Here’s a big list of London’s beautiful bodies of water.
The next time somebody tells you that London is all concrete and no nature, tut loudly and send them a link to this article. Or, better still, take them to one of these beautiful lakes within the city. That’ll show them. Quite literally.
1. Hampstead Heath
Famed across the world for it’s open-air swimming lakes, Hampstead Heath is the perfect place to go on a warm day – or a cold one if you’re brave and own a wetsuit.
2. Victoria Park
Boasting 86.18 hectares of open space, a boating lake and a Chinese pagoda, Victoria Park was voted the people’s favourite park back in 2014. (Yep, it’s still holding on to that one. I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been another competition since though, so it’s still technically the reigning champion).
3. Hyde Park
Go for a swim, take out a pedalo or row row row your boat gently down the, er, Serpentine. Hyde Park is also home to the UK’s first Solarshuttle, a seriously impressive craft that floats silently across the lake, powered only by the sunshine! Afterwards, enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the cafes in the park and head to the Serpentine Galleries for a bit of art and some contemporary architecture. You’ll find more info here.
4. Regent’s Park
Regent’s Park is brilliant for a lot of reasons, including its extensive sports facilities and its open air theatre – but mostly because it has a separate boating lake for children.
5. Battersea Park
The lake at Battersea Park has been a popular spot for postcard producers (what a job!) and this should come as no surprise. It’s surrounded by tons of flora and fauna, and its a beautiful spot for a stroll.
6. Greenwich Park
Ok so this one barely counts as a lake, but Greenwich Park is a fantastic place to visit so we thought we’d throw it into the mix. It’s home to The Royal Observatory and the Prime Meridian of the World (that’s the line that divides the eastern and western hemispheres of the earth), and it has amazing panoramic views of the city.
7. St James’s Park
St James’s Park lake is home to a huge collection of waterfowl, as well as the resident pelicans that were donated by a Russian Ambassador in 1664 (you can watch them being fed every day between 2.30 and 3pm). Also, thanks to its very central location, you can enjoy spectacular views of Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye and Horse Guards Parade from The Blue Bridge.
8. Alexandra Palace Boating Lake
Pick your vehicle (there’s dragons and racing cars and swans) and race your mates around the lake at Ally Pally. Afterwards, grab a drink or some food at the Lakeside Cafe and explore the beautiful surrounding parklands.
10. Crystal Palace Park
All that Crystal Palace Park is missing is a palace. Not only is there a beautiful fishing lake, but you can also get lost in the maze and spot the iconic Crystal Palace dinosaurs, which were co-erected by the founder of the Natural History Museum. It’s basically London’s very own Jurassic Park. You’ll find more info here. Nearest station: Crystal Palace or Penge West.
11. Hollow Ponds
Epping may be a little further out than many of the central London parks and lakes, but it’s definitely worth the journey. Encompassed by the beautiful woodlands of Epping Forest, the Hollow Ponds are a great place to hire a boat and admire the wildlife.
12. Ruislip Lido
Can you believe this picture was taken in actual London?! Ruislip Lido is a 60-acre lake surrounded by sandy beaches and Britain’s longest 12 inch gauge railway. You’re not allowed to actually swim in it anymore, but you can sunbathe and pretend you’re on a tropical island. You’ll find more info here.
13. Burgess Park
Burgess Park boasts some cracking views of the London skyline, and the lake is a beautiful spot to laze around in the summer. You’re allowed to fish if you purchase a permit, and BBQs are okay as long as you’re in one of the designated areas. You’ll find more info here.
14. Woodbury Wetlands
Woodberry Wetlands opened to the public back in 2016 for the first time in 180 years. Just a 10 minutes’ walk from Manor House tube station, it’s so hard to believe you’re this close to the hustle and bustle when you’re surrounded by so much wildlife. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a kingfisher darting across the water. Find out more info here.
15. Walthamstow Wetlands
A little further down the road, you’ll find Europe’s largest urban wetlands, that opened to the public towards the end of 2017. Offering 13 miles of path to explore and plenty of wildlife spot, Walthamstow Wetlands is worth the 15 minute journey out of the city. Find out more info here. Nearest station: Blackhorse Road.