London is a bustling city, but for all its urban landscapes there are actually a surprising number of parks and green spaces to enjoy. When you need to get away from the noise and the hustle and bustle of city life, London provides a beautiful garden escape – you just need to know where to find them.
Of course you would have already heard about the main players – London’s most well known parks include Regent’s Park, Hyde Park and St James’ Park. With summer just around the corner, these hotspots are bound to get extremely busy on a warm day so we recommend scouting out some hidden gems. If you have a day off from studying and want to explore some of the capital’s best slices of English countryside, take a look at these lesser known parks ideal for relaxing and soaking up the sun.
1. Clapham Common
Everyone in Clapham knows about this beautiful common ground, but if you live in another area of London you may not have made the journey to check it out. It’s one of the city’s largest flat open spaces and boasts tennis courts, ponds and a skate park. It’s definitely worth a visit in the summer months.
2. Hampstead Heath
Just four miles from central London, the top of Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath offers stunning views. This beautiful spot of grass and dirt paths is ideal for a picnic or watching the sun set over the city landscape. Hampstead Heath offers a wild side to London, as unlike the city’s other parks it is not landscaped and remains untouched by gardeners.
3. The Phoenix Garden
This garden may be small but what it lacks in size it makes up for in biodiversity. Nestled between Convent Garden and Charing Cross Road, this community garden is a secret haven in one of the busiest parts of the city. It also receives no council funding so if you enjoy the garden you can make a donation to keep it running.
4. Postman’s Park
Close to St Paul’s Cathedral you’ll find the elusive Postman’s Park, which is apparently a favourite spot for the post workers stationed nearby. It’s rare to find such beauty in a such a busy part of the city, making this park a great location for a lunch break.
5. Abney Park
If you’d prefer a bit of history to delve into while enjoying a summer stroll, head to Abney Park in Stoke Newington. It’s a local nature reserve and woodland memorial park, offering an oasis with a fascinating history. Over 200,000 people are buried in the cemetery at Abney Park and you can find out more about their interesting stories at the chapel and visitors centre.
If you’re an international student in London looking for free or cheap things to do, why not start at the city’s hidden parks?