London is an extremely green city. In fact, the city is so ridiculously green that it falls under the United Nation’s definition of a forest. Some parks are full of plants and animals you will think you hundreds of miles away from the urban centre, yet you will still be within the City of Westminster in some instances. When in this capital city, there is no excuse not to explore these green spaces to the later, more so if you are looking for a respite from the crazy London city life. When we visit London with kids our typical itinerary includes strolling on London streets, visiting free Londons Museums (our favourite in Natural History Museum) and Picnicking in London’s Park.
If you planning to visit London with Kids you should add Parks to your itinerary. In this article, we have compiled a list of the best Parks in London you can add to your bucket list. All you need to do now is pack your picnic.
Royal Parks in London
There are eight royal parks in Greater London, five located in central London commonlands
One of the most famous parks not only in London but also around the world. It is one of the most famous Landmarks in London. It owes its fame mainly to Speakers’ Corner – a place where everyone can freely express their views in the name of freedom of speech. The only condition is not to offend the Queen.
Concerts and other cultural events are often held in Hyde Park. The Rolling Stones have performed here twice. Winter Wonderland – a festive festival is organized in the park from November to January.
One of the greatest things about Hyde Park is that you can here not only relax, feed the birdson one of the ponds, but you can hire the rowing boat or pedal boat and see the park from a different perspective.
If you are in central London and looking for a beautiful park to relax in, Kensington Gardens is a great option. It is one of the best greens spaces in the city, having been once the gardens of Kensington Palace, which is located in the middle of the park.
It covers an area of around 270 acres, with its numerous trails taking you past many fascinating varieties of flora and fauna. Kensington Gardens was originally a part of Hyde Park, which was created by Henry VII in 1536 to serve as a hunting ground. It was separated from Hyde Park in 1728 in honor of Queen Caroline’s wish.
The open spaces of this park, along with that of Hyde Park, St. James’s Park, and Green Park, form ‘green lung’ in the middle of London.
Few London parks are as charming as Richmond Park. It is not only among the largest green spaces in London but is also home to the most diverse wildlife within Greater London. It was designed to be among the royal parks and it covers over 2,500 acres, making it the second-largest park in England and three times larger than New York’s Central Park. Richmond Park is also home to a very large flock of deer, with more than 650 wild deer living in the park. The deer were introduced to the park since this was one of the hunting grounds for the Royals. The park is the largest of London’s Royal Parks and although it was preserved spaces for the monarch, today the park is open to the public. It has a golf course, tennis courts, and other facilities for recreation and sports.
Covering an area of around 1100 acres, Bushy Park is the second largest of London’s Royal Parks after Richmond Park. Moreover, it is also one of the most significant parks in London scientifically. While Richmond gets almost all of the attention, Bushy Park is definitely a must-visit park in the capital. With a range of flora and fauna species, this park has been designated as grade I heritages and a site for special scientific interest. This park is also remembered for being the place where the then General Dwight D. Eisenhower planned the D-Day landings during World War II. A memorial was designed to mark the spot where Eisenhower stood. Originally, the Bushy Park was created for royal sports, but now is home to Teddington Hockey Club, Teddington Rugby Club, and four cricket clubs.
Hampton Court Palace
This enclosed royal park is under the Historical Royal parks situated between Kingston upon Thames and the gardens of Hampton Court Palace and Surbiton in southwest London. This park is designated a biological Site of Special Scientific
Interest. It comprises most of the lowest meander of the non-tidal reaches of the River Thames. The Hampton Court Flower Show is held in the park annually, organized by the Royal Horticultural Society since 1990. Hampton Court Park is historically a walled deer park covering around 700 acres with a flock of fallow deer. A tree called the Mediaeval Oak or the Methuselah’s oak is also located within the park and is one of the tees for the golf course, believed to be 750 years old.
St James’s Park
The park is located adjacent to the famous residence of British monarchs – Buckingham Palace. These are beautifully kept gardens with lakes and fountains. Walking on the Blue Bridge, we can see two symbols of London in the distance: Big Ben and the London Eye.
St James’s Park is inhabited by exotic visitors – pelicans. The birds were given to King Charles II by the Russian ambassador in 1664.
The pelicans are usually fed fresh fish between 2.30pm and 3pm near Duck Island cottage. The lake also brims with geese, swans, ducks, and other waterfowl.
Other than birds, we can also admire the brightly colored flower beds including red tulips, scarlet geraniums, and yellow wallflowers.
The Green Park
Green Park is the smallest of the Royal Parks of London. It is located in the southern edge of the City of Westminster in Central London.
