Take your pick of the best parks in London. Gorgeous green spaces dotted all over the city.
London is a ridiculously green city – so much so that it falls under the UN’s definition of a forest. Yep, you read that right, a forest. So there’s no excuse not to go out and explore these beautiful parks in London.
Not sure where to start? I’ve chosen 25 of the best green spaces in London, organised area by area – all you have to do is pack your picnic…
The Best Parks in London: Parks in Central London
St James’s Park
St James’s Park is hands down my favourite of the famous parks in London.
Flanked by Buckingham Palace to one side, The Mall, Westminster and Horse Guards Parade to the others, St James’s Park is a peaceful and picturesque green space covering about 23 hectares.
It’s hard to believe that you can find somewhere so quiet in between some of London’s most important spots (it’s also right next to 10 Downing Street) – but that’s London for you.
The park is particularly loved by bird watchers, as there is a large lake with two islands within it. Around it, there are various birds including pelicans, waterfowl and duck.
The sight of the lake, islands and birds certainly makes it a gorgeous sight. If you’re looking for nice parks in London, then James’s Park deserves a spot near the top of your list.
Another of London’s “royal parks”, Green Park is a fitting name for this lush oasis in the centre of London.
Within the city of Westminster, it covers about 40 acres in total. Unlike some of the other London parks, Green Park is relatively simple with no lakes and plenty of trees.
While today it’s blissfully peaceful, its past was a little more chequered – it was once known as a hotspot for highwaymen and thieves.
Today, that’s not a problem and instead it’s home to a network of trails that lead you through the lush green spaces.
It was first established by Henry VIII in 1536, but it wouldn’t be open to the general public for another century after that (you know how it goes with the royal familio).
Today, luckily, all Londoners can enjoy the wide open green space and many events. Some of the famous events in Hyde Park take place on the Speaker’s Corner, where people can present on various topics (some interesting, some decidedly not), as well as open-air rock shows that have attracted the likes of Queen.
If you are looking for a beautiful park in central London, Kensington Gardens is always a good choice. Having once been the gardens of Kensington Palace (which still sits in the middle of the park looking verrry pretty), they are pretty special.
The gardens cover an area of over 270 acres, and the trails take you past many interesting species of flora and fauna.
Although they began life as the westernmost part of Hyde Park, it is now very much a separate park and there is somewhat of a rivalry between the two. Just quietly though, they’re both pretty beautiful.
Read Next: The Insider’s London Guide to Kensington
St Dunstan in the East
One of the most unusual yet beautiful parks in London is St Dunstan in the East.
The beautiful setting was chosen as the locale for a beautiful 12th century church. Unfortunately, it lived a chequered life. After being rebuilt after the Great Fire of London, it was almost totally destroyed during the Blitz in World War II.
Instead of restoring it for a second time, the decision was made to leave it and turn the area into a park. The result is the sight of plants gradually reclaiming the grand building, leading to a beautiful and unique London park.
If you love flowers (and really, who doesn’t – be honest), then you’ll love Holland Park. It’s got many different beautiful gardens within it.
Famously, the park was the first place in the UK to grow dahlias, and they’re still thriving today. There’s also the excellent Japanese Kyoto Garden to enjoy and bring a little peace into your life.
Across summer, you can also catch open-air concerts and theatre shows. Don’t forget to pop into the New Design Museum (one of London’s cooler museums), which sits on the corner of the park.
Chelsea Embankment Gardens
Located alongside the river Thames, this small but perfectly formed garden offers a place to escape the tide of beautiful houses and chi-chi coffee shops in high-end Chelsea.
Along the way, there are numerous statues, as well as lawns and flower beds. Although it’s one of the smaller parks in London, its central location makes it very popular.
The surrounding neighbourhood of Chelsea is one of London’s most affluent areas, so make sure to do some people watching as you explore.
The Best Parks in London: Parks in West London
London parks don’t get much more charming than Richmond Park. Not only is it one of the largest green spaces in London, but it’s also got some of the best wildlife.
Designated as a “royal park”, Richmond Park covers more than 955 acres. This makes it England’s second largest park, and also three times larger than Central Park.
Something else that Richmond Park has on the famous park across the pond is a very large flock of deer.
