Did you know that London is the greenest major city in Europe and the third greenest city of its size in the world (officially)? Well, it is, and it has so many beautiful spaces where the city gives way from cold architectural structures to thriving green lungs that give us city-dwellers respite. Selecting the best London parks and gardens for this post was a job I adored taking on.
Oh, and they are wonderful places to party, to picnic and to just get away from it all.
I don’t think that I could live in London if it wasn’t so green. I love any excuse to shake my shoes off, count the petals of a dandelion clock and pretend to be a wood nymph watching the breeze shimmer through tree branches. My favourite hours are about 7am when the sun has come up, but it’s quite quiet in the parks – you’re often alone – and 5pm when twilight is getting heavy on the horizon.
What can I say, the blossom makes me go all poetic.
Without further ado, these are (in my opinion) the best London parks and gardens for…
…behaving like a pirate/shouting Jaws references – and the winner is Regent’s Park.
…rocking a neo-Palladian villa – Chiswick House and Gardens. (Also an EXCELLENT choice if you’re into Geocaching.)
… discovering Italian beauty and historic pools – the Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens.
…casting off the yolk of adult responsibility and feeding the super friendly squirrels – St James Park & Green Park. (Also wins the highly recommended ‘places to walk off a hearty roast dinner’ category.)
…commuter paradise – and the winner is Finchley Central Tube Station
…discovering fairies and elves – and the winner is Kensington Gardens. You’ll discover the Elfin Oak a c.800 year old Oak stump relocated from Richmond Park, covered in figures created by the illustrator Ivor Innes between 1928 & 1930, carved and painted with elves, princesses, fairies and woodland creatures – and a Peter Pan statue that will evoke all of T M Barry’s Peter Pan chapters.
…go for a chilly refreshing swim – and the winner is Hampstead Heath. If you have a chance, explore also explore the beautiful Kenwood House.
…having tea with the Queen – and the winner is Buckingham Palace Gardens.
…sipping sensational botanical G&Ts – and the winner is Kew Gardens.
…play cricket against deer – and the winner is Bushy Park
…making friends with peacocks and finding some Japanese inspired zen – Holland Park.
…tracking down London Kiwis on a sunny day eating guilt free ice cream – and the winner is my garden!
Highly commended parks and gardens for:
- Chatting up birds – the Barnes wetlands centre
- Petting goats – Vauxhall City Farm
- Surprising NZ statues – The public square between the Ritz hotel & the Thames river
- People watching – Berkeley Square
- Finding dinosaurs (though I never had managed to) Bromley’s Crystal Palace Park
I hope if nothing else, this list inspires you to get outdoors. Writing it certainly has for me!
What’s your favourite park or garden- London or internationally?