Parks and gardens in London
London is one of the greenest cities in the world. Nearly 50% of Greater London is green space, so wherever you are, you don’t need to travel far to find a leafy break from the bustle of the capital. While London is famous for its grand royal parks, there are plenty of more intimate spaces to explore, too. From botanical gardens to charming gardens hidden from view, discover the best green spaces in London with this two-day itinerary.
Start the day by crossing the road to Hyde Park and walking approximately 10 minutes through the park to The Rose Garden.
The Rose Garden at Hyde Park
Make your way across Hyde Park’s luscious lawn and past the Serpentine to the southeast corner to discover a picturesque Rose Garden that’s blooming with flowers. Seasonal rose beds are planted twice a year, resulting in two colourful displays for spring and summer, although there’s always something to see year-round.
Exiting from the southeast side of Hyde Park, take a 10-minute drive to the next destination.
Chelsea Physic Garden
Built in 1673 as an apothecary’s garden, the Chelsea Physic Garden is a hidden space off the River Thames that’s home to around 5,000 medicinal, rare and historic plants and herbs. Sheltered by its walls, the garden creates a mild microclimate that’s ideal for growing such species, while glasshouses hold an intriguing variety of tropical plant life.
Next, take a 20-minute taxi ride to Kew Gardens.
Arguably the world’s most famous botanical garden, Kew Gardens is dedicated to conservation and cultivation. Tropical wonderlands await in giant glasshouses, there’s a magnificent treetop walkway, and hundreds of species of plants and flowers cover the 300-acre site. Visitors can even leave a lasting presence by adopting a seed or sponsoring a species from the Millennium Seed Bank.
Then, take a 15-minute drive to Richmond Park.
Richmond Park wears many hats: National Nature Reserve, Royal Park and Site of Special Scientific Interest. However, it’s best known for its herds of Red and Fallow Deer, which roam free in the giant park, as well as its woodlands filled with ancient trees. Visitors can enjoy long walks through the grounds or take part in sports such as cycling, horse riding, power kiting, and fishing.
From Richmond Park, it’s a 50-minute drive back into central London to The Sky Garden.
The Sky Garden
The highest public garden in the city, three storeys of landscaped greenery span the 35th – 37th floors of 20 Fenchurch Street. Beneath the glass dome roof, fragrant French lavender and bright South African bird of paradise bloom in a verdant jungle. Pop outside onto the al fresco terrace for 360° panoramas of London’s skyline, before settling down to some fine dining and cocktails at one of the Sky Garden’s bars and restaurants.
After dinner, take a 30-minute taxi ride back to the hotel.
Begin day two with a 15-minute walk to Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace Gardens
A 200-acre flowering oasis with a lake, The Buckingham Palace Garden is a private space that’s famously used for parties attended by the Royal Family and their guests. From late July to the end of September, the gardens open to the public for the Garden Highlights Tour, where visitors can walk in the footsteps of the Queen of England. Time your trip to witness the Changing of the Guard at 11am, a quintessential example of British pomp and ceremony.
Then, take a short walk to the adjacent St James’s Park.
St James’s Park
St James’s Park is a tranquil space in the heart of historic London, surrounded by famous sights such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster and Clarence House. Sightsee as you explore the luscious park and take a closer look at the lake to discover the pelicans – King Charles II received a pod of the magnificent birds as a gift from the Russian Ambassador almost 400 years ago.
To reach The Regent’s Park, it’s a 15-minute drive from here.
The Regent’s Park
With nearly 400 acres of gardens, sports facilities and even a zoo, Regent’s Park is a popular leisure hub with both locals and visitors to the city. Stroll down tree-lined avenues, browse more than 12,000 roses in the beautiful Queen Mary’s Gardens, rent a boat and row across the lake, or come face-to-face with hundreds of different animals at ZSL London Zoo.
Walk out of the north side of Regents Park and climb Primrose Hill.
One of the best viewpoints of London can be found at the top of Primrose Hill. Adjacent to Regent’s Park, the north London hill looks back over the city, offering an alternative view of the cityscape with the high-rises of the City on the horizon. It’s a popular spot for a picnic in the warmer months, and beloved by Londoners for its peaceful ambience and panoramic vistas.
Take a 15-minute drive to reach the next destination, Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola.
Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola
A little-known space in Hampstead Heath, Hampstead Pergola and Hill Gardens is a haven of Edwardian architecture and landscape gardening. The raised gardens, designed by Thomas Mawson, were formerly owned by Lord Leverhulme, who used the space to host glamourous parties. Today, visitors can enjoy sweeping views over the city from the wisteria-laden walkway.
To get back to the hotel, it’s a 25-minute drive.
All journey times are approximate and subject to variation.