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Guide to London Outdoors

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London is one of the greenest cities in the world and is full of parks, private gardens, big public squares, hidden green squares and plenty of places to explore or sit and enjoy being away from the hustle and bustle. Use this list to find the right green space for you whether you want to get some exercise, take a gentle stroll, see some nature or check out some history.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Thrifty Traveller

10 Places

4 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Hyde Park

Parks

Regent's Park

Parks

St. James's Park

Parks

Richmond Park

Parks

Thames Path National Trail

Hiking Trails

Greenwich Park

Parks

Trafalgar Square

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Holland Park

Neighbourhoods, Parks

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Gardens, National Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas

WWT London Wetland Centre

Nature & Wildlife Areas

Sue H's City Tips

  • To use London public transport you'll need to get an Oyster card, which you can buy on arrival or in advance. You can load it up with day passes and take a bus or tube whenever you need to.
  • London is generally a very safe but as a rule of thumb, keep belongings close and don't venture into unlit areas (such as parks!) after dark.
  • From July 2014 you can't pay for bus tickets with cash so you really will need that 'Oyster'!
  • You can pick up snacks and drinks at shops and enjoy a picnic on the grass in the parks but please be careful not to leave any litter behind.
  • Save
    Hyde Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    Sue H Says:

    Hyde Park is central London’s largest park and exploring it is a must but just remember it is big enough to get lost in! There is something for everyone to enjoy from walks through its wide open spaces, to boating on the Serpentine Lake, to horse riding, a game of tennis or a chance to swim in the lake. Kensington Gardens adjoins Hyde Park and here you find Kensington Palace where Prince William and Kate live with Prince George. (Although you can visit the palace I'm afraid you are unlikely to spot these royals!) There are two free art galleries as well as the Princess Diana Memorial Playgrounds and Fountain for children and the statue of Peter Pan. Hyde Park is the location for many great open air concerts, as well as the famous Speakers’ Corner where anyone can speak their piece. There’s plenty of space to play ball games or you can just lie down, have a picnic and rest from the busy task of visiting London.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There are several good cafes to enjoy dotted around the park.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #11 of 1,736 things to do in London
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lovely walk 13/12/2017
    • Like a mini Central Park 13/12/2017
    • Hyde Park
    Phone:
    +44 300 061 2000
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    05:00 - 00:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Regent's Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    Sue H Says:

    This central park has wonderful ornamental gardens as well of plenty of grassy areas for picnics, along with London’s largest open area for sports with nearly 100 acres of park set aside for games. There are boating lakes where you can hire a pedalo or rowing boat, and water fowl lakes where resident and migrating birds live. The park is also home to the famous London Zoo. Summer brings the ever popular open air theatre season, which is a joy. You might also enjoy taking a deep breath in the rose gardens when you visit, to capture the heady scent of 12,000 roses! There are cafes dotted around the park and be sure to look out for the wonderful cream terraces of buildings circling the park, all owned by the Queen.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • To the north you can carry on up to Primrose Hill which has some of the best views over all of London and is worth the slight climb.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #20 of 1,736 things to do in London
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great beauty in fall 12/12/2017
    • Fun times 11/12/2017
    • Regent's Park
    Address:
    Chester Road
    London NW1 4NR
    England
    Phone:
    +44 300 061 2300
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    05:00 - 21:00
    Other:
  • Save
    St. James's Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    Sue H Says:

    St James’s Park is right in the centre of London running from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade, making it a great way to walk between these two major London landmarks. It has The Mall along one side of the park with St James’s Palace, Clarence House and Admiralty Arch to enjoy. There are beautifully planted flower beds and a lovely lake which extends the full length of the park. In the lake is the unexpected sight of several pelicans, which were a gift from the Russian Ambassador back in 1664 and they have flourished here ever since with a second breed added to the group in 2013 thanks to the city of Prague. This is a wonderful park to rest in, taking a well-earned break from the surrounding concentration of sights.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Don’t miss the roof terrace at the Inn The Park restaurant and cafe for a drink with a view over the lake to Horse Guards Parade and through to the London Eye.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 1,736 things to do in London
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Special sanctuary in central London 13/12/2017
    • Worth a walk 12/12/2017
    • St. James's Park
    Address:
    Horse Guards Road
    The Storeyard
    London SW1A 2BJ
    England
    Phone:
    +44 300 061 2350
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    05:00 - 00:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Richmond Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    Sue H Says:

    Richmond Park is a little way out of the centre of London although not too far as you can still see the City’s skyscrapers from here. It is a lovely open space, full of ancient trees, and large enough to have small roads running through it, for cars and cycles. Richmond Park is home to a particular feature that draws visitors every year - herds of over 600 Red and Fallow deer. It’s great to pull over and watch them close up, but not too close to disturb them. Richmond is the largest of the Royal Parks, and was set up as a walled deer hunting park by King Charles 1 back in the 1600s. One of the most popular areas to explore is the Isabella Plantation, ornamental woodland gardens and ponds which are home to many birds, but the whole park is a great place for long walks.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There are playgrounds and cafes that add to the enjoyment and Richmond village is nearby for some great restaurants and shopping.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 57 things to do in Richmond
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A walk in the park 12/12/2017
    • Richmond Park - Countryside and Forest in the heart of London - wilder than Hyde Park and with 600 deer roaming 05/12/2017
    • Richmond Park
    Phone:
    +44 300 061 2200
  • Save
    Thames Path National Trail
    Hiking Trails
    Sue H Says:

