Working in the concrete jungle of a major city such as London can be pretty oppressive. Pretty quickly, it begins to feel like the only natural green things you encounter in your daily cycle are the salad you eat for lunch or the leaves of the office plant.
The longer we go without the experiencing the great outdoors, the heavier the never-ending tonnes of grey and murky blue weigh upon us. In fact, it is proven that urban living can be bad for your mental health, as this piece from the Guardian discusses.
Thankfully, in London, there are a number of places where you can escape the concrete and enjoy all the pleasures of the countryside without even going to the end of the Tube line.
If you could do with a little taste of escapism, take a look at our list of the five best parks and green spaces in London.
How to Get There: Hampstead Heath and Gospel Park Overground Stations or Golders Green, Hampstead and Kentish Town on the Northern Line Tube
Why It’s Great: Once you find yourself at the peak of the Heath, it’s hard to believe that you sit just four or so miles from Trafalgar Square.
This beautiful space in North London is a favourite of friends and families alike looking to catch a bit of sun and enjoy a picnic in the summer, not to mention a glimpse of the staggering views of London from the top of Parliament Hill.
How to Get There: Richmond Station for both Overground and Underground on the District Line. For buses, please see here
Why It’s Great: Famously home to over 600 free-roaming deer, Richmond Park boasts a staggering 2,500 acres of beautiful, open green space.
Found south-west of central London, this is a cycling paradise, with many cycling paths and both flat, easygoing routes as well as challenging, hilly routes.
Elsewhere in this brilliant park, there are riding stables, two great golf courses, fishing in Pen Ponds, two separate children playgrounds, rugby pitches and the unique opportunity to go power kiting.
If all of that sounds a bit exhausting, there’s King Henry’s Mound, which offers stunning views of the Thames Valley and St Paul’s Cathedral. The view is so stunning, it is actually protected by Parliament, stopping the building of anything which could impede it.
How to Get There: There are two routes via the London Underground. On the Central Line, get off at Lancaster Gate or Marble Arch. On the Piccadilly Line, get off at Hyde Park Corner or Knightsbridge. For bus directions, see here.
Why It’s Great: Across Hyde Park’s 350 acres there is just about everything to make you forget about the hustle and bustle of central London.
With over 4,000 trees, an ornamental and meadow flower garden and a large lake, the natural beauty of the park is staggering.
There’s plenty to see too, with the Serpentine Bridge, the Joy of Life Fountain, the Achilles statue and the famous Diana Memorial Fountain.
During the summer months, the park is transformed into a concert venue, hosting some of the world’s biggest and most celebrated acts every year. British Summer Time last year alone welcomed the likes of Mumford & Sons, Stevie Wonder and Kendrick Lamar.
It also hosts one of the biggest and most extravagant Christmas markets in the UK. Winter Wonderland is not to be missed in December.
How to Get There: Via London Underground, there are a number of different routes. Regent’s Park (Bakerloo Line), Great Portland Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle, Metropolitan Lines), Baker Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle, Jubilee, Metropolitan & Bakerloo Lines), St. Johns Wood (Jubilee Line) and Camden Town (Northern Line). For buses, see here.
Why It’s Great: Another absolute whopper of a park, Regent’s Park has 410 acres full to the brim with brilliant things.
From the stunning rose gardens to the largest outdoor sports area in London and last but not least, London Zoo.
There is an open-air theatre, a boating lake, numerous cafés and the famous Primrose Hill, which offers some of the best views of London possible.
All in all, there is something for everyone here, making it the perfect escape from the endless concrete and glass panel world of central London.
How to Get There: London Underground – Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern Lines), Leicester Square (Northern and Piccadilly Lines) and Covent Garden (Piccadilly Line)
Why It’s Great: The trouble with living in any hard working industry is that we get less free time than we’d like. This means that it might not be so easy to take a trip out to some of the bigger parks consistently to enjoy the beauty of nature.
To get your outdoorsy boost in little doses, there are a number of small gardens across the capital, like the excellent Phoenix Garden in Charing Cross.
This is a community garden which brings together people from across London to help create a space for people in the city which is a peaceful place to relax, take a break and enjoy a snippet of the outdoors.