14 best parks in London

Explore the capital's delightful green spaces and parks, from boating in Hyde Park to deer-spotting in the countryside of Richmond Park.
A deer in between trees at Richmond Park in London.
Spot deer on a visit to Richmond Park in London. © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid.

Discover incredible London wildlife, beautifully designed gardens and plenty of space for summer picnics and refreshing winter walks in London's best parks.

1. Hyde Park

Take a leisurely stroll, kick back in a deckchair, zip around on a bicycle, row a boat or swim in the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Whichever way you choose to explore this huge and centrally located park, there's plenty to see and do, with thousands of trees, a lake, a meadow, rose gardens and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Head to Speakers’ Corner on a Sunday morning for lively public speeches and debate.

2. Regent's Park

Spectators watch a theatre performance at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park in central London.
Catch a performance at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park. © David Jensen.

Stop and smell the roses in the beautiful gardens at Regent’s Park. Renowned architect John Nash designed the park in the 1810s, and it spans 197 hectares (487 acres). Alongside stunning formal gardens, this London park has a boating lake, playgrounds and one of the largest outdoor sports areas in central London. The Open Air Theatre stages performances of plays, comedies and musicals.

3. Richmond Park

Admire hundreds of free-roaming deer, ancient trees and rare wildflower species at beautiful Richmond Park in south-west London. Covering 1,012 hectares (2,500 acres), this Royal Park boasts stunning views from the top of the hill that are protected by law. Seek out the Isabella Plantation, hidden within the park grounds, to capture the Instagram-ready evergreen Japanese azaleas.

4. St James's Park

Channel your inner royal as you ramble through St James's Park. Surrounded by three royal palaces, including Buckingham Palace, it's also next to Horse Guards Parade and the tree-lined Mall. Visit the lake at 2.30pm to see the famous pelicans being fed fresh fish, before stopping off for a hot drink at St James’s Cafe.

5. Victoria Park

Head to Victoria Park, or "Vicky Park" if you ask an east London local, to explore the canals, ponds and a pavilion in one of the capital's oldest public parks. The large open green spaces play host to big music festivals in the summer, and there are plenty of areas for sport, picnics and relaxing.

6. Greenwich Park

Man sitting on a bench in Greenwich Park with the Royal Observatory in the distance on a sunny day.
Stroll the grounds of Greenwich Park and visit the Royal Observatory. © Visit Greenwich.
Stop off in Greenwich Park for breathtaking views of the river Thames and Canary Wharf. The Prime Meridian Line runs through the park and is marked on the grounds of the Royal Observatory. Pretty flower and herb gardens dot the grounds of this south-east London park, and there’s also a kids’ playground with a maritime theme.

7. Hampstead Heath

Escape the hustle and bustle of central London a mere four miles (6.5km) north in Hampstead Heath. Climb to the top of Parliament Hill for magnificent views or admire the wisteria in the romantic flower and vine-covered walkways of the abandoned Pergola and The Hill Garden. Cool off with a dip in one of the heath's natural bathing ponds or book a slot at Parliament Hill Lido, some of London's best outdoor swimming spots

8. Kensington Gardens

Albert Memorial at Kensington Gardens in London surrounded by trees with autumn foliage.
Enjoy the beautiful grounds of Kensington Gardens. © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid.

Take a stroll through the gorgeous Kensington Gardens, a Royal Park that's home to Kensington Palace, the Albert Memorial, the Peter Pan statue, beautiful flowers, green grass for picnics and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground.

9. Clapham Common

Jog around Clapham Common, one of the city's largest flat open spaces, or simply relax in the sun by one of the three ponds. Check out the skatepark, cosy pubs, tennis courts, grass pitches and bandstand that keep south Londoners entertained.

10. Lee Valley Regional Park

Cycle along the paths or take a stroll in Lee Valley Regional Park. Stretching 26 miles (42km) along east London’s river Lea, past Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and up to Ware in Hertfordshire, this huge park has plenty of opportunity to spot wildlife, relax or play. Active types will love the range of sports on offer here, including white water rafting, cycling and ice skating. There’s also a farm and a horse-riding centre.

11. Battersea Park

Talk to the animals at the Battersea Children's Zoo or walk along the grand riverside promenade in Battersea Park. Take in the magnificent fountains, admire the Peace Pagoda and rent boats on the lake in the summer. This huge south London park boasts plenty of play areas, plus the four-storey Pump House Gallery. Take in the views from the high rope treetop trail at Go Ape Battersea.

12. Bushy Park

Stroll down Chestnut Avenue to Hampton Court Palace or see trees full of mistletoe in south-west London’s Bushy Park, the second largest of the city’s Royal Parks. You can also find the Baroque-style Upper Lodge Water Gardens and the 17th-century Diana Fountain in these historic grounds.

13. Crystal Palace Park

Victorian-era dinosaur sculptures surrounded by greenery in Crystal Palace Park in London.
The dinosaur sculptures are a beloved feature of Crystal Palace Park. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Discover Victorian-era dinosaur statues, get lost in one of the UK's largest mazes, or simply explore the many ponds and green spaces that Crystal Palace Park has to offer its visitors. This south London park plays host to gigs and festivals in the summer months.

14. Danson Park

Sail around the lake or take the kids to the waterpark for a splash of fun at Danson Park in south-east London. This green space is a great family destination, with a peaceful rock garden, boating lake and the Grade I-listed Danson House.

Looking for more outdoor inspiration around the capital? Check out this extensive list of green spaces in London, the best London picnic areas and 101 things to do outdoors across the capital. The city has activities to enjoy, including sporting events, outdoor theatre and entertainment and outdoor cinemas.

If you're exploring the capital with children, discover the 101 best things to with kids in London