Welcome to the ultimate guide to London's best parks and gardens for families! From hidden oases to iconic landmarks, the city is brimming with green spaces that offer something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a peaceful picnic spot, a place to tire out the little ones, or simply some fresh air and exercise, London has got you covered. As Central Londoners, the parks are our salvation for green space, and we spend almost every weekend in at least one park during Spring, Summer and Autumn. So grab your picnic blanket and let's explore the top picks for family-friendly parks and gardens in the city.
Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
The magnificent Hyde Park, one of London's largest and most famous green spaces. With over 350 acres of open land, the park is the perfect place for a family day out.
Take a stroll through the Serpentine Gallery, where contemporary art exhibitions are housed, or rent a paddleboat and explore the lake. Children will love the park's many playgrounds, including the Diana Memorial Playground, with its Peter Pan-themed play area and pirate ship. And don't miss the Speakers' Corner, where you can hear passionate speeches and debates on all kinds of topics.
For a more tranquil experience, head to Kew Gardens, one of London's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The botanical gardens are home to over 50,000 plants and trees, including rare and exotic species from around the world.
Families can take a guided tour, explore the treetop walkway for stunning views of the gardens, or visit the iconic Palm House, a Victorian glasshouse that houses exotic plants and tropical rainforest. Children will love the interactive Children's Garden, with its sandpit, splash pool, and giant treehouse.
Another must-visit park is Regents Park, located in the heart of the city. The park is home to the famous London Zoo, where families can see over 750 species of animals, including lions, tigers, and gorillas.
Children will also love the playgrounds and boating lake, while adults can relax in the tranquil Queen Mary's Gardens. Families can take a stroll through the Open Air Theatre which hosts amazing theatre productions during Summer. The park is also home to the Royal Botanic Society's Gardens, which is a peaceful oasis of rare plants and flowers.
St. James's Park
Located in the heart of London, St. James's Park is one of the city's most iconic green spaces. The park features a stunning lake, which is home to a variety of waterfowl and pelicans. Families can enjoy a picnic on the lawn or take a stroll through the park's many walking paths. The park is also home to the Queen's official residence, Buckingham Palace, and families can watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony which takes place here daily.
If you're looking for a more hidden gem, head to the beautiful Richmond Park. The park is the largest Royal Park in London and is home to over 600 deer, making it a popular spot for wildlife enthusiasts.
Explore the many walking and cycling paths, or simply relax and take in the stunning views of the city skyline. Children will love the playgrounds and the Isabella Plantation, a stunning ornamental woodland garden with a large pond and a variety of flora and fauna.
Last but not least is Greenwich Park, one of the city's oldest Royal Parks. The park offers breathtaking views of the River Thames and the city skyline, and is home to the Royal Observatory and the Greenwich Meridian Line.
Children will love the playgrounds and the park's many events and festivals, including the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival and the Greenwich Music Time festival.
London's parks and gardens offer a wide range of experiences for families, from peaceful walks to exciting adventures. Whether you're looking for a serene picnic spot or an action-packed day out, there's a park for everyone. So grab your family, pack a picnic, and explore the city's stunning green spaces. You won't be disappointed.
The Kensington Diary