Journey to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, England

London’s 17 famous parks

Hyde Park view

London, a modern urban city with countless austere buildings, has surprisingly many natural areas to relax in. The city’s charming parks always stay green and invite for measured walks and picnics.

We will tell you about five of the largest and most interesting gardens in the capital. Some of them are very convenient to visit on the way, exploring the city and the sights on a sightseeing bus, the ticket to which can be purchased at this link.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park

Hyde Park is 2.5 km long and 1.8 km wide and is considered one of the largest royal parks in the city in west-central London. Ordinary residents could not get here until the mid-19th century. And nowadays Hyde Park is a traditional place of political rallies, celebrations and festivities.

Hyde Park

In the lower corner of the green belt is London’s oldest boating lake, now home to ducks, chongs and swans. The park has plenty of paths and areas for skaters, bikers and riders. There’s a fountain at the north gate that’s always crowded on hot days. In the winter, Hyde Park has merry-go-rounds and rides, and the park becomes a center for holiday cheer, with its own Santa Claus.

Opening hours are from 05:00 to 00:00.

The nearest subway stations are Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge.

Regent’s Park

Regent's Park

Regent’s Park is a favorite place for Londoners northwest of the center. Like Hyde Park, Regent’s Park was the hunting ground of Henry VIII and only became public in 1845. You’ll find the Open Air Theatre and the famous London Zoo here.

Regent's Park

Regent’s is home to a variety of music, food, and boat festivals. All summer on Sundays there are free performances by local bands, jazz big bands, and choirs – entertainment perfect for your picnics and walks. Scattered throughout the park are 30,000 rose gardens, tennis courts, ice cream booths and cafes. Hanover Gate has a tree house near the playground, which makes Regent’s especially appealing to younger visitors.

Opening hours are from 05:00 to 21:00.

The nearest metro stations are Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street and Baker Street.

Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath is a wild, rustic park in the north of the city. In stark contrast to the city’s central parks with their manicured lawns and manicured flower beds. The 320-hectare area features woods, playgrounds, ponds, and meadows. In the hot summertime, you can take a dip in the park’s pools or simply take a walk among the wilds.

Hampstead Heath

One of the hillsides on which this park is located offers a spectacular view of central London.

The most popular activities taking place in this suburban space are of an informative naturalistic nature: animal habitats, food chains, tree species, and historical scenery of the area. Summer excursions are combined with swimming in the pond, warm-ups, and picnics.

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“Hampstead Badlands. Bat Walk” (9/10/2019);

“Hampstead Heath. Hidden Corners” (9/14/2019);

“Autumn Tree” (10/5/2009);

“Hampstead Heath. Historic Landscape” (11/9/2019).

Hours of operation: 24 hours a day.

Nearest metro station: Hampstead.

Victoria Park

Victoria Park

Victoria Park is an eastern royal park, adored by children for its interesting playgrounds for creative games. It has lots of animals – deer, Scottish partridges, Canada geese, squirrels. There is a cafe with delicious local food and tea by the lake. Victoria Park is a key link in the “green corridor” that extends from the River Thames at Limehouse, along the Regents Canal, Mile End Park and the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park next door. In 2018, it reaffirmed its right to be crowned the nation’s favorite park, taking first place in the People’s Choice category.

Hours of operation: from 07:00 until dark.

Nearest subway station: Mile End.

St. James’s Park.

St. James

St James’s Park is another central royal park next door to Green Park. It offers excellent views of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Whitehall. You can see these world-famous sites and stroll through the shady gardens on the tour bus route. Book tickets for a tour of London here.

St. James Park. Pelicans

One of the attractions of St. James Park are pelicans, which in the 17th century were presented to Charles II by the Russian ambassador. They are fed daily from 14:30 to 15:00, but they don’t mind catching a couple of pigeons for lunch themselves. The rest of the time, the pelicans like to sit on benches next to visitors. On the south side of the park is the Museum of the Guard, to the east is the Museum of the Cavalry.

Opening hours are from 05:00 to 00:00.

The nearest subway station is St. James’s Park Station.

Remember that Londoners take great care with its green spaces and wildlife and don’t tolerate anyone disrespectful of nature. Look out for forbidding signs and prohibition.

Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens is a royal park adjacent to Hyde Park. Named after the palace of the same name (Kensington Palace), known mainly because Princess Diana lived here. Don’t be lazy to find Henry Moore Arch, which, like a frame, frames Kensington Palace – it’s a great place for a photo. From there, walk to the Italian Gardens with fountains, sculptures and water lilies. Families with kids will enjoy watching and feeding the parrots near the Peter Pan statue, and playing in the Princess Diana Memorial Playground with the pirate ship and magic oak. And don’t forget to admire the Prince Albert Memorial, a symbol of Queen Victoria’s love for her husband Prince Albert.