In total, there are about 650 wild deer within the park. Historically, they were introduced for hunting, but today they just wander around delighting (and sometimes scaring) the park’s visitors.
Covering more than 445 hectares, Bushy Park is the second largest of the “Royal Parks” and one of the most significant scientifically. Though Richmond Park gets a lot of attention, Bushy is another one of the parks in West London that you should visit.
With many different species of flora and fauna, the park has been designated as both a “site of special scientific interest” and grade I heritage. So it’s pretty special.
There’s certainly no shortage of things to do in the park – it offers everything from model boating to horseriding and rugby.
The park was also the home of the very first Parkrun which has now spread around the world – so if you’re looking for jogging buddies on a Saturday morning, it’s the place to go.
If you’re looking for a beautiful park in west London, Ealing Common is a great choice – especially if you’re a cricket fan.
Centuries ago, it was considered the premier cricket club in London, hosting high-brow events and competitions.
Today, there’s still a pitch, but the appeal is a little more universal. The park is gorgeous, with chestnut trees lining many of the paths, and a beautiful rose garden in the south-west corner.
The Best Parks in London: Parks in South London
Beautiful Greenwich Park is one of the oldest parks in south east London, having first been established in the 15th century.
It quickly grew to be a much-loved part of the London landscape; when there was an attempt to turn part of it into a railway line in the 1850s, the people revolted.
They were eventually successful, and it remains a protected green space to his day. Within the park you’ll find many trails, and attractions such as the Queen’s House are not far away either.
One of London’s prettiest parks has a dark secret beneath it – literally. Or at least, we’re pretty sure it does.
Blackheath is infamous as likely having served as a burial ground during London plagues in the 14th and 17th centuries.
While the spooky history might add some grim overtones, you certainly wouldn’t know it looking at the park, which was created in the 19th century. It’s full of beautiful flora and fauna, and being located in one of London’s fancier areas, the people watching is pretty good too.
The 50 acres of Brockwell Park make up one of the most beautiful parks in south London. In fact, this park attracts more than four million visitors every year.
Part of what makes Brockwell Park such a beloved part of the fabric of London is the amazing views. As it is one of the highest points in London, they are truly spectacular.
The park is also well-known for their animal residents, including many species of birds and bats. Other features include tennis courts and a running track.
The best parks in London manage to keep a community-like feel, and that’s certainly the case at Dulwich Common.
This beautiful green space has amenities including football pitches, playgrounds and tennis courts, as well as a boat lake – because every good London park needs a boat lake.
The park is beautiful all year round, but particularly in spring when it overflows with colourful blooms.
Since 1890, Clapham Common has served as a sprawling hub for community life.
With the 18th century Holy Trinity Church on one side, and a handful of beautiful old Victorian and Georgian manors to the other, it’s a mix of natural and architectural treasures.
There are numerous amenities at the common, including a running track, football field and cricket pitch. Another highlight is the large bandstand (the largest in London, in fact), which plays host to a number of open-air concerts throughout the year.
Tooting Bec (Tooting Common)
The name might be unusual (it was inspired by the northern French region of Normandy), but the park is beautiful.
Tooting Common is actually made up of two parks – Tooting Bec, and Tooting Graveney.
Tooting Bec is slightly larger, offering 62 acres of foliage-rich parkland. It’s particularly famous for its picturesque, tree-lined avenues which are a great place to take a stroll.
There may be a lot of parks in London but apparently it wasn’t quite enough – we had to steal back space from the Thames to add in one more.
That’s how Battersea Park came to be, and why it enjoys such a picturesque riverside location.
It’s more than just a pretty spot, though – there is plenty to do here. There’s a children’s zoo (complete with meerkats), a Buddhist pagoda and an art gallery – plus a rather terrifying (but very fun) Go Ape. That’s a lot of variety within its 83 hectares.
Crystal Palace Park
Let’s avoid one disappointment early – the crystal palace that was this park’s namesake is no more, having been destroyed by a fire in the 30s.
Luckily, there’s plenty else to keep you entertained. Of course there’s the beautiful plants and trees, but there’s also a dilapidated Victorian theme park, and some huge dinosaur statues to hunt out.
