London has been bequeathed some of the most shockingly beautiful stretches of green space in the country, and you can’t help but feel a little envious of those living near by who get to enjoy them every day. It’s only appropriate that these parks are referred to as royal parks, such is their majesty.
If you’ve only got a limited time in the capital though, it’s best to pick the perfect park for your requirements as a party. Take a look at our analysis below, which should help you choose the perfect place no matter your needs.
If you like to get your day started with a brisk and vigorous jog,Park Grand London Kensington Gardens is your best bet. Criss-crossed with an intricate pattern of flat running tracks, this spectacular green space is flat enough for runners, but also full of enough variety to keep things interesting. Run through the Flower Walk and observe interesting forms of flora and fauna. Take a detour past the incredible Royal Albert Hall. Do a loop around the Serpentine and then go and see Kensington Palace. Or if you’re up to the challenge, tackle the four-and-a-half-mile outer circuit, an oblong loop that will take you past the Princess Diana Memorial and other sights.
While Hyde Park and Kensington Palace are excellent for runners of all levels, those looking for an additional challenge are advised to try Greenwich Park. The steep inclines mean you have to pay extra close attention to your pacing and the views of London’s financial sector are more than worth the effort.
For animal lovers…
Spying on the wild animals of London doesn’t necessarily mean going to Soho on a Friday night. The beautiful open space of Richmond Park is home to free-roaming deer that numbered more than 650 at the last count. They are very used to sharing their 2,500 acres of land with London’s more human population, although visitors are advised not to spook them and that feeding the creatures is prohibited. This doesn’t stop you posing for photographs though. Those who love horses will be thrilled to learn there is a stable onsite at Richmond as well, so why not take one of the beasts out for a trot around the paths?
Honorary mention in the animal lovers category goes to St James’s Park, for its famous pelicans that can often be spotted strutting self-importantly around the lake. They are fed every day at 2:30pm in a ceremony that is well worth coming out for. St James’s Park is also home to owls, woodpeckers and bats.
For sports fiends…
It will be no surprise among sports fans that Regent’s Park takes the gold. The space boasts the largest outdoor sporting area in the entirety of the capital, catering for football, softball, rugby, and it also has a cricket pitch. Those interested in participating should report directly to the Hub, which not only organises games of the above sports for those hoping to play in a casual manner, but it also arranges regular outdoor exercise classes for those interested in getting into shape. These suit all age ranges and ability levels and often cover very interesting sporting pursuits, such as pilates and yoga.
Hyde Park takes silver in this category thanks to its accommodating cycle paths and facilities.
For monument spotters…
Once again, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens take gold between them. Taking a sufficient path will bring you into contact with plenty of incredible structures, most notably the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, a wide swathe of rushing water cut into impeccably kept grass. You’ll also want to get a photo of the Albert Memorial near the Royal Albert Hall, which forms a very impressive shape against the London skyline. Get as far as Hyde Park Corner and you’ll no doubt spot the poignant and dramatic RAF Bomber Command Memorial that commemorates the 55,573 who died while serving in the Bomber Command during the Second World War. A thought-provoking structure indeed.
Finally, don’t forget to seek out the Kensington Gardens sculpture of Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up. Installed secretly by the character’s creator, initial outcry at its unorthodox appearance was quickly silenced when it became obvious how popular it was with the children. It remains a favourite among younger visitors.