Getting there: Lancaster Gate, Queensway or High Street Kensington tube stations.

Opening times are from 05:00 to 19:00.

Holland Park

Holland Park

You’ll find something you won’t find in any of London’s other parks: peacocks, Kyoto Garden and a modern Belvedere in a 17th-century ballroom. If you’re lucky, you might see a peacock unfurl its luxuriant tail in front of you or see herons fishing. In summer, don’t miss the open-air opera nights, with a glass of champagne and snuggled up in a plaid on particularly cold days. If you come with children, play in the playground, fool around with the chessmen in the flower garden, feed the birds and squirrels. On your way out it is useful to visit the modern Design Museum.

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Getting there: Underground station Holland Park or buses 9 and 10 from central London.

The park opens at 07:30 and closes 30 minutes before sunset.

Green Park

Green Park

This royal park is famous for having nothing remarkable in it: no lake, no fountains, no gardens, no playgrounds, no statues, no buildings. But don’t be in a hurry to give up on it. You’ll appreciate green lawns in the shade of century-old trees, in peace and quiet, after shopping in nearby Mayfair and Piccadilly Street. It’s also very convenient to walk through the Green Park to the Queen’s residence, Buckingham Palace. And on the north side of the park local artists sell their works, which will remind you of London for a long time.

Getting there: Green Park or Hyde Park Corner tube stations.

Opening hours: 05:00 to 00:00.

Waterlow Park.

Waterloo Park

Whether it’s wildlife, birds, or quiet and not-so-English you want to watch, head to this “garden made for those who don’t have a garden.” In spring it will delight you with cherry, pear, plum, and apple trees in bloom, and in summer – treat you to fruits. The park is also known for its neighbor – Highgate Cemetery. It is divided into two parts. The western – the oldest part, where the entrance only with a guide (in some places the earth really falls there) and the most famous Victorian mausoleums. In the eastern part is the tomb of Karl Marx. Those who are afraid of vampires shouldn’t go there!

How to get there: Archway subway station.

The park is open from dawn to dusk and the cemetery is open from 10:00 to 17:00.

Finsbury Park

Finsbury Park

The park is best known for its sports fields, play area for children and music festivals. Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Jimi Hendrix and the Sex Pistols have all performed here. So be sure to check the schedule if you don’t want to miss a concert that will go down in history. Those who like peace and quiet should definitely go to Mackenzie Gardens.

Getting there: Underground stations at Finsbury Park and Manor House.

Open 24 hours a day.

Battersea Park

Battersea Park

Double the fun in this park with views across the River Thames from artificial ponds and fountains to one of London’s most romantic bridges, Prince Albert Bridge. Explore all 6 of its gardens, including the classic English and subtropical gardens. Watch monks in the Buddhist Pagoda or be an uninvited guest at a wedding. And for the extreme, there is no way to get past the rope town of Go Ape, where you can climb above the treetops.

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How to get there: Take a train from Victoria Station to Battersea Park Station or the same name tube station.

Open from 08:00 until dusk.

Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park

Take a whole day to explore this park and its surrounding area. Enjoy panoramic views over London and a trip to the Zero Meridian on two hemispheres at the same time, then visit the Royal Observatory and take a trip into space. Come back down to earth and go to the reindeer – children will especially enjoy this. Then, go down or, better yet, go tumbling down the hill and take in the sights of Greenwich Village. Waste time at the National Maritime Museum, Chapel and the Painted Hall at Old Royal Naval College. End your walk at the Cutty Sark Clipper Museum, where you can walk under the Thames via a pedestrian tunnel.

How to get there: Greenwich DLR and Cutty Sark DLR stations or by boat from any London pier.

Open from 06:00 to 19:00.

Crystal Palace Park

Crystal Palace Park

In English the name of the park means “Crystal Palace”. It was actually here until 1935 after being moved from Hyde Park. Learn the history of this great structure and related events at a local museum. But that’s not all! Many people have heard of “Jurassic Park.” Would you like to visit it?

Pterodactyls, crocodiles, amphibians and mammals – 30 life-sized dinosaurs appeared here during the Victorian era. Beware. They hide in the water and bushes. Be sure to use the free audio guide for your phone and learn how and why the first attempt was made to reproduce extinct animals from fossils. Children, and adults, will also enjoy playing hide-and-seek in the maze and getting to know the animals at the local farm.

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How to get there: Crystal Palace subway station.

Opening hours: 07:30-20:30 (weekdays), 09:00-20:30 (Saturday, Sunday).

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

Set apart from other parks in London, Kew Gardens has a vibrant collection of outdoor, greenhouse and glasshouse plants. Soak up the tropical humidity at Palm House, the orchid festival at the Princess of Wales Conservatory in February, Davies Alpine House and Waterlily House. Be sure to take the treetop walkway to see the Great Chinese Pagoda, Kew Palace, and Japanese Gate. And from November to January Kew is dressed in Christmas lights and invites everyone to celebrate the end of the year together.

