It's one of the world's most bustling capital cities, but London is also home to numerous sprawling open spaces.

So to mark National Parks Week, get away from it all and take a stroll in one of our five favourite parks.

Hyde Park (map)

Covering a vast 350 acres, Hyde Park is  one of London’s most central parks.

It is home to landmarks including speakers’ corner and the memorial fountain for Diana, Princess of Wales, while the Rose Garden, in the park’s south east corner, is full of stunning blooms.  

Food and drink is served at two eateries on the eastern and south sides of the Serpentine lido (The Serpentine Bar & Kitchen and The Lido Café).

Visitors can get out on the water from the Serpentine Boathouse, where rowing boats, pedal boats and the Solar Shuttle are available to hire between March and October, while the Serpentine Lido and paddling pool are open 7 days a week between the same months.

Greenwich Park (map)

Greenwich Park covers 74 hectares (183 acres) and is home to the Meridian Line and and the Royal Observatory.

The meridian line runs across the courtyard of the Royal Observatory and represents Longitude Zero (0° 0' 0").

It is from this line that the location of everywhere else in the world is measured, and the line also serves as the reference point for Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Greenwich Park is also home to The National Maritime Museum and Old Royal Naval College, and offers visitors some breathtaking views of the Thames and its famous skyscrapers.

Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill (map)

Regent's Park is home to an open air theatre, stunning rose garden and ZSL London Zoo, and is adjacent to Primrose Hill - the two are separated by Prince Albert Road and the zoo.

Just a 9 minute walk from Camden Town, Regent’s Park boasts beautiful gardens and historic parkland, with a variety of wildlife, including birds and waterfowl from around the world.

Meanwhile, the view from the top of Primrose Hill is one of six protected viewpoints in London.

Its summit features stone edging inscribed with a quote from the poet William Blake, who lived nearby on Fitzroy Street: ‘I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill’.

St James’s Park (map)

The oldest of the capital's eight Royal Parks, St James’s Park is the home of London’s pomp and ceremony, incorporating The Mall and Horse Guards Parade.

Fom the park’s Blue Bridge, take a snap of the wonderful views across the lake to Buckingham Palace to the west and Horse Guards Parade, Big Ben and the London Eye towards the east.

And when you've had a stroll, you can pop in to the Duck Island nature reserve to see St James's Park's bird collection.

Hampstead Heath (map)

With its rolling open space and exceptional views of London, it's no wonder that Hampstead Heath has inspired many famous writers and artists over the years.

A favourite of Londoners looking for a spot to relax at the weekend, it's also a great place for dog walking and enjoying a picnic.

And if you fancy a dip on a hot day, then you're in the right place - Hampstead Heath is known for its open-air swimming, with a Ladies' Pond, Men's Pond and Mixed Pond, as well as the Parliament Hill Lido.


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