It’s safe to say that many residents of London are yearning for a return to normality. After a year of lockdowns and COVID restrictions, if you lived in East London during the three lockdowns of 2020 and 21, you sure weren’t going to see your friends in West for a while. Thankfully for locals and guests of the many 2 night London hotel deals across the city, the easing of restrictions and marginal improvement of local weather means that outdoor excursions are more manageable and bearable than they were just two months ago. That being said, the city of London and indeed the rest of the UK is still under the thrall of loosened - but still vital - restrictions. That means there’s still social distancing measures being enforced and a little way to go before the country returns to normal for holidaymakers and locals.
London spans over 1500 square kilometres, and whilst it might seem unscalable at times, the city’s size has worked in its favour over the last year. Whether visiting for a last-minute holiday or a local looking to stretch their legs, the many walks, cycle routes and stunning views of the city have given people that much needed dose of fresh air. And as spring brings the many botanical gardens, nature reserves and parks into full bloom, now is a better time than ever to appreciate the many walking trails, scenic rambles and secret gardens of the city.
Green Lung Royal Parks
The royal parks are among some of the top tourist attractions of Central London, but not only that, they’re easily reachable for locals too, many of whom might overlook the parks as a simple tourist ploy. That being said, any Londoner who wants to see their city in a new light should start with these parks, especially with great value deals on Montcalm London hotels for staycations near Finsbury Square.
The central green lung of royal parks is Green, Hyde and Regents Park as well as Kensington Gardens, all unique royal parks in their own rights and with hundreds of years of history between them. There are plenty of famous sculptures to see, tourist attractions and activities to enjoy such as boat hire, horse riding and even swimming facilities, making these parks more than just scenic walking trails.
For the famous views of the River Thames, Westminster and Tower Bridge, a walk along the South Bank from Waterloo and past London Bridge and the Tate Modern will tick off many of the most famous London cultural institutions, all with beautiful views over London’s famous river. Indeed, this might be the best way to introduce a first-time guest at the Montcalm Royal London House Hotel to the city and its majestic character.
Hackney Marshes And The Olympic Park
Forget West Ham’s new stadium and the shopping district of Stratford’s Westfields, the true draw for East London’s Hackney Marshes and Olympic Park is the beautiful stretch of river and canal walkways. Explore the hidden pathways of Hackney Marshes and you’ll find hidden ice rinks, horse riding centres and even a field full of cows. Hackney Marshes and the Olympic Park are amongst the best-hidden gems of London.
Another East London walk full of canals and surprisingly untapped nature reserves, the Lea Valley actually incorporates Hackney and Walthamstow Marshes but also stretches up past Cheshunt, Enfield and into Essex. Cheshunt and Waltham Abbey’s stretch of canals, reservoirs and nature reserves make for a truly pastoral escape from the city, all without leaving the Liverpool Street Overground Line.
Take the Central Line to its easternmost end and you’ll find yourself in Epping Forest, a 339 square kilometre pocket of ancient woodland that spans several boroughs and into Essex. Alongside wild deer reserves, beautiful treelines and herds of cows, visitors to Epping Forest can relive the experiences of fierce warlord Boudicca who hid out in Epping Forest as she lay waste to invading Romans, as well as see the views from the hunting lodge of Queen Elizabeth I.
Take the District Line to Richmond and walk through town to the riverside and edge of this beautiful royal park. Dating back to the 17th century when King Charles I built it as a deer hunting park, the beautiful Thameside nature reserve is home to herds of semi-wild deer. Furthermore, botanists will love the wild gardens of the Isabella Plantation, a secluded marshy pocket of the park that has been overrun with wild rhododendron.
Chiswick has a grand feel to it, and its riverside walking trails are no different. Stop off at Kew Gardens to see one of the most famous plantations in the UK, whilst the riverside nature can sometimes become the home of rare birds and even seals.
Crystal Palace Park
Crystal Palace Park is most famous for its model dinosaurs, all anatomically incorrect on account of their being built in the Victorian era. There’s a lot more to this expansive stretch of South London greenery though, thanks to its’s secret maze, disused open-air stage and beautiful hiking trails.
Sydenham Woods is situated in the southeast Dulwich area and is made up of a disused valley railway track that’s been left to rewild over the past few decades. Perfect for shady summer rambles, follow the trails up and down the escarpments and enjoy the sun as it shines through the shady trees.
For some of the best views of the London skyline, Hampstead Heath’s Primrose Hill is a must-visit for newcomers to London, providing cityscapes that span tens of miles. Furthermore, the stretch of woods, fields and swimming lakes makes for a must-visit for summertime picnics and walks.