Top 12 Parks and Gardens in Central London

Central London has more open space than any other big city in the world

Many of it’s parks and gardens were originally royal hunting grounds, stately homes, or contained within grand palaces or estates,   ,and were converted up to three centuries ago into public parklands accessible to all.


Here are some of the most famous big parks and gardens in the centre of the city.

Temperate House, Kew Gardens
Temperate House, Kew Gardens

1. Kew Gardens

020 8940 1171

Kew, Richmond, Surrey near Kew Gardens tube

Mon-Fri 8.30 – 6.30pm, weekends 9.30 – 7.30pm

Set in the grounds at Kew Palace  (built in 1759), Kew Gardens were landscaped by Capability Brown and are considered to contain the finest collection of plants in England. In the curved glass Palm House built in 1848 are 45,000 species of plant. There is also the Evolution House, The Princess of Wales Conservatory and the stunning recently renovated Temperate House.

Parks and gardens
Parks and gardens

2. Regents’ Park NW1

Beautifully styled gardens and open grassy areas popular  with footballers and rugby players enjoying the open spaces. The park was established by Henry VII as a hunting ground, Cromwell sold it to finance the revolution, Charles II later sold the land off to nobles around the country, George VI used it as a thoroughfare and palace complex until finally John Nash was brought in to design the gardens as they appear today. It also holds London Zoo in its confines.


3. Hyde Park ,W2

Hyde Park is probably the best known park in London. The 4 mile parameter gives you an idea of just how vast this park is. With Marble Arch, Kensington Palace and the Albert memorial positioned around the rim and the Serpentine lake meandering through it, Hyde Park was acquired by Henry III in 1536. Though inline skaters, swimming, boating and tennis courts are among the activities to be enjoyed here, the park is more famous as a bit of country in the city with 2 sets of riding stables in its 360 acres.

4. St James’ Park

This  is a spot of paradise for both tired shoppers  and computer worn city workers. The park , situated between the historic thoroughfares of Horse Guards Parade  and Pall Mall is immaculately kept with a hint of wild flora and forna about the place. The  park itself is home to many different varieties of wildlife including pelicans, which were given to the park as a present from a Russian Tsar over 300 years ago.


5. Green Park

You will not find any keep off the grass signs here. This is a rugged grassy park situated between Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly.

Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens
Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens

6.Kensington Park

It is hard not to like being in Kensington because it is so well kept and quintessentially English. The park runs along side High Street Kensington and down past the Royal Albert Hall with the stunning Prince Albert monument.  People come here to read, roller skate or sit and have high tea at the Orangery.


7.Hampstead Heath, NW3

Set in one of the wealthiest parts of London, this park is stunning with a combination of the rugged forest woodland and the nicely kept large

large grassed areas. A little known and added bonus are the ponds. There are two sections of the park set aside for male and female swimming,. Totally natural ponds are made into safe, public swimming pools with lifeguards and modest changing rooms. Swimming around in the rushes is a cleansing experience and not one you expect when you visit London. Though freezing for most of the year, if you pick a hot day this is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon when things get too choked up in the heart of London.

At Parliament Hill is a Lido and a Running Track, Sports field, Horse riding, Fishing, Orienteering, Model boating, Boules are among the activities on offer. Need I go on……?

Richmond Park
Richmond Park

8.Richmond Park, TW10

This beautiful parkland , formerly Royal hunting grounds for the Georgian kings,  is renowned for its Deer who wander freely through 2360 acres. This is essentially a park for people who love wildlife.For peace and tranquillity, the Isabella Plantation has waterfalls, stepping stones and other calming natural influences.


9.Primrose Hill, N8

In the smartest part of North London some 62 acres of heavenly grassland offer panoramic views of the city.


10. Holland Park, W14, open 7.30 – 10.30

On the Edge of High Street Kensington, this is a surprising haven for visitors looking for a little peace and quiet. The Kyoto Garden enjoys a mini pagoda, banzai trees, wooden walkways, waterfalls and Peacocks.

Syon House
Syon House

11. Syon House and Gardens

Syon Park, Brentford, TW8

020 8560 0882

A beautiful stately home with gardens landscaped by Capability Brown and containing a fabulous collection of butterflies, waterfalls, tropical flowers and pools in the butterfly house.


12. Chiswick House

Burlington Lane, W4

020 8995 0508

This neo classical villa built in the 1720s was the home of the Earl of Burlington and contains a fabulous array of art and artefact. The landscaped gardens are peaceful, Romanesque and with a temple and lake running through it,


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