Struggling in under that glorious morning scented armpit on the underground or clinging onto the hand of your four year old as the crowds push past, thoughts of London’s beauty are probably far from your mind. But, when you breathe a sigh of relief in your (often teeny) back garden, your local park, or on a day trip to one of the many outdoor attractions, have you ever thought, “London should be declared the world’s first urban national park!” No, neither did we – but now you mention it, it seems like a rather fabulous idea!
The campaign is under way and the facts speak for themselves: 60 percent of London is green space and water, and in turn home to 1,500 species of flowering plant and 30 species of birds. There are 142 nature reserves and at least 3.8 million private gardens. Add on to these amazing facts the 300 languages spoken, the 170 museums available, four UNESCO World Heritage sites and one of Britain’s National Trails and suddenly, you may feel like there is just not enough time to appreciate this rather green city of ours. If this idea ignites the London Love in you and you want to be part of the national park story – take a look here: http://www.greaterlondonnationalpark.org.uk/
Seemingly appropriate timing for the start of summer and the May half term we are casting a grateful nod towards the giant yellow orb in the sky and have found a few pieces of the jigsaw that make up London’s claim to be the world’s first urban national park :
1. Richmond Park – Londons largest Royal Park with big open spaces and wild animals and bike hire as well – more details
2. Finsbury Park – busy and popular park with people of all ages – recently landscaped and also includes a skate park and other sports facilities – more details
3. Hampstead Heath – With the Parliament Hill adventure playground, outdoor lido and a Band Stand with live music in the summer months. A safe bet for a days picnic. – more details
4. Victoria Park – Loveley park with a brilliant new play area with massive slides, fountains and great skate park more details
5. Hyde Park – With Riding Stables and the wonderful Princess Diana Memorial Playground this is an oasis of fun in the heart of London. A great place for a picnic lunch if visiting any of the West End museums. more details
6. London Wetland Centre – 105 acre wildlife reserve and two adventure playgrounds, a great place to educate your kids and wear them out!! – more details
7. Horniman Museum and Gardens – Stunning gardens that are a lovely place to take a break when visiting one of London’s lesser known but brilliant museum. more details
8. Hampton Court Palace Park and Gardens – Beautiful gardens and the world famous maze that will keep the kids busy. more details
9. Battersea Park – With a zoo next door and bike hire the lovely park also hosts a number of family activities throughout the year. more details
10. Coram’s Fields – The little secret in the heart of London. Lovely family friendly space with playground and and various other activities. more details
These are just the tip of one huge ice berg for outdoor spaces in London – there are over 1000!! – see a full list here for more ideas. If we have missed any corkers, please let us know so we can add them to the site. Happy half term and beyond!