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The best parks for summer fun in London

If you're coming to London over the summer or staying at home and want to make the most out of the city, then why not spend some time in one of London's parks. We've put together our guide to the best parks to enjoy the summer in London.

Let’s face it - this summer looks set to be a bit different compared with previous summers. With the coronavirus pandemic still very much a part of our daily lives, many of us are choosing to stay in the UK rather than jet off to a Mediterranean beach.

If you’re reading this, you might be thinking of coming to London this summer. Ah, summertime in London! Those long, sunny days and slow blissful evenings. The bright daytime sky and the soft, warm twilight at dusk. Forgive us for being poetic, but it’s hard not to get romantic about summer in London. And where better to spend London’s long summer days than in one of its many parks.

So, in this article, we highlight the best parks in London, the best places to go in London in the summer. From long walking spots and fancy picnic parks, to lido swimming to excellent jogging parks, London’s green spaces have something for everyone.

Best London parks for slow summer strolls

While the Brits complain about our summer weather, it does lend itself nicely to walking - even in the height of July or August. That’s right - those cloudy cooler days serve for something! And with London home to a variety of large, explorable parks, there’s no better place to do some inner city, socially distanced, summer walking.

Below we list our favourite parks that are ideal for a slow summer stroll.

St James's Park

St James's Park is the oldest Royal Park in London. Its central location makes it a perfect place to explore on foot. Home to a flurry of friendly squirrels and wild birds (even pelicans!)  it’s one of London’s most whimsical places to take a stroll. You’d forget you’re in the capital of the UK if it wasn’t for the very photogenic views of Buckingham Palace.

Normally, it’s one of the busier, touristy places to take a walk in London. But with fewer tourists predicted this summer, this year could be an excellent opportunity to enjoy the park in its more tranquil state.

Hampstead Heath Circular Walk

Many people find it hard to believe that in a capital city like London, there’s an unspoilt nature reserve like Hampstead Heath. This park is an avid walkers’ dream, offering a scenic, untamed walking experience, and all the while offering unrivalled views of the city. Bursting with plants, trees, ponds and wildlife, the Heath is a magical place to spend a sizzling summer evening in London.

Regent's Park

Regents park is known as one of London's most beautiful outdoor spaces. With high trees, multiple lakes and sprawling gardens, this green paradise sprawls over more than 300 acres. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d left London behind altogether!

It’s a top favourite for a summer’s walk (or anytime of the year, really!). Its pristine boating lake although currently closed to boat goers due to the pandemic, offers a quaint mid-summer’s vibe that makes for some extremely likeable Instagram snaps!

black and white view over hampstead heath to london
Hampstead Heath with view to London

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The best parks in London for picnics

If walking’s not your thing, then maybe eating is? And is there anything that fits with a summer vibe more than a picnic? Nope, nothing (apart from a barbecue, but they make quite a mess!)

Either way, alfresco dining is a summertime classic and London’s home to some perfect spaces to set up camp and munch the afternoon away.

Hyde park

Hyde park is huge, central and beautiful. The 350-acre space is located right in the heart of London, making it easy to access and easy to find if you’re learning your way around London.

During the summer months, this park is filled with happy picnic goers, and is certainly big enough to make sure social distancing procedures are followed, too.

London Fields

London Fields is undoubtedly London’s coolest green spot. Boasting a unique hipster/nature hybrid vibe, you’re sure to see as many tattoos or piercing as you are wildflowers.

But, it’s the wildflower meadow that makes this such a stunning picnic location. So pack your most posh scotch eggs and spend a sunny afternoon in one of the most chic outdoor spots in London.

Greenwich Park

183 acres of uninterrupted grassland makes Greenwich park an ideal spot for summer picnics. Add its urban wildlife sanctuary into the mix, and this can be a really magical place to enjoy an afternoon with friends and family, and the odd deer or two.

Set up camp by the boating lake and watch the world go by over a sandwich or two.

St George’s Garden

St George’s Gardens used to be a graveyard, but nowadays, the calm and tranquil green space is one of Bloomsbury’s most beloved parks.

It’s one of the many green spaces in Bloomsbury, which is also known as the leafy neighbourhood of London, and offers seating areas ideal for scenic, city centre picnics.

Hyde park lake with building in background
Hyde Park Lake in central London

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The best parks for swimming in London

While a lot of the London’s Lidos remain closed due to the pandemic, there are some that are set to relax their rules as lockdown and more are set to reopen throughout the summer depending on how pandemic progresses.

These parks are home to some of the best outdoor swimming spots in the city. Just be sure to check they’re open before you head their way in your swimming gear!

Clapham Common

Clapham Common is home to a lake and a lido, making it a perfect spot for outdoor water fun in London. The Tooting Bec Lido is sadly shut at the moment but may reopen later on in the summer depending on how the lockdown procedures evolve. But either way, it’s always a picturesque place to take a summer stroll by the water.

Brockwell Park

Also located in London’s chic south, Brockwell park offers an impressive lido that is perfect for summertime swimming. While closed at the moment, keep an eye out for opening times as lockdown measures look to get relaxed.

London Fields Lido

As well as being the previously mentioned super cool picnic spot, London Fields is also home to an impressive Lido that makes a great place to cool down after a long lazy lunch. While closed at the moment, keep an eye out for re-opening information.

Best parks for outdoor exercise in London

If you’re out and about in London, there’s no need to stay locked up indoors doing your daily exercises. London’s parks are big enough for everyone to find a space to get their blood pumping. In fact, some parks are just meant to be used for exercising…

Victoria Park

Victoria Park is London's oldest and most beloved outdoor park. In terms of awards, it’s a well decorated park, to say the least, and has even been voted the nation's favourite park, along with several other prizes and titles.

The park is the perfect place for summer jogging, joint exercise classes (socially distanced of course) and general outdoor frolics. Tall trees are great for shady spots making exercise in the summer heat a bit more bearable. Pre-lockdown, you could even enjoy a spot of rowing, but you'll have to keep an eye out for when that reopens again.

Battersea Park

Battersea Park has really evolved over the years. From being the scapegoat of London’s parks, many now argue that recent redevelopment has allowed it to truly flourish into one of London’s most beloved outdoor spaces. Adorned with fountains and home to a quaint boating lake, there’s no denying that it’s an outdoor space with character.

And, for people who love getting hot and sweaty, this park was built for exercise. It’s home to a fitness centre, a cricket pitch and nets, football, rugby, rounders, lacrosse and softball pitches. It even has a netball court and bowling green! While many of these sports facilities are currently closed, you can’t avoid that infectious energetic vibe, with runners and outdoor exercisers on every corner.

Spending Summer 2020 in London’s Parks

Lockdown is slowly lifting, meaning visits to London and its amazing parks are on the table (although not all the amenities will be available!) By taking all the right precautions and continuing to socially distance, 2020 could be an amazing chance to see the quieter side of London.

At Stay Central, we have apartments and rooms that are ideally situated for exploring a number of different parks and outdoor spaces across London. From single, double, en-suite, bed & breakfast rooms all the way to two bedroom flats and larger self-catered apartments - there’s something for everyone this summer.

We are also following all of the government's guidelines around Covid-19 safety and have introduced frequent and thorough deep cleaning processes throughout all of our accommodation.

If you’d like to find out about our accommodation options visit Stay Central now.

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