One of the things I love about London is how much green space it has. No matter where you are, you’re almost certainly within walking distance of a nice park. The big parks in central London include Hyde Park, Green Park, St. James’s Park, and Regent’s Park. There are several other parks once you get further outside London, two that I made sure to check out when I was there included Greenwich Park and Richmond Park.
St. James’s Park and Green Park almost seem to just be one big park. St. James’s Park is located just a block up the road from Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, and continues up to Buckingham Palace. Once you continue on past Buckingham Palace, towards Piccadilly Circus, the park becomes Green Park. I really like St. James’s Park. There’s a canal running through the whole park and there’s tons of birds and wildlife around, in the summer there are even pelicans! There are always flowers in bloom and the grass is always green, no matter what time of year. It was a bit weird when I first arrived in London in January and there were flowers blooming everywhere. From some of the bridges, there’s a great view of Buckingham Palace across the canal. (Tube Stops: St. James’s Park & Green Park)
Hyde Park and Regent’s Park are much larger. Hyde Park is located at the end of Oxford Street, starting at Marble Arch and continuing over towards Notting Hill and Portobello, with Kensington Palace at the very end. You could easily wonder around Hyde Park for hours; there’s a lot more open green space and quite a few fields. The Serpentine is a huge lake in the middle of the park; you can walk completely around it and a major intersection actually crosses through the park and over it. There’s tons of memorials spread throughout the park, the most notable for me being the Princess Diana Memorial and the Memorial for the London bombing. There’s another small circular pond when you reach Kensington Palace and there’s lots of big trees. There’s always people around playing various sports. (Tube Stops: Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner)
Regent’s Park is located further North, near the famous Baker Street, and is home to the London Zoo. I’ve never actually visited the zoo, but there’s tons of exotic animals there to see. Regent’s Park is also very large, but it’s probably my least favourite park. There’s some nice flowers and shrubs and a small lake, but overall I kind of just found it a little boring. There’s not many trees there and it’s mostly just open space. (Tube Stop: Regent’s Park)
Greenwich Park is similar in that there’s not really much going on in the park, it’s mostly just open space, except that I really love Greenwich Park. It’s dispersed with huge trees and there’s a big hill right in the center of the park where the Royal Observatory is. This is where the Prime Meridian passes through and it has one of the best views of London! The Royal Maritime Museum is a beautiful building located at the base of the park and you have a perfect view of the Thames and many of London’s landmarks. The Royal Observatory is definitely worth a visit, as is Greenwich Village. (Tube Stop: Cutty Sark (DLR line))
Richmond Park is the last park I visited. It’s in zone 4, so quite a while outside London. If you take the train from Waterloo Station (not the tube) it only takes about a half hour to get out there. Richmond itself is a pretty cool part of London, we left the train station and walked down to an earlier section of the Thames and enjoyed a great meal on the river bank. Richmond Park is London’s biggest park and it really is massive. We were there for like 3 hours just walking from one end to the other (granted we took our time). The best part of the park is that there’s tons of deer there! We actually saw dozens of deer just hanging around and it happened to be mating season when we were there, so we even saw stags ramming their horns. You have to be really careful in Richmond Park though to not get too close to the animals, or they will hurt you. There’s all kinds of videos on youtube of stags chasing people at the park. But long as you don’t get too close though, they’ll leave you alone. (Station: Richmond)
Anyways, that’s a summary of London’s biggest parks. There are tons of small parks everywhere you go though that are just as lovely. You’re bound to stumble upon them sooner or later. And don’t forget, the best part about the parks is that they’re all absolutely free!