The best Royal Parks to visit in London
One of the biggest and best-known parks in London, Hyde Park really is unmissable if you’re visiting the capital. Stroll through its 350 acres of meadows, tree-lined footpaths and ornamental gardens, hire a rowing boat and head out on The Serpentine lake, or listen to a political debate at Speakers’ Corner.
The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain is another must-see, and there’s a series of events running in the park throughout the year. BST Hyde Park is the flagship summer music event, and has hosted everyone from the Rolling Stones to Taylor Swift over the years. And Hyde Park Winter Wonderland takes over in winter, with ice skating, fairground rides and a traditional Christmas market.
How to get there: You can walk to Hyde Park from London Victoria Coach Station in 20 minutes via Grosvenor Place. There are buses along this route, too.
Kensington Gardens – which were originally part of Hyde Park – have the added attraction of a real Royal residence. Kensington Palace, which is now the official residence of Kate and Wills, runs regular tours, exhibitions and family-friendly events.
The gardens themselves are as beautiful as you’d expect, filled with ornamental flowerbeds and criss-crossed with grand avenues. Children will enjoy visiting the Peter Pan statue and couples should check out the Albert Memorial, commissioned by a grieving Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband, Prince Albert.
How to get there: Kensington Gardens are essentially on the other side of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, so your best bet is to spend the morning in Hyde Park, then wander over to Kensington Gardens for the afternoon.
The Regent’s Park
You could spend all day in The Regent’s Park and not get bored. Start with a walk through some of the famous gardens, including the Allotment Garden and Queen Mary’s Gardens – a mass of 12,000 roses in 400 varieties. If you’re here with kids, take the little monkeys to see the real thing at ZSL London Zoo. There’s a boating lake, too, and The Hub, which is officially the largest outdoor sports facility in London. Factor in the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, which hosts evening performances under the stars, and you’ve got your itinerary for the day sorted.
How to get there: Head over to London Victoria railway station and hop on the Victoria Tube line. Get off at Warren Street and The Regent’s Park is a 10-minute walk.
St James’s Park
The oldest of London’s Royal Parks, St James’s Park, is also one of its most famous. It’s where the Trooping the Colour ceremony takes place every year on Horse Guards Parade. Plus, it’s home to The Mall, which links Trafalgar Square at one end and Buckingham Palace at the other.
Right next door you’ve got The Green Park, which is another of London’s Royal Parks. It’s the smallest of them all, and as such it’s a really lovely spot for a peaceful picnic in the summer.
How to get there: You can walk to St James’s Park in about 20 minutes from Victoria Coach Station, via Buckingham Palace Road.
If you want to find out more about what you can get up to in the capital, check out our London city guide.
Published on 27th July 2017