Greater London boasts a striking 3,000 public open spaces across 32 boroughs and the City of London. During the worst of the pandemic, London parks served an extraordinarily important function for locals. They were places where people could be active outside, places where some semblance of normalcy could be staked. Happily, you don’t have to wait for the next pandemic to appreciate these parks.
Most visitors are familiar with London’s most famous parks, among these, Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park, and the Regent’s Park. These parks are four of London’s eight Royal Parks, which means that they were originally used by the royal family for recreational purposes.
But beyond these central London parks are a huge number of lovely verdant places for year-round enjoyment. Swim and relax in the shade during the summer; track the changing of the seasons in autumn and spring; stay active during the dark winter season.
Here are four less well-known parks across London, parks most visitors are unlikely to stumble upon.
Related: 20 free museums in London
Peckham Rye Park & Common
Nearest train station: Peckham Rye (Overground and Thameslink)
Bus lines: 12, 63, 343, 363
Peckham Rye Park sits south of buzzy, rapidly gentrifying Peckham, far south of the Thames. There is a quiet community garden, an arboretum, several gardens (a formal English garden, a Japanese garden, and a nature garden), and a fun, cheery café called The Round.
Peckham Rye is lovely all year, though, like all of London parks, it really comes alive during the summer months.
As a bonus, it’s within easy walking distance from both Peckham High Street and very pleasant East Dulwich, both of which are full of great places to eat. (Lunch tip: Head to Persepolis, a good value vegetarian supermarket-café at 28-30 Peckham High Street.)
Beckenham Place Park
Nearest train station: Beckenham Hill (Thameslink)
Bus access: 54, 136
This massive south London park, expanded in 2019 by annexing a golf course, has a BMX track, a swimming lake, and loads of trails through woods. The social hub of the park is a 1760s mansion sitting atop a gentle green slope, which houses a café and hosts frequent events.
Beckenham Place Park takes some time to reach from central London; unless you want to make a day of the park, combine a visit here with some other south London attractions, like the Horniman Museum and Gardens or Crystal Palace, with its triangle of interesting shops and cafes.
Golders Hill Park
Nearest Tube stations: Hampstead and Golders Green (Edgware branch of Northern Line)
Bus access: 210, 268
Adjacent to the much better-known Hampstead Heath, Golders Hill Park is an enormously appealing London park. It has a playground, a free zoo, tennis courts, a lovely Georgian pergola with sweeping park views, a botanical garden, and a bird pond, among other features. Paths crisscross the park; the paths through wooded areas are especially rewarding.
Lincoln’s Inn Fields
Nearest Tube station: Holborn (Central and Piccadilly)
Bus access: 1, 8, 13, 55, 59, 113, 168, 188, 243, 521
The only truly central London park — to be exact, this is a public square, not a park — in this list, Lincoln’s Inn Fields sits adjacent to Lincoln’s Inn, one of London‘s four Inns of Court. (Inns of Court are professional legal associations; every lawyer — or barrister — in England and Wales belongs to one of these four associations.) The park features a wide grassy area perfect for summer picnics. There are also tennis and netball courts and a café.
On the north side of the square is Sir John Soane’s Museum, a lovely and often overlooked house museum featuring restored interiors and paintings from Soane’s wide-ranging collection.
What hidden gems have you come across in London? Share your favorite London parks and other attractions in the comments below!
Source: Euro Cheapo