UPDATED JUL 14, 2020
Vast parks and green spaces may not come to mind when you think of Britain’s largest metropolis, but travel just outside the city and you’ll be transported from bustling cityscape to stunning foliage. Of course, you just have to know where to look. But don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.
Tucked away from the commotion of Central London lies its largest Royal Park (2,500 acres)— and undoubtedly one of the most stunning. If escapism is what you’re after, don’t miss the Isabella Plantation during the warmer months — its colourful explosions of flowers and wildlife are not to be missed.
This green space in Central London may as well be spelt ‘hide park’ because once you make your way to this 350-acre blissful sanctuary, you’ll have officially escaped the city madness. Stop by the Serpentine Lake if you’re feeling adventurous and rent a boat for next to nothing. Or, hit up the famed British Summer Time music festival during the hotter months and make a day of it.
Take us down to London city, where the grass is green and the peacocks are pretty. There’s something Alice in Wonderland-esque about the 54-acre Holland Park that demands everyone’s attention. From the beautiful Kyoto garden to the hidden labyrinth nestled within the greenery — this is the perfect place for a calming stroll. Looking for something more active? The park offers tennis, football, and netball facilitates.
If the thought of growing up sends a shiver down your spine, fear not — you can spend some time clinging onto your lost childhood with a walk to jog to the bronze Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens. Known as London’s ‘green lung’, this beautiful 275-acre park is certainly a breath of fresh air for the average city-dweller.
The darling gardens and gothic buildings at Fulham Palace are so striking that any budding explorer would be forgiven for thinking they were in the throes of a Game of Thrones episode or Jane Austen novel. Stroll among ancient tree varieties (like the evergreen oak), take in the views of the river, and be on the lookout for the Market Barrow. The charming stall sells organic fruits and vegetables grown right on the grounds in the Walled Garden.
Outdoor enthusiasts, this Stoke Newington space is for you. With regular nature walks and evening guided tours (expect to spot some bats and owls), this serene spot has no shortage of activities for young people and families alike.
Hampstead Heath is in and of itself a beautifully impressive park, but one of its best kept secrets is its lush gardens. Once built for Edwardian hedonism and glamour, it’s now all yours to explore when you’re feeling daring enough to face the spectacular walkway. Garden not your thing? Explore the zoo, athletic tracks, or one of the three swimming ponds in this 790-acre green space.
Conscious of where you get your food from? Look no further than King Henry’s Walk Garden in Islington, where flower beds and organic fruits and veggies reside. Free to the public on weekends from May to September, you can participate in a wide range of activities including medicinal herb talks and wine tasting. (You had us at wine.)
This tower of hedgerows is the closest alternative to a British Jurassic Park that you will find, (don’t miss the dinosaur statues at the palace surrounding the maze). The array of vexing vegetation is tucked away by the northern lake and will give you a great excuse to get ‘accidentally lost’ so you can enjoy some quality alone time.
This delightful garden is Hammersmith’s own little secret glade to be proud of —and for good reason. A number of volunteers have helped restore and conserve its beauty over the years (and continue to do so). But the work is never done, so if you want to help out, there’s no shortage of activities to get your green fingers stuck in with. The 20-acre space also has tennis courts, netball, basketball, and a football pitch if you want to get sporty.
Originally designed to be ‘fit for meditation’, there’s no doubt that you’ll find serenity and escapism at this beautiful spot. Located in Regent’s Park, but overlooked by many, this serene villa and gardens will transport you to a simpler time (ideally, one without smartphone overload).
As the name suggests, these gardens are so peaceful and idyllic, they should probably belong to a world far away from here. The community space welcomes all walks of life into its 4-acres space. Stroll the Moroccan garden and ponds, or come by for a gardening class.
Another landscape just shy of Central London (specifically, near the M25 in the southwest) this park has plenty of sights to keep you occupied for an afternoon. We’re talking crystal grottos, a beautiful lake, and even hidden ruins. Bring your dog (lead required) for an afternoon picnic.
This gorgeous space situated just off the cusp of Bloomsbury epitomises London history and architecture. The Victorian buildings, gothic twists, and bursts of wildlife all make this spot a great place to take some time out after a long day in Central.
This list certainly wouldn’t be complete without an ode to one of our famous poets, John Keats, who allegedly wrote his Ode to a Nightingale in this very location. The museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays in the summer, but the gardens surrounding it are equally as stunning. If you’re feeling romantic, bring a blanket and a book and post up for a poetic picnic.
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