    The Thames Path was voted the world’s number two urban walk in 2013 - a well-deserved award! Not many people manage the full 294 kilometres but the central section along the south bank of the River Thames is a wonderful way to explore London. A manageable stroll will take you past Tower Bridge, City Hall, The Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge, the National Theatre, the Royal Festival Hall and the London Eye. On the opposite bank you will see the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, Somerset House and the Houses of Parliament to name but a few sights. What other walk could offer you that much? On your way you will pass green spaces, street entertainers and plenty of places to sit and enjoy the views.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There are numerous cafes and restaurants along the way to refresh you, so see how far you can go!
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 30 things to do in Witney
    • You Have To Start From Somewhere 10/12/2017
    • Supper 08/12/2017
    • Thames Path National Trail
    Address:
    Signal Court Old Station Way
    Old Station Way
    Witney OX29 4TL
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1865 810224
    Other:
  • Save
    Greenwich Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    Sue H Says:

    Greenwich Park offers some of the best views over London from the top of its hill from where you can see all of Greenwich’s famous old buildings, the new towers of Canary Wharf and the skylines of the City and central London a little further down the river Thames. The park itself was home to the show jumping in the 2012 London Olympics and offers wonderful open spaces as well as the adjacent Royal Observatory. Here you'll find the Prime Meridian line at zero degrees longitude, the Royal Maritime Museum and Queen’s House. Look out for the ancient trees, the bats and the birds as well as the bees who love the flower beds. This is the oldest of London’s eight royal parks and has Roman remains within it.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Take a boat from central London to Greenwich as a great way to see the sights from the river. You can hop on at the London Eye or Embankment.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #44 of 1,736 things to do in London
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Pleasant trip away from the centre 10/12/2017
    • Wonderful view 03/12/2017
    • Greenwich Park
    Address:
    Greenwich Park
    London SE10 8QY
    England
    Phone:
    +44 20 8858 2608
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    06:00 - 21:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Trafalgar Square
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Sue H Says:

    Trafalgar Square is at the heart of London and is a great place to explore and use as a starting point for the surrounding area which is full of sights. The Square itself is a grand open space, home to Nelson’s Column and the famous lions which you can climb on for a great photo op. You have the Fourth Plinth topped with temporary contemporary art and the two sets of beautiful fountains. The Square’s open spaces are used for all kinds of events so you are likely to stumble upon something fun happening and it’s a good place to hang out. On the northern edge is the National Gallery with enough great paintings to satisfy any art lover.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    Tips
    • Start here before a visit to St James' Park, or before hopping on a Thames Clipper up to Greenwich.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #60 of 1,736 things to do in London
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Went to see the Christmas tree, disappointing. 11/12/2017
    • Lovely Christmas tree with lights 09/12/2017
    • Trafalgar Square
    Address:
    Centre of the City
    London SW1A
    England
    Phone:
    0473344937
    Other:
  • Save
    Holland Park
    Neighbourhoods, Parks
    See more photos
    Sue H Says:

    Holland Park in west London offers so much variety and is famous for its tranquillity. The Kyoto Japanese garden is a zen experience with its waterfalls and beautiful planting and, in contrast, the northern part of the park is semi-wild woodland. There are sports fields and children’s play areas as well. In the summer the park is home to the Opera Holland Park season with good quality performances, aiming to make opera more accessible to all.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Don’t miss the lovely orangery for refreshments and a game on the giant chess set - although you may need to dodge the resident peacocks.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #56 of 1,736 things to do in London
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A great park to walk through 02/12/2017
    • Good place for kids 25/11/2017
    • Holland Park
    Phone:
    +44 20 7471 9813
    Other:
  • Save
    Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
    Gardens, National Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas
    See more photos
    Sue H Says:

    The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew are world famous for their immense glass houses and the crucial role they have played in plant conservation for the planet. As you enter the Palm House you step into another climate and can feel the humidity shoot up. It was built in Victorian times to accommodate the exotic plants brought back by explorers. The palm trees now reach up to the roof 19 metres above you and spiral staircases take you to rooftop walkways to get a great view of the 150 metres of planted beds. An outdoor treetop walkway is great as long as heights are not a problem for you. If so not to worry, there's lots else to explore including Kew Palace, the famous home and gardens of King George lll (as in the ‘The Madness of King George’). There are unusual and beautiful plants everywhere you look, some 250 year old trees, formal gardens, lakes and great walks. A cafe will refresh and the shop will cater for your every gardening need.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There is an entry charge of £15 and children under 16 go free.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Kew
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • December in Kew 13/12/2017
    • Amazing, need to go back!!! 13/12/2017
    • Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
    Address:
    Kew Green
    Richmond
    Kew, Richmond TW9 3AB
    England
    Phone:
    +44 20 8332 5655
    Price range:
    USD 23 - USD 23
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 15:30
    Other:
  • Save
    WWT London Wetland Centre
    Nature & Wildlife Areas
    See more photos
    Sue H Says:

    The London Wetlands Centre is a hidden gem, an urban oasis not far from the centre of London where you could think you were in the middle of nowhere! It’s an important area for resident and migrating birds and there are hides dotted around for you to sit quietly and see how many bird species you can spot. More active is feeding time in the otter pool where they will treat you to their delightful play. There are board walks to take you around and the full circuit is a decent walk for enjoying the varied plants as well as the wildlife.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It’s really well set up for families to visit and there are cafes and a large shop to enjoy.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #170 of 1,736 things to do in London
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful oasis in the city. 06/12/2017
    • Christmas visit 02/12/2017
    • WWT London Wetland Centre
    Address:
    London Wetland Centre Queen Elizabeth Walk
    Barnes
    London SW13 9WT
    England
    Phone:
    +44 20 8409 4400
    Other:
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