NOT-SO CONCRETE JUNGLE
Most people are already familiar with the famous parks of London: Hyde Park, Primrose Hill, Regent’s Park etc… I am here to share a few alternative green spaces that can be reached easily via the London Underground that are free to explore!
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is home to the grounds of Cope Castle, a Jacobean mansion hidden within the 54 acres of Holland Park. The castle is now more commonly known as Holland House – did you know that you can even spend a night (or more) there?! With so much to do and explore inside the park, it’s an ideal spot for all ages. There is an adventure playground which blends in perfectly with the natural environment, providing entertainment for the little ones. For those looking to keep fit, the park also contains facilities to play various sports. There is a cafeteria on site in case all that fun leaves you feeling peckish. And for my favourite part of the grounds! Kyoto Garden, is Holland Park’s hidden gateway into the gardens of Japan. Japan is renowned for its spring time cherry blossoms and abundance of autumn colours. Take a stroll through this beautifully maintained piece of paradise and expect to be wowed by the water features and wildlife which inhabit the area, for a little while you’ll forget about the hustle and bustle that is London on the outskirts of the land.
Nearest surrounding underground stations are High Street Kensington, Holland Park and Notting Hill Gate
The Hill Garden and Pergola
If you’re looking for a unique spot of greenery in North London, look no further! The Hill Garden and Pergola can be found in the London Borough of Camden, and can also be easily accessed by walking through Golders Hill Park, in the neighbouring London Borough of Barnet. Personally, I made my visit to the Pergola Hill Gardens the end point to a day out in the area – beginning at Hampstead Heath Park, discovering the open air bathing ponds and taking in the views from Parliament hill before taking a pit stop at Golders Hill Park and Refreshment house to fuel up with some energy to reach the much anticipated goal.
Nestled within the grounds of Hampstead, The Hill Garden was once a beautifully landscaped private garden to a manor house which has now been demolished. The ruins of which are ordained with overgrown vines and flowers, making the Pergola a magical picturesque setting no matter what time of year you decide to visit.
Nearest surrounding underground stations are Golders Green and Hampstead
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Since holding the London Olympics in 2012, the grounds of the park have been open to the public. The entire space cries out adventure! Treat the kids to a day out in the designated playgrounds and with the infrequent heatwaves we sometimes receive over summer, they can cool down by frolicking through water fountains which sprout from the ground. There are a vast array or green spaces to explore featuring horticulture from around the world, as well as of British heritage. If you’d rather be by the water, take a walk along the hidden paths surrounding historic waterways. Still not quite close enough to the water for you? Cruise the canal on a boat ride or swan pedalo – or join the kids in the water fountains! For the ultimate adrenaline rush, head over to the Arcelor Mittal Orbit where you can either ride down the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide or abseil from the UK’s highest freefall site. Alternatively, watch, play or simply take a glimpse inside the iconic sports venues. Think you have to head back into the shopping centre quarters for some nourishment? Think again, the entire park is full of tasty food establishments, so whatever you fancy, is most likely somewhere within the vicinity.
Nearest surrounding stations are Stratford station, Stratford International station (DLR) and Hackney Wick (Overground)