of its green spaces. Children can enjoy the playground while adults can get in a bit of exercise from cycling or horseback riding. Take your pick.
The Pheasantry Café situated in the Woodland Gardens comes highly recommended for its wide array of snacks, drinks, and of course, ice creams.
Hampstead Heath is well-loved for its green spaces. The park has a rich environment where wildlife thrive. For the this reason, the City of London supports and recognizes the significance of Hampstead Heath to the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. The animals found here include exotic birds, ring-tailed lemurs and coatis to name a few.
Yet it is not the only reason why the park is popular. Imagine taking a dip in its open air Lido on any day of the year. Varied activities also take place at Hampstead Heath with its numerous amenities for sports and recreation. Thus, making Hampstead Heath your perfect getaway from the city.
Kensington Gardens serves as the scenery for one of the popular royal residences – Kensington Palace. Hence, the formal landscaping as well as the collection of ornamental flowers and grand trees found here.
Perhaps the most famous royal residents of Kensington Palace were Princess Diana and Prince Charles along with their two boys, Princes William and Harry. So, imagine yourself walking along the same garden the Princess used to visit herself. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground by Black Lion Gate was built in her honour.
The Sunken Garden is one of the highlights at Kensington. Interest in this particular place grew ever since it became the venue for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement announcement. This area also prides itself in its rotational display of summer and spring flora. Perhaps the best months to visit are from April to October when their colors are vibrant. Exotic plant life are also on display at this time.
Additional places of interest at Kensington Gardens are the Italian Gardens, the Serpentine Gallery, the Cradle Walk, and the Peter Pan statue.
Chelsea Physic Garden
Chelsea Physic Garden holds the distinction of being a botanical garden. Since its inception in 1673, it remains dedicated to the study of plants for medicinal purposes. To date, it watches over more than 5,000 species and studies their properties and origins. The visit becomes most interesting since the garden’s microclimate allows plants uncommon to London to thrive.
Over the years, it has earned another accolade of being one of London’s secret gardens. Hence, consider it a hidden gem in the city where visitors are more than welcome to drop by. The area is secluded. So, the garden serves as a quiet place where one can drown out the hectic pace of the city.
Be sure to check out the other highlights of Chelsea Physic Garden like the World Woodland Garden, the Tropical Corridor, the Garden of Edible and Useful Plants as well as Victorian Cool Fernery.
Richmond Park is one of the prime locations to experience the London sunset. But this royal park has a lot more to offer than being only a setting for the spectacle of dusk.
This would come as no surprise considering it is the largest in its category. Within its 2,500 acres is a haven for 650 deer. Its grasslands are also home to a wide range of plant and animal wildlife. Hence, it would be a welcomed breather for anyone eager to take a break from the hectic pace of city life.
The Isabella Plantation at Richmond Park is a natural woodland garden. Any horticultural enthusiast should not pass up the chance to visit this area. If you happen to be in London between the months of April and May, then you will be lucky to see the evergreen azaleas blossom at their best.
Nature at Richmond Park can also be the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities. Visitors can try their hand at off-road cycling, power kiting, golf and even power kiting. Guests of Richmond Park can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee at Pembroke Lodge. The Georgian mansion also serves a spectacular view from its tea rooms of the St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Richmond Park holds the distinction of being a National Nature Reserve.
Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew features distinctive landscapes and classic architecture representative of the garden’s extensive history of more than two centuries. Hence, its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.
Visitors to the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew are in for a treat when walking around this historic landscape. Be amazed at the works of prominent landscape architects like Bridgeman, Chambers, and Kent to name a few.
Among the main attractions of the Kew Gardens are its majestic glasshouses – the Temperate House and the Palm House with its tropical rainforest. Visitors should also make their way to the Princess of Wales Conservatory where it is possible to explore different climatic zones from around the world in a single area. The Treetop Walkway would delight any visitor regardless of age. Imagine walking high above the gardens at 59 feet.
Beyond its aesthetic splendor, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew is also an institution dedicated to the study and conservation of plants. Thus, generations to come will be able to appreciate and enjoy its diverse botanic collections for years to come.
Hampton Court Palace Gardens
Hampton Court Palace Gardens are world famous owing to its strong association with various royal figures. King Henry VIII established its distinct landscape. Afterwards, royals King William III and Queen Mary II were responsible for the garden’s composition.
Spring is one of the best times to visit the Hampton Court Palace Gardens when its flowering bulbs are in full bloom. Then again, summer is also special as the Exoticks of Queen Mary II emerge at the Lower Orangery Garden. The season also welcomes an array of herbs at the East Front Gardens.
The Great Vine at the Hampton Court Palace Gardens dates back to 1768. Yet it remains productive. Harvesting its dessert grapes also takes place at the close of summer. The autumn colors give the grounds a different depth that is also worth checking out. The same goes for winter when snow looks like icing atop topiary in the Privy Garden. Indeed, any season is a great time to visit the Hampton Court Palace Gardens.
Greenwich Park is one of the eight royal parks in London. In fact, it is the oldest among them. As it turns out, Henry VIII used these grounds for hunting. Nowadays, the park offers a variety of activities designed to give visitors more than just breathing space in the urban jungle.
The setting of Greenwich Park makes it the perfect spot to view the London skyline. Be warned, it is a bit of a climb. Even so, the view is worth it. The grounds serve as an urban sanctuary for foxes, several species of birds, and deer. Additional facilities like a boating lake and tennis courts are also available for families to enjoy together. Children from ages 3 to 13 can have fun at its Adventure Playground.
The park is also the home of the Royal Observatory where visitors will find the Greenwich Meridian Line. Greenwich Park also holds the distinction of being a UNESCO Greenwich Maritime World Site due to the presence of The National Maritime Museum within its perimeter. Summer time is busy in Greenwich Park with concerts held at the Bandstand.
Kyoto Gardens in London’s Holland Park opened in 1991 to celebrate the friendship of Japan and the United Kingdom. The meeting of east and west offers a peaceful setting in the middle of a busy city. Hence, it is a great place to escape the noise and demanding pace of life.
The key features of the Kyoto Garden are its tiered waterfalls, abundant koi carp, and stone lanterns. Peacocks are also part of the scenery. Thus, it is an added treat if you happen to spot one or two of them during your visit.
Regent’s Park has come a long way since its first designation as hunting grounds by King Henry VIII. To date, it is a vital attraction in the city with numerous activities to offer visitors. Among these are the London Zoo that serves as the park’s key feature.
A trip to London from June to mid-September would coincide with shows at the open-air theater. The variety of productions range from classic Shakespeare to Broadway musicals by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Musical entertainment is also offered at the bandstand. Families can rent rowboats or paddle boats to enjoy the park’s beautiful lake. On the other hand, they can engage in sports at the Hub.
Date Modified: 28/9/2019