8 must see parks in London

Published by: BouncePosted Updated

When you hear people say Big Ben, Tower Bridge or Buckingham Palace, you know they're talking about London. The capital city of England is known to have a rich history with world class museums and art galleries as well as the iconic red phone booths and double-decker buses. If you end up traveling to the city or are one of its locals then you know that London also has many fantastic green spaces which are the perfect places to take a stroll, have a picnic or meet up with friends.

As you discover all of London's parks you may want to participate in hobbies, like hiking or sports. You'll need to find a place to keep your backpacks and bags while you do activities or somewhere to stow your picnic basket and equipment after playing sports. The best place for backpack storage in London is with bounce, and you can have complete confidence knowing that all of your things are safe under our BounceShield™guarantee. The parks in London are there for both locals and tourists to enjoy, so what are you waiting for? Check out some of these top parks in London, England.

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Hampstead Heath

At over 320 hectares in size, Hampstead Heath is an expansive green space with lots for you to enjoy. It's the perfect place to get away from the busyness of central London and is also one of the most beautiful parks in the city. On the grounds, you'll find a running track, playgrounds for the kids, shaded woodlands and a pond. During your time here you're bound to come across dog walkers, joggers and people having a picnic, and you'll probably spot some wildlife too, including parakeets and muntjac deer.

If it gets too hot you can go for a swim in their men's and ladies' glittering ponds to cool off but be aware that the water doesn't get very warm, even in the summertime. The best place to hang out is on Parliament Hill which offers absolutely breathtaking views of the city and surrounding neighbourhood below. The hill is also a wonderful spot to do fun activities like kite-flying, tobogganing in the wintertime, or just sitting and watching the sunset.

Green Park

Green Park holds a special place in many locals' hearts, mainly because it's been around for so long. The park began life as hunting grounds up until it was transformed into a public space back in 1826. Some locals even say the park was once a dangerous place because of thieves and highwaymen, but it's completely safe now.

Today, it's one of the eight green spaces that are part of London's Royal Parks and is uniquely shaped like a triangle. It's one of the best parks for relaxing thanks to its super comfy striped deck chairs and is also home to tall trees that provide shaded areas for you to rest in. Take advantage of peaceful grasslands where you can set down a blanket and read or have a picnic. The park is located inside Westminster and spans about 40 acres in total.

Hyde Park

Of course, we couldn't compile this list without mentioning the famous Hyde Park. As one of the most popular public spaces in the city and one of its biggest parks, you'll definitely want to reserve an entire afternoon to experience it all. This huge park can't be missed at about 1.5 miles in length, which also makes it one of the largest of London's Royal Parks found within the city centre.

The inviting walking paths can be explored on foot or by bike, and you can also go swimming or boating in the lake. The Serpentine Lido as it's called is actually the oldest boating lake in London and is home to a community of wildlife including ducks, swans, coots, and tufty-headed grebes. Other attractions include stunning rose gardens and a Speaker's Corner where locals can discuss any topics of their choice. Occasionally open-air theatre or open-air concerts are held within the grounds, like the Rolling Stones who once played here for about half a million onlookers.

During the colder months, you can enjoy the Welcome Winter activities put on by the Royal Parks charity, including an exciting Winter Wonderland fair. Before you leave the park grounds see if you can find the Victorian pet cemetery that is hidden away in the north-west corner, and make sure to visit the Princess Diana memorial fountain. Did you know that the park actually dates back to 1536? Henry VIII had it established, and it was only opened for public use nearly a century later.

Kensington Gardens

Right after visiting Hyde Park, you can enter the Kensington Gardens which is another Royal Park that isn't only a beautiful place to go for a walk, but also a great spot for sightseeing. Inside the park grounds is the Albert Memorial and Kensington Palace where William III moved during the late seventeenth century, which is actually why the gardens were created in the first place. The area that now encompasses Kensington Gardens was sectioned off from Hyde Park to be the palace grounds, although today they are completely separate green spaces.

Go stroll amongst 270 acres of beautiful gardens and flower beds before stopping at one of the grassy areas for a picnic. Spend some time in the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, check out the two Serpentine Galleries or go see how many species of flora and fauna you can spot around the walking trails.

Another landmark of the park is the Peter Pan Statue, which actually has a pretty cool story behind it. One day JM Barrie, the famous playwright, was walking through the gardens when he met a young boy named Jack Llewelyn Davies who became his inspiration for the Peter Pan character. Eight years later in 1912, the statue was placed in the park.

