The best parks in London
By Isabel Forga |
Enjoy having direct contact with nature in London’s historic parks, located in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.
LONDON PARKS TO VISIT
THE CITY OF LONDON
The English capital is one of those magical places where almost everything seems possible. Walking the streets of London, it’s not strange to find an elegant and sleekly dressed executive sitting quietly on his briefcase, devouring a juicy hamburger. No one will even glance at him. City of contrasts, London, the most cosmopolitan and, at the same time, the most conservative, sees people from all corners of the world and all ethnic groups and cultures walking its avenues. It’s estimated that more than 300 languages are spoken daily in this great city, the most visited in Europe and one of the most visited in the world, with an annual average of 16 million international tourists.
It’s precisely because of this intense activity that the numerous and huge London parks are even more fascinating. For this reason, DINKtravelers recommends, in addition to visiting spectacular monuments in your next trip to this old capital, taking some time to explore its beautiful green areas.
THE ROYAL PARKS OF LONDON
The list of London parks is long, so it’s convenient that you organize your route and choose some of the most interesting. The most popular and busiest is Hyde Park, located in the heart of the city, with access from some of the most iconic places like Marble Arch, Notting Hill or Bayswater. The Serpentine Lake, dating back to the 18th century and which receives its name from its peculiar elongated form, divides its considerable area of 140 hectares in two parts. At this lake you will be able to observe some wild fauna, like swans and ducks, and relax before the beautiful views. Another attraction in Hyde Park is, definitely, Speakers’ Corner. Do you have any ideas to defend, some thesis to expose or do you simply enjoy listening to a variety of speeches? Then you are in the right place, because in Speakers’ Corner, located northwest of the park, public speaking is allowed. All topics are valid, provided that no offensive language is used or any law is violated.
Next to Hyde Park there are the Kensington Gardens, the old gardens of Kensington Palace covering 110 hectares. Both are part of the so-called Royal Parks, for having been created initially as hunting grounds for the royal family and belonging to the British Crown. Together they make up 250 hectares. Without doubt, you can take a walk around them and forget about the mundane noise of the city. Two other beautiful parks that you can’t miss are St James’s Park and Green Park. They cover smaller areas, but possess undeniable beauty. St James’s is the oldest of the Royal Parks and it’s located next to Buckingham Palace, so the visit is almost mandatory. On the other hand, even if Green Park lacks representative lakes or monuments, it joins the previously cited parks to form the group that goes from Whitehall to Notting Hill.Within the eight Royal Parks we can’t forget Regent’s Park, located in the area of Westminster.It houses the London Zoo, the oldest scientific zoo in the world, as well as some botanical gardens, like Queen Mary’s Gardens.
Southeast of the city, there’s Greenwich Park, World Heritage since 1997, another of the Royal Parks, which also harbors the famous Royal Observatory of Greenwich.
LONDON NATURAL RESERVES
On a wilder note, you will find Richmond Park and Hampstead Heath. Actually, Richmond also belongs to the Royal Parks and it’s the largest urban park in Europe. It’s located in the outskirts of London, near Richmond and Wimbledon, and it spans 955 hectares. Actually, it’s a natural reserve housing a great variety of flora and fauna, among which you’ll find squirrels, woodpeckers, rabbits and even deer. You read well, deer roam freely around Richmond Park, so it’s quite an experience of being in contact with nature in the outskirts of a big city.
Hampstead Heath, with an extension of 320 hectares, is a mountainous and semi-wild terrain, in whose interior you’ll find ponds and impressive groves. It’s one of the oldest parks in London and it’s found between Hampstead and Highgate. Still, if you want to visit another beautiful park with a semi-wild area, go to Holland Park.
OTHER INTERESTING PARKS
DINKtravelers advises you to also consider some time to visit the Kew Gardens, which are botanical gardens with valuable collections of plants and true scientific research centers.
As we said, the list is long, so if you still booked some time in your trip to visit more of the green sites in London, don´t forget to go to Battersea Park, Bishop’s Park or Clapham Common, all of them beautiful parks of indisputable historical value.