London’s Top Outdoor Attractions
One of my favourite things to do while exploring new cities is to check out their outdoor attractions. The thriving metropolis of London, England is one of the greenest cities I’ve explored, with 47% of London consisting of green space. This may be surprising to those who have yet to visit London but along with great city planning and areas set aside for hunting and gardens back in the day, there are now many parks and green spaces across the city. Some even spanning hundreds of acres. There’s even a section of central London called the ‘green lung’. This expanse of land covers four large parks which include Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James Park. So, even in the thick of the city with its fast pace, constant flow and endless attractions you can easily take a moment or an afternoon to relax and enjoy nature in the heart of London. The following are my picks for London’s top outdoor attractions.
Set on 300 acres, Kew Gardens has the world’s largest collection of living plants. Kew Gardens is one of London’s UNESCO world heritage sites and definitely one of London’s top outdoor attractions. Kew Gardens is home to over 14,000 trees and over 30,000 different kinds of plants and is an amazing place to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature. With such a massive space and wide array of things to do you could easily spend the whole day exploring Kew. Some of the top attractions are the Palm House, Temperate House, the Water Lily House and Princess of Wales Conservatory, all of which are full of wondrous plants from around the world.
London Wetland Centre
Located just outside of the city centre in the borough of Richmond Upon Thames, London’s Wetland Centre covers over 100 acres of ponds, lakes and gardens. It’s home to a wide variety of wildlife, with over 200 species of birds, a family of otters and others such as martins, snakes, butterflies and so much more. Some of the highlights include guided tours, the Peacock tower, for great views over the centre, the chance to use their six hides to catch sight of unassuming wildlife and merely strolling its paths. It was even voted as Britain’s Favourite Nature Reserve.
St. James Park
In the heart of London lies what is probably one of my favourite parks in the city. Covering over 50 acres and home to Buckingham Palace to the west, a small lake with boisterous royal pelicans, a plethora of waterfowl and other wildlife and enchantingly grand old trees, St. James Park is the oldest of London’s Royal Parks. Its paths lined with beautiful gardens, its lawns home to memorials and statues, and deck chairs for hire to sit and read, catch up with friends or soak up the sun.
Another of London’s Royal Parks is Regent’s Park and located a little north-west of central London. Regent’s Park is home to the London Zoo, stunning gardens, the Regent’s Canal. This massive park covers over 400 acres. Regent’s Park is mostly park land but also has a beautiful lake and around 200 bird species, including peregrine falcons. A stroll up Primrose Hill, at over 250 feet, offers fantastic views over London and is where you’ll find an oak tree dubbed the ‘Shakespeare Tree’. The tree was planted atop the hill in 1864 to celebrate the birth of Shakespeare over 300 years past.
To me Kensington Gardens is the epitome of London’s Royal Parks. Home to the gorgeous Kensington Palace set behind a perfectly round pond and flanked by beautiful gardens, Kensington Gardens is also home to some of London’s most notable statues and memorials. Set on 265 acres next to Hyde Park, it is where you’ll find the statue of Peter pan, the Albert Memorial and the enchanting Elfin Oak, a 900 year old tree stump with elves and small animals carved into its bark. With park lands surrounding the picturesque Serpentine Lake, you can enjoy the weather while lounging on the lawn or go exploring its paths in search of its awesome treasures.
What is YOUR pick for London’s Top Outdoor Attractions?