The Park does not feature any (natural or manmade), buildings, or playgrounds. Instead, the park is home to three post-war era public landmarks. To the south of the park you will find Constitution Hill, and towards the east is the Queen’s Walk. The ceremonial avenue of the Mall bounds the park to the south.
The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill
With more than 408 acres that are brimming with attractions and flowers, this park is among the most popular public green spaces in London. Among the highlights in the park is the ZSL Zoo for kids while the Japanese Garden Island should not be missed. There is a boating lake as well as walking trails and an open-air auditorium, just like most typical London parks. . Most of its space is covered by over 30,000 roses from 400 species. Additionally, Regent’s Park has a plethora of sports facilities and amenities, with around 100 acres available for this purpose, making it the largest outdoor sports area in London.
One of the largest parks in London was designed in 1811 by the famous English architect John Nash. Regent’s Park is known not only for its beautiful rose gardens but also for its rich sports offer. Here you will find spaces for playing football, softball and cricket.
From the hilltop location in Greenwich Park, we can admire the panorama of London’s business center. This is one of the oldest royal parks in the city. Compared to the rest of Greenwich, it is distinguished by a diverse flora and fauna. We will meet here, among others noble deer. The biggest attraction of the park is the Royal Observatory. This is where the prime meridian runs. The monument that symbolizes it is a must-see for all geography lovers.
Victoria Tower Gardens
Located along the north bank of the River Thames, Victoria Tower Gardens extends from the Palace southwards to Lambeth Bridge between the river and Millbank. The park is slightly within the UNESCO world heritage site of Westminster. In 2015, the then UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced that there would be a UK Holocaust Memorial and the place to be constructed was the Victoria Tower Gardens. However, the memorial plans have attracted strong opposition from local residents through the campaign ‘Save Victoria Tower Gardens’ and even international organizations such as UNESCO advisor ICOMOS are against the proposal. Nevertheless, you can reach the park via Pimlico and Westminster London Underground stations.
Other parks in London
Walking through the wooded area of Hampstead Heath, it’s easy to forget that you are still in one of the largest cities in Europe . The park is located far from the hustle and bustle of central London. The focal point of Hampstead Heath is Kenwood House, an art gallery that houses works by Rembrandt and Vermeer, among others. In summer, the park has three ponds where you can swim. Even the dogs have their swimming pool here.
London Fields Park is located in the eastern part of the city. This huge green belt is perfect for sunbathing on summer days. The attractive neighborhood is also tempting. In the vicinity of London Fields you will find many atmospheric places where we can drink, for example, tea. In the immediate vicinity of the park there is Broadway Market – one of the most famous streets in London.
Victoria Park is the oldest public park in London. It was opened over 170 years ago. About 9 million visitors visit it every year. Tower Hamlets Park is a popular place for people to relax and play in London. Victoria Park is a key link in the green corridor that stretches from the Thames River at Limehouse, along the Regents Canal, through Mile End Park.
This 200-acre green space Park was opened in 1858 and occupies a marshland that was reclaimed from the Themes. Battersea Park used to have a funfair, but it was leveled to form traveling fairs and exhibitions and the Battersea Evolution, which hosts exhibitions as well as conferences and Christmas parties. If you have kids in your company, the park also features a small children’s zoo, a bandstand, a boating lake, and all-weather outdoor sporting facilities such as a running track, tennis court, and football pitches. Moreover, if you are a hockey buff, four West London hockey teams use the Astroturf pitches for the matches.
Alexandra palace and park
Opened in 1873, Alexandra Palace is an entertainment and sports venue located between Muswell Hill and Wood Green in the London Borough of Haringey. The palace is built on the spot where Tottenham Wood used to stand.
Their garden, Alexandria Park is split between flat and hilly ground. The hilly ground is fringed by trees and offers wide views from the slopes including the views from Alexandra Palace. They will offer you an escape from busy London city life. But you are likely not to be alone as the 196 acres park usually draws millions of visitors every year. You will find more than 690 species of plants as well as different types of fungi and animals, including over 200 different varieties of insects and 26 types of arachnids.
For lovers of flowers, Holland Park is the place to be. You will find many different gardens within this park and is known for being the first spot in the United Kingdom to grow dahlias, which are still scattered all over the park even today. You will also find a Japanese Kyoto Garden, where you go for a little bit of peace of mind. If you visit London during summer, you can catch open-air theater shows and concerts at Holland Park. If you have time, pop into one of the city’s cooler museums in the New Design Museum at the corner of the park.