Did you know that there are 3,000 parks and green spaces in London? That’s 47% of the Greater London area! We all know how great Hyde Park, Regent’s, Holland or Greenwich Park are. What about the 2,996 that you don’t hear about so often, but are just as good, if not better?
We’ve compiled a list of our favourite underrated parks in London that you can enjoy on your Sunday afternoon stroll. All of these are wonderful safe havens from the noise and bustle of the big city giving you a chance to reconnect with nature and forget you’re in one of the busiest and biggest cities in the world.
1. Gladstone Park: Located in North West London, Dollis Hill (Jubilee line) Gladstone Park sits on a hill with beautiful views of London. It’s full of meadows, a duck pond, has plenty of sports facilities and beautiful avenues. The wildlife area and the walled garden are absolute must-sees.
2. Southwark Park: Opened in 1869, this is one of the oldest parks in London, it’s not the biggest but full of charm and hidden treasures. In one of the corners you can find the Caryatids, female sculptures that used to be a part of the Rotherhithe Town Hall, which was severely damaged during the blitz.
3. Crystal Palace: It is definitely the most quirky out of the parks on this list. Besides being extremely vast it is also a home to the first in the world collection of dinosaur sculptures from 1854 - Dinosaur Court is a treat especially for children. One of the main attractions in the park, besides the dinosaurs, is The Maze, which is literally a hedge maze that you most definitely can get lost in. It is also one of the largest in the country, and it’s been open since the 1870s. On top of all that, you can see the eerie remnants of what used to be the magnificent Crystal Palace that tragically burned down in 1936.
4. Hampstead Pergola & Hill Gardens: Next door from Hampstead Heath, the Pergola Hill & Gardens is truly the most romantic park we’ve ever been to. It was built in 1904 by Lord Leverhulme as an extension to his estate. It was meant to be a setting for lavish Edwardian parties and a garden to enjoy with his family and friends. Today, the Pergola gardens are charmingly rundown and overgrown with vines with a moody and eerie atmosphere.
5. Horniman Museum and Gardens: Opened in 1901, Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill have impressive displays of anthropology, natural history and musical instruments. The place is a particular treat for children who can play giant xylophones in the outside sound garden. It also houses Prehistoric flora such as a ginkgo tree, tree ferns, cycads and a monkey puzzle tree from the Mesozoic Era.
6. Chiswick House & Gardens: Its history makes it an absolute must-visit place in London. It is the birthplace of the English Landscape garden, which became a blueprint for public parks around the world, designed by William Kent in 1720s. The Chiswick House has a fantastic collection of paintings, and a beautiful conservatory.