There are no less than eight beautiful, historic parks filled with nature, wildlife and greenery to enjoy as part of a royal break in London. They’re all within a short distance of the hustle and bustle of the city and collectively, they cover more than 5,000 acres of parkland. Whether you want to enjoy a relaxing picnic or take advantage of the open air concerts and other events that take place through the year, there’s plenty to see and do.
Nearest tube: Marble Arch/Hyde Park Corner
Hyde Park is open all year round and you’ll find plenty of activities to keep you busy, from boating on the famous Serpentine to exploring a visiting exhibition. There are various memorials, foundations and statues to tick off as you wander through the grounds, including Apsley Gate and the Diana Memorial, as well as Speakers’ Corner, a traditional site for debates and speeches which dates all the way back to the mid-1800’s.
Nearest train: From Waterloo train station to Teddington/Hampton Wick/Hampton Court
As the second largest of the Royal Parks, Bushy Park entertains millions of Londoners and tourists alike every year. With herds of deer roaming around, you’ll truly feel like you’ve been transported out of the capital. Mixed in among the woodland, there are several maintained gardens, ponds, statues and memorials. One worth getting your camera out for is Chestnut Avenue, designed by highly acclaimed architect Christopher Wren to create a grand approach to Hampton Court Palace.
Nearest tube: North Greenwich
Greenwich isn’t just a historical park, dating all the way back to the Roman period, it’s also got a healthy dose of modern attractions too and is full of fascinating quirks for science fans. It’s home to the Royal Observatory, a planetarium and the meridian line. If that’s not enough, you’ll also find the national maritime museum, landscaped gardens, statues and an abundance of wildlife. When you throw in the sporting events and entertainment calendar, you’ve got an attraction that has something to offer everyone, whatever the time of year.
Nearest tube: Green Park/Hyde Park Corner
Green Park might be the smallest of the capital’s Royal Parks but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit. Triangular in shape, you’ll find it dotted with Londoners soaking up the sun in summer but there’s plenty to recommend it through the rest of the year too. Spread throughout the lush greens, you’ll find a host of memorials and statues, perfect if you’re looking to get up close and personal with a slice of London history and British culture. Green Park is also one of the places where Royal Gun Salutes take place to mark special royal occasions – well worth a watch if you can catch one.
Nearest tube: Lancaster Gate & Queensway/Bayswater
Whether you’re looking for an incredible playground to entertain little ones, would like to view an extensive contemporary art collection or simply want to experience the great outdoors, Kensington Gardens is a must. The formal avenues and beautifully planted flower beds conceal a plethora of hidden gems. Keep your camera handy as you never know what you’ll find around the next corner.
Nearest tube: Regent’s Park/Great Portland Street
Stunning gardens, historical significance, exciting water sport facilities, an open-air theatre, and a zoo – is there anything else you could want at Regent’s Park? The incredible array of activities and facilities at this Royal Park means you won’t be at a loss for something to do, whether you want to relax or plan to try your hand at a new experience.
Nearest tube: Richmond Station
Spanning an incredible 2,360 acres, Richmond Park is the largest Royal Park and the biggest enclosed space in London. It’s a recognised nature reserve and an area of scientific interest. If you really want to escape the hectic pace of the capital, this is the ideal place to sit back and unwind. Home to herds of deer and other wildlife, Richmond Park is a great place to get back to nature. Don’t miss the panoramic views from King Henry’s Mound and the beautiful ornamental gardens at the Isabella Plantation.
St James’s Park
Nearest tube: St James’s Park/Charing Cross
St James’s Park is the oldest of London’s Royal Parks and incorporates The Mall and Horse Guards Parade, notable for its use in ceremonial events and spectacular pageants, including the famous Trooping of the Colours. Other iconic landmarks and viewpoints are close at hand; Blue Bridge, Tiffany Fountain and the Duck Island nature reserve, perfect for birdwatching.
Adding one or more of the Royal Parks to your itinerary is a must for an authentic royal break in London, whatever the season.