It’s one thing to visit London, but quite another to call it your home. Once you have forged major life experiences in and around its city streets, something happens, and you become- a Londoner. Being a Londoner isn’t all about the drive and the pace, often it’s about where solace and inspiration can be found. As the 10th greenest city in the world, London is heavily populated with trees, 8.4 million of them in fact. The life of a Londoner is often staged in the various green spaces, parks, heathlands, riversides and gardens that thread their way through each borough. With the quintessential English blend of history, heritage, and gardens there is always abundant character to be found where the tension of the city unwinds. Here is a guide to some classic parks and spaces in London and a few hidden treasures.
Royal Botanic Gardens – Kew
Perhaps the most royal of all the royal parks, Kew must be awarded the highest accolade for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a global gathering of plant and tree species all coexisting in an exquisite display of landscaping and horticulture. Kew is a whole day affair but includes such a range of wonders across its 300 acres. From the Great Pagoda to the Palm House and across the Treetop walkway it is an aesthetic education for all the family. With a kaleidoscope of floral bounty throughout the year there is always something new to discover. Year by year the Winter Illuminations develop new artistic delights to bring light within the long dark nights. For West Londoners, investing in the annual membership gives you the freedom to consider Kew as an extension of their own back garden.
Incarnating in the Victorian era of pleasure gardens Battersea Park is comprised of curiosities and period charm set within its 200 acres. Across the river from the Chelsea Physic Garden, these notable gardens flank the Thames on both sides. Home to the London Peace Pagoda, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth sculptures, plus a contemporary art gallery, it houses some of London’s treasures in an unassuming setting. With a bandstand and boating lake, adventure playground, and children’s zoo amongst its ecological zones, you can enjoy a laid-back day out that ticks all the boxes. An intentional Winter Garden provides floral relief in the greyer months of the London year, and its illuminated pathways allow you to enjoy the evening there until 10.30pm at night.
Bonnington Square Garden
A hidden gem in the unlikely territories of Vauxhall, Bonnington Square Garden is an oasis of community charm. With Alice in Wonderland-like surrealism, you will wonder if you stepped through the looking glass into this tropical Victorian enclave. Generations of horticultural and community spirit have contributed to this ebullient leafy grove which is nurtured on an old bomb site. Two excellent cafes afford you the luxury of taking it all in with refreshment and delighting in being one of those Londoners in the know. It’s a magical hidden spot not far from the river and Vauxhall station.
One of the jewels in High Street Kensington crown, Holland Park is an absolute must for a picnic. Close by the former Commonwealth Institute, Holland Park also spans continents in its horticultural styles. Like Russian dolls, you can find worlds within worlds within worlds here, all along the high street. The Kyoto gardens are a Japanese pilgrimage site of its own within the park’s perimeters. Traditional European ornamental beds form different stages of the park, and the adventure playground is gnarly enough to inspire some serious street cred. Summer Opera season opens in May and is set against the backdrop of the original Jacobean house, without doubt, a place for twilight London memories.
Shown in the photo above and heading the bill of the Royal Parks in London is Richmond Park with 1000 hectares of rare grassland habitat. Wandering red and fallow deer are the timeless inhabitants of this large nature reserve and attract many photographers, particularly in October during the rutting season. Such a large open space with heritage oaks and many lakes breaks away from the city skyline and encloses all in a pastoral landscape. Cyclists, horse riders, dog walkers, and ramblers are often sighted here, along with many species of birds, including the ubiquitous London parakeets. The cultivated Isabella plantation is a floral explosion amidst the heath, particularly in Spring when the camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons are cascading with flowers.
Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are interconnected parks in Central London. In total, they comprise 625 acres of green space within the city centre. Originally this land belonged to the monks of Westminster Abbey, Henry VIII in true character repurposed the space as his personal hunting ground. Where else in the world could you find Speakers Corner, a hidden pet cemetery, a famous rose garden and the Rolling Stones playing live on a balmy summer’s night? Winding through Hyde Park is the Serpentine River, which attracts swimmers, boaters, and many different types of birds. Nearby in St James Park, it is possible to visit the resident pelicans who have 400 years of ancestry in this ceremonial setting. Amongst the 4,000 trees in Hyde Park, you can casually people-watch the runners, skaters, posers, locals, and their dogs, of London town.
London looks better from the heights of Hampstead Heath. The diverse beauty of this ancient common land stuns and surprises as it meanders across vast parts of the city. Ancient trees, tranquil ponds and waterways and a true sense of the rural afford Londoners respite from the predictability of city routine. Wild water swimming all year round in the various ponds, include a Christmas Day dip, plus you can train on the Parliament Hill Athletic Track. On the heath, nature excels in her progeny. With over 300 species of fungi growing here, kingfishers, reed warblers and woodpeckers have their breeding grounds and at night the bats take over. The different zones of East Heath, Kenwood House, Golder’s Hill, West Heath, the Hill Garden and Pergola and the Vale of Health are all hugely different landscapes to explore. So many people choose to move to North London because of the romance and health-giving properties of Hampstead Heath.
Aussie – London’s favourite removals and storage company
With only a fraction of London’s parks mentioned above, there truly is a lot more to discover in the city centre and in the different boroughs. We understand the appeal of London’s leafy streets, and why so many people choose to move to London from abroad and all over the UK. Since our first foray into the removals and storage world in London we have been steadily increasing our services and fulfilling our customers expectations. We keep it simple; we provide solutions and possibilities as quickly as possible. Moving house can be stressful, but not the Aussie way. We have expanded into a compendium of services for landlords, businesses, domestic customers, and private clients all over London. Our storage solutions come with a range of options and prices and we tailor-make our services around the needs of our customers. If you need a simple and effective delivery service for your customers and clients, or a quick transportation of goods within the city, our Man and Van service will make light work of whatever task you have to hand. Get in touch with our friendly team if you are looking for a smooth transition within London or require any of our affiliated services. We are looking forward to hearing from you.