Enjoy London's Green Spaces
If you're planning to visit the UK, you're probably heading to London to see the sights. But when you need a break, make the most of its splendid parks and wild areas for chilling out. Nearly half the city consists of green spaces, making it one of the leafiest cities of its size in the world. Check out the following assortment so that you can schedule them into your trip.
London's parks are famous for their beauty and character. Perhaps start with a saunter through one of the eight Royal Parks, such as Regent's Park, Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens. Stretch out on the rolling lawns between flowers and fountains, or picnic beside a lake and watch the ducks and swans. If you're in St James's Park, you can stand on the Blue Bridge and view Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards Parade and Big Ben across the lake. There are numerous other public parks, too, and no entry charges for any. Some host outdoor theaters and concerts, as well as provide excellent play areas for children.
You'll be amazed to find rugged heath and rustic fields in the middle of this busy city. Enjoy a ramble or bike ride over Hampstead Heath, or climb Parliament Hill for a panoramic view of the famous towers from its grassy top. Depending whereabouts in London you're staying, you may be nearer to one of the expansive commons, such as Wimbledon, Streatham, or Tooting commons, all of which are ideal for unwinding away from the crowds and traffic.
Some cities are like concrete jungles, but not London, with its eight million or so trees. There are pockets of natural woodland all over the city, preserved from centuries past. As for the trees, there's a vast range, attracting all sorts of birds. North of the River Thames, you might stroll through peaceful Highgate Wood or explore the wilderness of Hampstead Heath Extension. Cross the river, and you'll find tranquillity in the woods of Putney Common and other mini-forests beyond.
London's River Thames is famous, but for a verdant backwater, try one of the quiet canals. They have delightful paths alongside, fringed with green banks and elegant gardens. Regent's Canal and the Grand Union Canal are well-loved for their towpaths. The many houseboats and barges along the way are mostly decked with flowers, as are the waterside pubs and cafés. What better route could you take through the metropolis on a fine day?
London has lots of lakes, and where there's a lake, there is usually a luscious fringe of reeds and grass. Escape the noise and traffic by visiting one of these secluded havens. As with all London's public green spaces, they're free to walk around - though you may need to pay for a swim. Rest your eyes on lily pads at Clapton Pond or step into the countryside at King George V Reservoir. For a costed ticket, you can wander in the wilds at the London Wetland Centre, taking in the play area, gardens, and café. Check online for more options.
Wherever you go in this sprawling city, you'll see greenery. What's more, the area has been getting more sunshine lately, and the trend looks set to continue. But maybe take an umbrella anyway -- just in case!
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