London has some of the best parks in Western Europe. The tradition of relaxing in green spaces is very typically British, and London does not disappoint. It was in fact named an urban forest back in 2016. From the ultra-touristy Hyde Park to the wild Hampstead Heath, we’ve checked out some of the best parks in the British capital for your lounging pleasure.
Hyde Park is the most famous of all the London parks. Located at Marble Arch tube station, it has a huge amount of amenities such as rowing, pedal boating, and guided tours. But the best thing about the park is Diana’s Memorial. The memorial is a lovely horizontal fountain contraption designed to represent the anguish felt by the Royals after the car accident. Hyde Park also features several lakes with majestic swans constantly puttering around. Beware of them though, as pretty as they are, they are extremely dangerous and will not hesitate to take a bit out of you if provoked. The park is also full of extremely tame squirrels.
Victoria Park is East London’s answer to Hyde Park. Just as beautiful, and nowhere near as touristy, Victoria Park is surrounded by pubs, so you can grab a pint and admire the views after you’ve gone for a long walk. The gem of East London has some truly amazing landmarks, such as the Chinese pagoda and the memorial to Queen Victoria. The late monarch is honored in that part of the city because of all the charity work she did at the turn of the last century. That part of the city was notoriously poor at the time and her work made a huge difference in the communities. The park is located right off of the East London canals, making it a great place to stop for a break during a nice long bike ride.
Hampstead Heath is the most prestigious of the London parks. Located right off of the Hampstead Overground, it is not the easiest to get to if you are staying in the city center, but the trek is very much worth it. Unlike the other London parks, it is not anywhere near as manicured, which makes for a much wilder experience. If you want to hike, this is the second-best place in the city to do so, the first being Epping Forest. Hampstead Heath is best known for its lakes that are open for the public to swim in year-round, though this is only really feasible in the summer months. The heath has rolling hills that give way to some of the best views of the city, making for a great place to have a picnic or a barbecue.
Crystal Palace Park is an incredibly unusual space in as much as it has quite unique features, even by British standards. The park is home to a collection of dinosaur sculptures, a series of concrete sphinxes, and the remains of the old Crystal Palace after which the park takes its name. It not the best place to take a blanket and a book because of the rather poor quality grass, but is quite the adventure to go trekking through on the way to choosing your favorite dinosaur. The only drawback to Crystal Palace Park is that is it located in deep South London. Public transportation does go there, but runs rather poorly. That part of the city is notorious for its poor transit system anyway, mostly because it is full of archaeological sites that cannot be disturbed.