Summer is coming to London. I hope so, anyway. May’s weather hasn’t been stellar, but there’s still a chance that the sun will dazzle us over the next three months. Summer in the city brings locals to life, and there’s no better place to witness the lifting of our spirits (and our bottles of spirits, for that matter) than London’s parks. As such, today I bring you A Lady in London’s guide to the 11 best parks in London.
Hampstead Heath has always been my favorite park in London. Its rugged terrain, extensive walking paths, and great views of the city bring me back again and again. Being there makes me feel like I’m a million miles away from the urban chaos of the capital, and the surrounding neighborhoods are some of the loveliest in London.
Golders Hill Park
Right next door to Hampstead Heath, Golders Hill park often gets overshadowed by its neighbor. But it has amazing flower beds and lots of little paths leading to secret gardens. It even has a petting zoo!
London’s most famous green space, Hyde Park deserves the praise it gets. From manicured gardens to swan-filled lakes, the vast expanse of land in the heart of central London has something for everyone. I first fell in love with Hyde Park for it’s big landmarks—the Serpentine and the gallery of the same name—but over time came to appreciate the smaller details. The little fountain shaped like a dog, the Peter Pan statue, and the flower gardens at Kensington Palace all keep me coming back.
Not far from Hyde Park, Holland Park also has a lot going for it. The Kyoto Garden garden with its pretty bridges and peaceful waterfall is one of my favorite places to spend sunny afternoons, and the spring tulip gardens and summer rose gardens are the prettiest in London. There’s a surprising number of animals dotted around the park, too.
Over in east London, I love visiting London Fields. The park itself is great for lounging on summer days, but it’s the area around it that really makes it worth a trip. Broadway Market is just outside the park, making London Fields the ideal place for a Saturday afternoon picnic. There are also great pubs along the perimeter that have outdoor seating with views over the green.
Also in east London, Victoria Park is one that has eluded me for the last seven years. But over the weekend I finally managed to get myself out there, and I’m glad I did. London’s oldest public park, it has everything from boating ponds to cricket grounds and a Chinese pagoda.
Regent’s Park always surprises me. While it’s known for the zoo and its many sporting fields, it also has idyllic lakes for boating and lovely flowers all around. It’s home to annual events like Taste of London and the Frieze Art Fair, as well as quiet corners filled with sculptures and other little surprises.
Adjacent to Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill has some of the best views of London from its peak. It’s close enough to the city center that many of London’s landmarks can be spotted without effort, but far enough away to offer respite from the crowds.
St James’s Park
One of the most poplar parks in London, St James’s Park has some of the best flower gardens and certainly the most abundant bird life of any park in the city. Right next to Buckingham Palace, the park paints the area with color in spring and summer.
Green Park is one of my favorite places for spring bulbs and summer picnics. The park turns bright yellow every March, and is the best place in the city to see daffodils. When the weather warms up, its wide stretches of grass are perfect for picnics on long summer evenings.
Although it can feel like a trek to travel out to southwest London, Richmond Park is worth the trip. Its rolling hills, famous deer, and wild feel make it the perfect antidote to the stress of the city. Some of the most adorable dogs in London roam here, too.