Lockdown living has had us all craving the world outside our front doors – a simple stroll outdoors will never be taken for granted from here on out! When you think of London, it is not necessarily the beautiful outdoor spaces that first come to mind, though if you know where to look there’s plenty of peace and calm to be found in and around central London.
St. James’ Park
Surrounded by landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Whitehall, this Royal Park is one of central London’s finest examples of wonderful greenery. Home also to the tree-lined Mall and Horse Guards Parade, there are plenty of points of interest for all ages. Take the chance to stroll around the lake where if you time it just right, you might even be able to catch the pelicans being fed.
In the heart of Hyde Park lies The Serpentine, a small lake surrounded by large trees. Walking or cycling by the water is a marvellous opportunity to encounter nature in London perhaps only beaten by experiencing a paddle in the lake itself. Whilst you are in the area, The Serpentine Gallery is certainly not to be missed, having hosted exhibitions from emerging figures to the most recognised artists and architects of our time.
Once part of Hyde Park, this park is possibly calmer and more peaceful than its neighbour. At one end lies Kensington Palace containing its beautiful sunken garden with rotational flower displays in the spring and summer. Kids can enjoy the Diana Memorial Playground complete with wooden pirate ship inspired by the adventures of park hero, Peter Pan.
40 minutes from One Aldwych
Only a few miles out from central London, Hampstead Heath is home to some of the best landscapes in London and has been enjoyed by Londoners for over 200 years. Covering 320 hectares, this vast space has inspired writers such as C.S. Lewis and artists such as John Constable, why not let it inspire you? If you are further seeking inspiration then venture to Kenwood House at the edge of the Heath, where you will find breath-taking interiors and a world-class art collection, free for all to enjoy.
St Dunstan in the East
15 minutes from One Aldwych
Whilst not as large a space as some of the places within our list, this garden is a unique space within London. Although the church it sits within remains mostly as ruins, it can now be enjoyed as a public garden. This welcoming mix of shady trees and flowers offers a soothing respite from a busy day of sightseeing.
The former ground of Cope Castle is now the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s largest park full of woodland abundant with wildlife including even peacocks. The Kyoto Garden that lies within is a beautifully maintained Japanese garden complete with authentic plants, ornamentation, and koi carp. This is the perfect spot for tranquillity to be found in the hustle and bustle of city life.
If you are searching for views across London, look no further than Primrose Hill where the trees are kept low to allow the views to be fully appreciated. While perhaps best enjoyed on a sunny day with a picnic, year-round this calm spot within London can sometimes make you forget you really are in one of the busiest cities in the world.
This historic building and the gardens that surround it lie slightly further out of central London than some of the places already mentioned, however it should not be missed. With only a few decorative changes made over the year it is a rare survival of 17th century luxury and taste where one can forget the everyday worries of the modern world within its extensive garden.