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Admission is charged: £18 adults and £6 children. You can buy here.

Address: Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AE.

How to get there: subway or tube stations at Kew Gardens and Richmond.

Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Richmond Park.

Richmond Park

National nature reserve in the heart of London. You can take in the city like the palm of your hand, with St Paul’s Cathedral all under national protection. See untouched nature in its pristine state: apart from Isabella Plantation, almost everything grows wild here. Load up your camera and go ahead, take pictures of deer and fallow deer, strolling along well-trodden paths. Spare no time and walk to the Royal Ballet School, where Sergey Polunin studied. If you’re lucky and it’s not too late, pop into the Georgian Pembroke Lodge, where you can see the Thames Valley, beloved by William Turner.

Getting there: Richmond subway and train stations.

Opening hours: For pedestrians twenty-four hours a day, except November and February (07:30-20:00). For cars 07:00 (summer), 07:30 (winter) until sunset.

Syon Park.

Zion Park

If you’re in England for a short time and can’t get around the country, don’t feel bad. This park is your chance to see a traditional country estate just a half-hour drive from central London. Head straight out to explore Syon House, the ancient mansion of the Dukes of Northumberland, where you’ll get an idea of the furnishings and life of its inhabitants. In November the park is open for the Enchanted Forest light show, which winds its way around the lake to the Orangery.

Admission costs from £8 adults and £4.50 for children.

How to get there: Take bus 237 from Shepherd’s Bush Metro Station to Hounslow or the train from Waterloo.

The park is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. from mid-March through the end of October.

Gunnersbury Park.

Gunnersbury Park

Sadly, the balls and social events organized by the Rothschild family, who owned this park, have died out. Their residence is now a museum. It will be interesting to look at carriages, carriages, clothes and utensils of bygone eras, as well as Chinese armorial china and medieval ceramics. Children will love the collection of toys. Also try to find artificial ruins, popular in the Victorian era, and Princess Amalia’s Bathing House. There are music and cultural events and historical reenactments in the park all the time – keep an eye on the schedule.

Getting there: Underground station Acton Town.

Open from 07:00 until sunset.

London is one of the greenest capitals in the world. And you don’t just love parks, heathland and gardens – you worship them. Don’t try to cover everything – to see most of London’s parks, you have to live here.

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Kensington Gardens in London

London’s Kensington Gardens were once part of the famous Hyde Park, but were separated from it by Queen Christina in 1723. They don’t have as rich a history as other Royal Parks, but at least part of it is known to many visitors to the United Kingdom.

After all, this is where the famous and beloved princess lived in Kensington Palace in the park. With her name is associated a lot of attractions of the gardens.

The history of Kensington Gardens.

Once upon a time the place of the modern ennobled park was a dense forest full of animals and bandits, where British monarchs loved to hunt.

Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens

And on its outskirts was crowded a small village called Kensington, which gave the name to the future famous park and London district. In 1689, William III, who suffered from a lung disease, decided to buy a house in this environmentally friendly neighborhood with healthy air.

Kensington Gardens

He bought a small house on the edge of the woods (old Hyde Park) and invited the famous architect Christopher Wren to rebuild it into a palace. And later he fenced off part of the park to make a court garden in the French style.

Queen Mary II started landscaping around the palace, but it changed dramatically under Queen Caroline, wife of George II. It was she who created the modern look of Kensington Gardens. Hyde Park lost another part of the territory, a round pond was dug, alleys in the English style were lined and an artificial lake was created that became the border of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. And since 1728 the appearance of the gardens has not changed.

Kensington Gardens

The “secret garden” at Kensington Palace.

Kensington Palace of William III was still considered one of the principal residences of the monarchs by then, until Queen Victoria moved the court to Buckingham Palace. Even after leaving Kensington, however, she continued to improve the park. Beautiful Italian Gardens with stone statues, fountains and carved urns were built.

Kensington Park

A memorial to Prince Albert.

And after the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert, the queen ordered a giant gilded memorial to be erected in the southern part of the park.

Kensington Gardens: sights

The main attraction of the park is undoubtedly Kensington Palace. This elegant building, surrounded by flowerbeds, is the origin of modern Kensington Park. Princess Diana lived here until her death. And now the palace belongs to the young family of the British monarchy – Prince William and the Duchess Kate Middleton.

Kensington Gardens has many monuments and sculptures: Henry Moore’s Arch, Henning Speke’s Belisk, “Man on Horseback” by George Watts, “Elven Oak” where elves, fairies and dwarfs live… There’s also an interesting sculpture in the park – a monument to Peter Pan.

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