Crystal Palace Park

Crystal Palace Park is full of hidden gems, cool displays and secret places for you to discover. It's a great place to bring the kids who will have an amazing time looking at the first ever dinosaur statues that date back to the Victorian times, or more specifically about 1854. There are five dinosaurs that you can spot around the lake in total and they were once part of an old theme park. Unfortunately, the Crystal Palace after which the park was named burned down back in 1936 and only the palace grounds remain today.

There's still plenty to see and do here including a hedge maze, an urban farm and even a skate park. There are also plenty of winding paths to discover, and you can spend quite a while just exploring the area. During the summer months, you'll often see festivals and events happening within the park as well. Fun fact; there's also an old, abandoned subway from the Victorian era that has incredible vaulted walkways, white and orange bricks and decorative pillars found under the park. Due to the restorative work that is being done, you can't just walk down there, and it's only open to the public about three times each year. This London park is located in south-east London.

Greenwich Park

Welcome to Greenwich Park, the official oldest park in southeast London and of all the Royal Parks. It dates back to the 15th century and has since been a much appreciated spot for locals to relax, come together and enjoy the great outdoors. In the 1850s the grounds of Greenwich Park were actually supposed to be turned into part of a railway line but the people of London opposed it so much that they never went through with it. Since then the green space has been protected, ensuring that everyone who visits London can enjoy it.

The landscape isn't only loved by the London locals but also the wildlife, and many animals including foxes, deer, and an estimated 70 species of birds call the 183 acre land home. Inside the park, you'll find nice walking trails, plus nearby attractions that are worth visiting like the Queen's House. It's a family friendly park with a kid safe boating lake and six tennis courts.

It's one of the coolest London parks since it's where you can find the Greenwich Meridian Line and The Royal Observatory. Take a trip to the lookout to admire views spanning from the park all the way to the River Thames and across the Canary Wharf. If you look closely you can even spot the Maritime Museum and Old Royal Naval College. One of the fun little secrets of this park is Queen Elizabeth's Oak, which is where Elizabeth I used to have picnics. On site, there's also a playground for kids which has a cute maritime theme and gorgeous landscaped grounds with flowers and orchards.

Victoria Park

Victoria Park, or Vicky Park as the locals affectionately call it, is one of the best known parks in London, so chances are you've already heard of it. Historically the 88 hectare site was used a lot by the working class and it's a true people's park, even today. Victoria Park has been around since around 1845 and you'll find it located in east London. It's a local favorite for the younger population mostly thanks to the playground and toys found on site like slides, swings, climbing walls and splash pools in the summer. There's plenty for the older crowd to enjoy as well like music festivals, a market that happens every Sunday and two cafes.

Overall it's really a place that everyone can enjoy and the lakes, pool, beautiful gardens, cricket pitch and pagoda make it the perfect spot to meet up with friends and enjoy the sunshine. Plenty of local animals have made their home in the park as well, with an enclosure that has deer, geese, squirrels and moorhens. Every November the park plays host to an incredible fireworks display as well as other notable festivals like APE and Field Day.

Richmond Park

While you're exploring the different parks in London make sure that you check out the charming Richmond Park. It's located in west London and is another designated Royal Park. This place is huge, covering 2,500 acres making it the second biggest park in all of England. The impressive green space is best known for its significant deer population and in total about 650 red and fallow deer inhabit the park. Although they were originally introduced to the area for hunting during the time of Henry VIII sometime around 1637 that is no longer the case, and they now wander through the grounds peacefully.

Richmond Park is also a great spot to go for views of the city, and if you make your way to the highest point you'll be able to see as far as St Paul's Cathedral. One of the highlights of the park is the Isabella Plantation which encompasses 40 acres of ancient trees, dense woodland and a garden that is filled with colorful camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons. Try to visit during spring or summertime when they're in full bloom.

Find your favorite park in London

London means sights like the Tate Modern and London Bridge. But everyone should get out and enjoy nature sometimes, and there are plenty of places where you can escape city life for a while in London, England. There are a bunch of other London parks that we didn't get to mention like Bushy Park, Holland Park, Battersea Park, Horniman Gardens and St James's Park, just to name a few.

Anyone can enjoy exploring the beautiful grounds of these green spaces but if you like to be active and are looking for more of a challenge, you might be interested in checking out the Best Hikes in London where we introduce you to open spaces and London fields that are great for trekking. Want to spend time by the water? Our guide on the Best Beaches Near London has some fantastic spots for you to read about and consider.

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