Usually, this is the time of year when families would be pondering ideas for some great days out in preparation for the last day of the school term and the six week summer holidays ahead of them. Unusually, there is a lockdown on and so this year’s summer of fun will need to include as many outdoor activities as possible where families can keep to the 2 metre social distance recommendations. Why not consider adding London’s Royal Parks to your plans. They offer everything you need for a day out and are guaranteed to wear the little ones out. We take a closer look at two of the eight Royal Parks in London – one is the biggest and the other is the oldest.
What are the eight Royal Parks in London?
London’s eight Royal Parks boast 5000 acres of quality green space. They are all free to visit and are open to everyone. Whether you crave a gentle stroll, bike ride, picnic, or even a swim (in some cases), you will be able to connect with nature in one of the capital’s eight large open spaces and valuable habitats for wildlife.
The eight Royal Parks are:
- Hyde Park
- Greenwich Park
- Kensington Gardens
- Richmond Park
- Bushy Park
- St James’s Park
- The Green Park
- Regent’s Park
In central London you will find St James’s Park, Green Park, Regents Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Hyde Park is the largest of all the central London parks so let’s take a closer look…
Things to see in Hyde Park
Most famous for its Speakers’ Corner where historic figures such as Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and George Orwell were known to often use the area to demonstrate free speech, Hyde Park has been the centre of British Democracy since 1972. It has a long tradition of accommodating large public demonstrations, speeches and debates that continues to this day. Speakers’ Corner is located on the north-east edge of Hyde Park, nearest Marble Arch and Oxford Street and is a great place to start your day.
The park is divided in two by the Serpentine Lake. Hyde Park covers 350 acres, and together with the adjoining Kensington Gardens (275 acres) the parks have an overall area of 625 acres. Pre lockdown, the Serpentine Lake provided the ideal setting for boating and swimming. At this time, it will be the perfect place to enjoy your picnic.
After lunch, you could enjoy a stroll, to take in some of the parks’ rich history. There is an abundance of stunning memorials and statues to find; The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain and Britain’s first Memorial to the victims of the Holocaust in particular, are well worth a visit.
Hyde Park was also the site of The Great Exhibition of 1851, for which the Crystal Palace was designed. Before your visit, why not take a virtual tour of the Crystal Palace to get a feel for the scale of it, admire its beautiful and innovative design, and discover amazing facts about the exhibition it housed? It will really help you to visualise its grandeur when you step foot in the park and stand where it once stood.
Things to see in Greenwich park
Greenwich park first became an official park in the 15th Century, making it the oldest royal park in London. When you enter Greenwich park from the main gate on Blackheath you will soon be met by its beautiful flower gardens and deer enclosure where you can spend ages enjoying the beautiful floral displays and wildlife. As you continue to follow the main path you will soon be met by the stunning view across London where you can try and spot as many famous London sights as you can. Greenwich is famous for its maritime history so be sure to spot the large red ball on a spire on top of The Royal Observatory that historically helped the captains of ships tell the time and sparked the beginning of Greenwich Mean Time, the benchmark time used by the whole world today.
You will have a great day enjoying the views, expanse, and history of Greenwich park. Have a go at completing this Greenwich park walking tour which guides you through all the must see spots.
Some car parking facilities within the parks remain closed at this time. Please check the latest coronavirus updates concerning the parks before travelling. Alternatively, find the closest parking facilities to the parks.
Thinking of hiring a van for your visit? That’s what CVS Van Hire is here for. All our vans comply with London’s strict air quality standards so all you have to worry about is finding the right one for you. Call us on 020 8003 2785 and we will be happy to arrange transport for your big day out.