Thursday, 9 April 2015

Outdoor life and recreation in London - parks, lakes and city farms

More to London than just its famous buildings

London is the cosmopolitan capital of the UK, and apart from famous buildings, such as Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, as well as places of interest like Trafalgar Square, the city has plenty of parkland offering inner city recreational areas.

Primrose Hill, London (Photo: yaili)

Hyde Park

One of London’s largest and most well-known parks is Hyde Park.  It is one of the eight Royal Parks of London and is famous for its Speakers’ Corner where lively outdoor public speaking and debate can take place.

Speakers’ Corner (Photo: Wally Gobetz)

Visitors to London often choose hotel accommodation for the length of their stay and there are plenty of hotels to choose from near Hyde Park.

Hyde Park has a large lake known as the Serpentine. It is often used for sporting activities including swimming. In 2012 it was the venue for marathon swimming events in the Olympics.

Ducks, geese and a heron on the Serpentine (Photo: Christine Rondeau)

The western half of this lake is called the Long Water. It is divided from Hyde Park by a bridge and is in Kensington Gardens.

The Long Water (Photo: Jon Colverson)

Regent’s Park

Regent’s Park is a very large park situated in the heart of London’s north-west.

Regent’s Park Lake (Photo: S Pakhrin)

Its 395 acres contain many attractions and amenities, including London Zoo, Queen Mary’s Gardens, Primrose Hill, Regent’s Park Lake, and the largest outdoor sports area in London.

St James’s Park

St James’s Park is another of the Royal Parks of London with its own lake.

Pelicans in St James’s Park (Photo: Garry Knight)

Here you can expect to see ducks, geese and even a resident colony of pelicans.

Richmond Park

Richmond Park is the largest of all the London parks and is situated in the south-west of the city.

Deer in Richmond Park (Photo: Sam Greenhaigh)

It is important for nature conservation and has hundreds of deer living in it, as well as a number of ponds and streams that attract wildlife.

Green Park

Green Park lives up to its name because this park in central London has no buildings and no lake, but plenty of grass, flowers, bushes and trees.

Baseball in Green Park (Photo: nikoretro)

Its peaceful atmosphere make it a great place to relax and very popular with sunbathers.

London’s Commons and Heaths

London also has a lot of commons and heaths that make great places for walking, having picnics, relaxing and enjoying nature.

Hampstead Heath (Photo: Francisco Antunes)

Clapham Common and Hampstead Heath are two of the most well-known.

London’s City Farms

London has many city farms that offer a slice of rural life without leaving the city.

Hackney City Farm  (Photo: Rosa G.)

These farms often offer volunteer programmes as well as catering for children.

The River Thames

A view of the River Thames (Photo: Berit Watkin)

Besides the parks, commons and city farms, London’s River Thames offers all sorts of outdoor activities, including boating, water sports, wildlife spotting or simply strolling on the riverbanks.

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