Some of these green spaces are downright magical.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID-19, some of these spaces are currently closed to the public. We’ve done our best to provide up-to-date information, but please always check before you travel as things are liable to change.
The next time someone tries to tell you that London is a concrete jungle, hit ’em with this knowledge bomb: 40% of the city, or 35,000 acres, is in fact dedicated to parks and green spaces. They make our fair city one of the greenest capitals in the world, and we’ve been on the hunt for the most picturesque spots in the city… (Featured image: Viv Lynch, Flickr)
1. Alexandra Park
Alexandra Park is an award-winning park in north London, and is best known as the home of Alexandra Palace. The winding paths and views over the city mean this place is guaranteed to be beautiful, whatever the weather—particularly if you’re lucky enough to catch the sun rising or setting.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Alexandra Palace is currently closed, but the park remains open to the public, with limited support services. Dogs must be kept on leads. For the latest information, head to the Alexandra Palace website.
2. Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington
This garden cemetery is one of seven Victorian examples in London, collectively known as ‘the magnificent seven’. It’s also a woodland memorial park and a local Nature Reserve. You can even do a guided walk or take a woodwork course! More info here.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Abney Park is open, but people must respect social distancing rules. Stay two metres apart and don’t gather in groups.
3. Culpeper Community Garden, Islington
A peaceful oasis amongst the buzz and bustle of the city, the Culpeper Community Garden is managed by and for the local people. It’s open seven days a week and is just a short walk from Angel station.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Culpeper Community Garden is currently closed to the public. For the latest information, head to their website.
4. Hill Gardens and Pergola, Hampstead
This always features on our lists, but how can you blame us? The Hill Gardens began life as a Victorian folly, but have since become London’s very own fairytale location. Honestly, it’s a beaut.
COVID-19 UPDATE: The Hill Garden and Pergola is currently closed to the public. For the latest information, head to the City of London website.
5. Isabella Plantation, Richmond
Full of rare and unusual trees and shrubs, the Isabella Plantation is a beautiful spot set in the depths of Richmond Park. It’s a green space for most of the year, but in April & May, the azaleas bloom and Isabella Plantation becomes a perfect pink paradise.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Isabella Plantation is currently closed to the public. For the latest information, head to their website.
6. Primrose Hill
Always a favourite in our books, Primrose Hill is great for smashing views of the city. Meanwhile, wintertime sees it looking gorgeous under a blanket of frost.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Primrose Hill Park is open, but people must respect social distancing rules. For the latest information, head to the Royal Parks website.
7. Ham House and Gardens, Twickenham
Ham House is a dreamy place to go if you want to escape the inner city for a while. Explore magical gardens and immerse yourself in the 17th Century.
COVID-19 UPDATE: The gardens at Ham House have reopened to the public, but you’ll need to book your visit in advance. For more information and to book, head to the National Trust website.
8. Kyoto Garden, Kensington
The charming Kyoto Garden is nestled inside Kensington’s Holland Park and even features a roaming muster of peacocks (yes, that is the collective noun for a group of peacocks, just in case you were wondering). It’s an unexpected slice of Japanese zen, originally built to celebrate the 1992 Japan Festival in London.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Holland Park/Kyoto Garden is currently open to the public, but people must respect social distancing rules. For the latest information, head to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea website.
9. Red Cross Garden, Southwark
Truly in the heart of the city, Red Cross Garden is part of the Bankside Open Spaces Trust. You can stare out at the city from the tranquility of the garden, which was restored to its original Victorian layout back in 2005.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Red Cross Garden looks to be open, but please respect social distancing rules.
10. The Skip Garden (now The Story Garden), King’s Cross
They call it “an urban garden with a twist”; a blooming oasis full of wild flowers, herbs, vegetables, a tranquil orchard and even a small oak forest. Everything is made with recycled materials, and it’s run entirely by the hands of the community. The garden—which is currently hidden behind the British Library after a recent move—hosts a number of workshops and special events throughout the year.
COVID-19 UPDATE: The Story Garden is currently closed to the public. For the latest information, head to the King’s Cross website.
11. St James’s Park
Thanks to this park’s central location, you can enjoy fab views of Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye and Horse Guards Parade from The Blue Bridge. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, including the park’s famous pelicans.
COVID-19 UPDATE: St James’s Park is currently open, but people must respect social distancing rules. Toilet facilities are limited. For the latest information, head to the Royal Parks website.
12. Chiswick House and Gardens
Blessed with hidden pathways and a beautiful array of flowers, Chiswick Gardens has inspired some of the most iconic parks and gardens, including Blenheim Palace and New York’s Central Park. Each January, they host the Magical Lantern Festival, an incredible display of light and colour.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Chiswick House is currently closed, but the park remains open to the public. For the latest information, head to the Chiswick House and Gardens website.
13. Dalston Curve Garden
Built on an old railway line, this garden is yet another community endeavour—filled with trees, shrubs, butterfly bushes and raised beds for growing food!
COVID-19 UPDATE: Dalston Eastern Curve Garden is currently closed to the public. For the latest information, head to their website.
14. Crossrail Place Roof Garden, Canary Wharf
Gardens emerge in the unlikeliest of places, including this tropical beauty atop a railway station. Crossrail hasn’t quite reached Canary Wharf yet, but this stunning spot is open for business—as is the adjacent street food hall!
COVID-19 UPDATE: Crossrail Place Roof Garden is open 8am-9pm daily.
15. St Dunstan-in-the-East, City of London
The bombed-out ruins of this church have been made even more beautiful by trailing vines, flowerbeds, and trees providing shade. Popular with both city workers on lunch, and the lifestyle blogging crowd—in fact, it might be the only time they overlap…
COVID-19 UPDATE: St Dunstan-in-the-East is currently open to the public.
Not enough greenery for you? Good thing we’ve also rounded up 111 of London’s best parks and gardens!
Also published on Medium.