The calm in the eye of the storm: London's parks
4 December 2020
Think London is a concrete jungle? Think again. Below we let you in on the city's green side.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and London life
We understand that some of you may be studying remotely to begin with due to the coronavirus situation and therefore unable to arrive on campus and in London in January.
We hope that even if you can’t join us immediately, that these articles get you excited for when you are able to join us here in London and give you a flavour of the amazing things to come.
London is home to some incredible architecture, which means rather a lot of concrete! Here are some of London’s major parks for when you want to escape from the library, go for a run or a walk, and recharge your batteries in the fresh air.
Regent’s Park is the closest Royal Park to UCL and one of the biggest, at 395 acres. There’s something for everyone here, home to the beautiful Queen Mary Rose Garden, sports pitches, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, and London Zoo! Just to the north of the park is Primrose Hill. If you make it to the top, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best views of London the city has to offer.
Hyde Park is expansive and peaceful with bustling Oxford Street and Knightsbridge close by. You can hire a pedalo on the Serpentine Lake, visit the Winter Wonderland festival between December-January each year (mulled wine, ice-skating and fairground rides galore!), or check out Speaker's Corner, a site for public speeches and debates since the mid-1800s, located in the north-east corner of the park.
The oldest of the Royal Parks, St James’s Park runs the length of the Mall, from Trafalgar Square, Admiralty Arch and Horse Guards Parade, to Buckingham Palace (be sure to visit the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony). In addition to some glorious flowerbeds, there’s also a beautiful lake which is home to the park’s famous pelicans - watch their daily feeding at 14:30!
If you fancy wandering a little further from the centre of London, hop on the 24 bus from Tottenham Court Road to be at one with nature in Hampstead Heath! An untouched oasis that feels a world away from London - perfect for long weekend walks. It also boasts an open air Lido and Golders Hill Park Zoo.
With 650 free roaming deer, and slightly further still from the centre of the city is Richmond Park. Like Hampstead Heath, it has quite a wild, countryside feel to it - perfect for hiking or cycling. For something more pristine, pop over to Kew Gardens which is just round the corner and home to all sorts of exotic plants.
Luckily, you’re never too far from one of the city’s countless beautiful squares, too. Despite London’s relentless energy, there’s always a green oasis nearby for you to find peace of mind.
Jon Webb, UCL alumnus, BA English