As one of the world’s greenest capital cities, London is decked out with dozens of delightful outdoor precincts. If the weather is in your favour, escape the hustle and bustle and head to one of London’s best parks and gardens. Pack a picnic, enjoy a scenic stroll, catch an open-air event and learn a little history while you’re at it!
1. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
From bonsai to cacti, the Kew Gardens have it all. London’s Royal Botanic Gardens are a 300-acre Heritage listed site dating back to 1759. In addition to the magnificent glass Palm, Temperate and Waterlily houses are a 10-storey tall oriental pagoda and an 18-metre high walkway for ambling among the treetop canopy.
Address: Brentford Gate, Kew, Richmond, London, Surrey TW9 3AB
2. Kensington Gardens
One of eight Royal Parks in London, Kensington Gardens encompasses a number of attractions across its 242-acre spread, most notably Kensington Palace itself. Popular with picnickers and cyclists, Kensington Gardens was once part of Hyde Park but is distinct for its formal tree-lined avenues and fountain-adorned Italian Gardens near Lancaster Gate.
Address: Greater London, London W2 2UH
3. Hampton Court Palace Gardens
Running down the River Thames, the Hampton Court Palace gardens have been beautifully restored to preserve a 17th century aesthetic, boasting great historical and horticultural value. Lose yourself in the iconic Hampton Court Maze, peruse the Privy Garden or take a horse carriage ride around Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence.
Address: East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU
4. Kensington Roof Gardens
Planted on the 7th storey of an Art Deco-style former department store, the Kensington Roof Gardens are a well-known London secret and a real treat for those who happen upon them. Divided into Spanish, Tudor and woodland themes, the one-and-a-half-acre above ground gardens feature a flowing stream, resident flamingos and the chic Babylon restaurant.
Address: 99 Kensington High St, London W8 5SA
5. Chiswick House and Gardens
One of the more recently revamped gardens of London, the grounds surrounding Chiswick House were inspired by classical Italian landscaping, filled with architectural delights and a lacework of hidden paths. On site you will find a bowling green, stone bridges, exquisite statues and sculpted floral gardens restored to their 18th century splendour.
Address: Burlington Ln, London, Chiswick W4 2RP
6. Chelsea Physic Garden
Tracing the Thames, the Chelsea Physic Garden is one of London’s most interesting green spaces established to cultivate medicinal plants and herbs for apothecaries in 1673. Once the world’s most richly stocked botanic garden, the Chelsea Physic Garden is home to the oldest known rock garden which was sculpted using stone taken from the Tower of London.
Address: 6 Royal Hospital Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 4HS
7. Richmond Park
The largest of London’s Royal Parks, Richmond Park is best known for its furry residents: some 650 wild Red and Fallow deer. Covering a massive 2,500 acres, Richmond Park also features two golf courses, horse riding stables, pond fishing, playgrounds, excellent cycle paths and panoramic views from the top of King Henry’s Mound.
Address: Richmond, Greater London TW10 5HS
8. Hyde Park »
Easily the most popular of all London parks, Hyde Park is said to be one of the greatest city parks in the world – depicted in art and popular culture throughout the centuries. Famous as the site of the original Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park is also home to the Serpentine lake which is open for swimming and boating, as well as an intricate web of walking and cycle paths.
Address: Westminster, London W2 2UH
9. Regent’s Park
Featuring fragrant rose gardens, several sporting pitches and the London Zoo, Regent’s Park is one of London’s most frequented due to its comprehensive leisure-based facilities. Catch a production at the Open Air Theatre, watch a game of rugby or take a hike up Primrose Hill for fantastic city views.
Address: Chester Rd, London NW1 4NR
10. Battersea Park
Ever a favourite with outdoor enthusiasts, Battersea Park is a picturesque riverside space with a one-kilometre waterfront promenade, an adventure playground for kids and the fun-filled Battersea Children’s Zoo. From relaxing in the Old English Garden to paddle-boating on the lake, variety is the winning element of Battersea Park.
Address: Greater London, London SW11 4NJ
Words by Ashton Rigg