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The best parks and public spaces to visit in London

Check out our top picks of London parks and public spaces you can visit. There’s nothing quite like a stroll in the great outdoors.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

London may seem like a city with buildings on top of one another, and there are definitely skyscraper streets in the city. But away from the hustle and bustle of the busy London paths are serene parks, great for finding a moment of calm in a frantic day. While it may not seem like it, did you know that London has so many trees that London can be classified as a forest? So get ready to explore the forest that is London.

Check out our top picks of London parks and public spaces you can visit. There’s nothing quite like a stroll in the great outdoors.

Regents Park (Photo Credit: Łukasz Lech)

Regent’s Park

Covering 395 acres, Regent’s Park is a royal park that is filled with stunning scenery and elegant gardens. Throughout the park, there’s 12,000 roses in Queen Mary’s Gardens, four children’s playgrounds, the Broad Walk Café and ZSL London Zoo. Regent’s Park is also home to Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, which is the oldest permanent outdoor theatre in Britain. Audiences may have to pack an umbrella for shows at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, as there’s no roof - But previous shows performed in the great outdoors at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre include Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar, and open-air shows continue to wow theatregoers.

St James Park (Photo Credit: Jay Galvin)

St James’ Park

St James’ Park is one of London’s eight royal parks and is located in the heart of the city. The park jewel is surrounded by numerous stunning landmarks recognised world over: The Mall, Horse Guards Parade, Marble Arch, Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Whitehall. While at St James’ Park, why not snap a photo on the Blue Bridge and get the London Eye, Europe’s tallest observation wheel in the background.

St James’ Park is 57 acres and is home to generations of pelicans, first given to King Charles II by the Russian Ambassador in 1664. Or why not see Duck Island Cottage, a quaint house that’s now the headquarters of the London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust.

Hampstead Heath (Photo Credit: Michael Clarke)

Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath is a 790 acre park, and there’s enough to do there to fill a whole day with activities. The stand-out part is walking up Parliament Hill, a free section of park that once you’ve made your way to the top, you’ll be treated with terrific views over London and beyond.

A zoo and a butterfly house can also be found on Hampstead Heath, located in the Golders Hill Park section, as well as three swimming ponds, splash pools and an open air Lido. Or why not check out the Hampstead Pergola, a shining location that glistens in all weathers.

Greenwich Park (Photo Credit: Mark Ramsay)

Greenwich Park

East meets West at Greenwich Park, as it’s the home of longitude and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). This historically rich location, which has the Prime Meridian line running through it and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also features the historical sailing ship Cutty Sark. There’s lot of royal regality at Greenwich Park too; the Royal Observatory is regarded as the home of time and space while royal deer descended from Henry VIII’s hunting stock roam around the grounds. Visiting Greenwich Park doesn’t need to take a whole day though. Members of the public can pack their picnic blanket, eat their lunch and take in the panoramic views of south London.

Hyde Park (Photo Credit: Paul Hudson)

Hyde Park

Spanning 350 acres, Hyde Park is perhaps one of London’s most famous parks. The Serpentine Lake is in Hyde Park, and visitors can boat or brave an open-air swim. In the centre of the lake sits Christo’s London Mastaba, a huge temporary floating sculpture made of 7,506 painted barrels secured to scaffolding and anchored in the water.

There’s even a memorial to Princess Diana at Hyde Park, with a Princess of Wales memorial fountain. Or if you’ve got views that you want to get off your chest, Speakers’ Corner sits at the northeast corner of Hyde Park, and has welcomed speakers regularly taking to the soapbox fo over a century.

Crystal Palace Park (Photo Credit: Ewan Munro)

Crystal Palace Park

The south-east London park was once hailed as a symbol of British scientific influence when it opened in 1854. Its ‘Dinosaur Court’ encouraged ‘Dinomania’ in the public eye, and were vital to evolving how paleontological studies are conducted. Crystal Palace Park is also home to one of the largest mazes in the country, spanning 160 feet.

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