London is one of the busiest cities in the world, but it’s not all grey streets, taxis, buses, Tube trains and pollution in the Big Smoke. If it were, travellers from all over the world wouldn’t come to the UK’s capital city in search of some of the most famous parks anywhere around the globe!
It’s surprising how much nature there is around you. If you book into one of the many London hotels near Paddington, you can visit these four incredible places not far from where you’re staying.
Hyde Park is one of London’s pride and joys. As a Royal Park, it receives care and attention from locals, groundskeepers and travellers all year round. It’s 350 acres of rolling grass and meadow, criss-crossed with paths and walkways so everyone who visits can get as much enjoyment out of the park as possible.
Of all the lovely sights in the park, the Rose Garden is especially noteworthy. Visitors walk through a shaded yew walkway and are taken out onto the grass where flowerbeds lie happily in shapes and whirls all over the lawn.
Top tip: In search of creatures great and small? Make sure you stop by the Hudson Memorial Bird Sanctuary to see robins, goldcrests, blackbirds and more.
Even though the Serpentine is in Hyde Park, it deserves its own entry just for how huge it is. This beautiful lake sits happily in the centre of Hyde Park, stocked with fish, ducks, swans and other animals.
It’s become popular for wild swimming, so if you hate the chlorine smell at your local pool, take a dip here. If you’re made of strong stuff, why not try your luck at the Peter Pan Cup? Since 1864, there’s a race every Christmas morning at 9am across the freezing water. The winner gets bragging rights and the trophy.
Top tip: Find the bridge the mute swans nest near to get the best pictures!
This Royal Park has even more royal pedigree than Hyde Park, which was created by Henry VIII. Kensington Gardens were once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, walked by kings and queens.
Not far from most London hotels near Paddington, stroll around the 275-acre park’s trees and grasslands, take a turn around the Round Pond, or stride along the charmingly named South Flower Walk.
Top tip: Fond of fruit and vegetables? Check out the Kensington Allotments.
The Italian Gardens are much smaller than the others on this list; technically they are a part of Kensington Gardens, but Prince Albert had them developed privately as a gift to Queen Victoria.
Right at the head of the Long River, which flows into the Serpentine, these gardens feature raised terraces as well as plenty of flowerbeds. They’re a quieter spot than the rest of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and just right for a lovely, romantic stroll.
Top tip: See if you can find Albert and Victoria’s initials on one of the statues around the garden!