Crystal Palace Park is also home to disused Victorian Subway – it is only open three times a year as restorative work are undertaken, but it is a beautiful sight.
Read More: Quirky and Offbeat Things to do in London
The Best Parks in London: Parks in North London
With over 165 hectares that are brimming with flowers, attractions and Londoners, Regent’s Park is one of the most popular parks in London.
Amongst the acreage there’s the brilliant ZSL Zoo, as well as a gorgeous Japanese Garden Island. Yep, a whole island.
There’s also a boating lake, walking trails and an open-air theatre – basically it’s your perfect London park.
Expansive Hampstead Heath covers more than 320 hectares, and includes various features such as a running track, lido, playgrounds, a pond and woodlands.
The Heath is also home to one of the highest views of London – one that is so beautiful, it is protected by law.
If you’re looking for somewhere to lose yourself in the beauty and tranquility of nature, then Hampstead Heath may fit the bill. It is certainly one of the most beautiful parks in London.
At 80 hectares, Alexandra Park is not the largest park in London, but it is one of the most diverse.
Its size means that you can easily explore it, and take in the many different areas.
It also hosts many different events, including an excellent farmer’s market most weeks.
Yet another London park that began as a hunting venue for Henry VIII, Primrose Hill is today one of the prettiest parks in north London.
The park is particularly renowned for its beautiful views – from here, you can get a gorgeous vista out over central London.
It’s not just the view, however – there’s also a gym, playground and plenty of walking and cycling trails to enjoy.
The Best Parks in London: Parks in East London
The 19th century Victoria Park is also nickname “the People’s Park”, thanks to the fact that it was one of the first amenities enjoyed by the working class in London.
Today, it remains a place where people from all over the city – and further afield – can go to enjoy nature and the public amenities.
Spread out over 88 hectares, the park boasts two cafes, a lido (pool) and a cricket pitch. Its also frequently the host of concerts, protests and other events.
Popular with young Londoners from the up-and-coming south east, London Fields has actually existed since around the 12th century.
Although its one of the oldest parks in south London, it’s modern in many ways, with lots of attractions (like table tennis and a foodie market).
It’s no wonder it’s one of the best loved parks in east London.
Lee Valley Regional Park
Who says you can’t enjoy a little slice of the country in London? With the 10,000 acre Lee Valley Regional Park, you’ll almost forget you’re in the city at all.
This expansive park actually stretches across multiple counties, and offers a huge variety of activities and attractions for those who love the outdoors.
There are, of course, numerous walking and cycling trails, as well as ice skating, horse riding, and a huge sporting centre that was used during the 2012 Olympics. Luckily, you certainly don’t need to be a star athlete to use it.
London Parks: Practical Information + Map
- Opening Hours of the parks vary – some are open 24 hours, while others have set hours (which are generally shorter in winter thanks to the shorter days). Check ahead, you don’t want to get locked in!
- If you’re bringing a picnic, I’d recommend bringing a plastic-bottomed picnic mat. We all know what London’s weather is like and you can’t guarantee that the ground will be dry, even if the sun’s out. No-one wants a soggy bottom.
Which is the Most Beautiful Park in London?
It’s tough, but St James’s Park is the most beautiful park in London thanks to its gorgeous location in front of Buckingham palace.
How Many Parks are in London?
Too many to count. However, there are eight Royal Parks in London – five of which are in Central London.
Which is the Biggest Park in London?
The biggest park in London is Richmond Park, followed by nearby Bushy Park, Regent’s Park and then Hyde Park.
Visiting London? Here are my Insider Tips.
First up, well before you go, you should start with two of my most popular London guides: The Best Time to Visit London and What to Pack for London.
Looking for a place to stay in London? Artist Residence is one of my favourite boutique hotels as is Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, but both are costly. Safestay Holland Park is a good budget option. Read my guide to the Best Places to Stay in London for more tips on where to stay.
Looking to explore? These are the London sightseeing spots you shouldn’t miss or you can delve deeper in my guide to the best things to do in London.
Short on time? Read my one day and two day London itineraries – complete with practical tips to help you ace your trip.
If you do want to visit some of the bigger attractions, consider whether buying the London Pass will work out cheaper for your trip – it’s often worth it if you plan to see a lot in the course of a few days to a week.
London Parks Map
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