London is known for many things and is home to everything from the best hotel rewards program to the most lovely restaurants, such as the restaurant at Park Grand London Paddington which boasts both an Indian and European menu. Between the skyscrapers and the business suits of the city, it can seem surprising that according to key figures, London is roughly 47% ‘green’. That’s right – almost half of the city is land that is partly or completely covered with grass, trees, shrubs, or other vegetation.
Everyone has heard of or had the opportunity to visit London’s epic royal parks – particularly guests of Park Grand London Hyde Park who have both Hyde Park and Kensington Park on their doorstep. So, out of the 3,000 parks available to enjoy in London, here are four often overshadowed green spaces you just cannot miss.
The Parkland Walk is a 3.1-mile (8.37 km) green pedestrian and cycle route in London. Without knowing its history, walkers, runners or cyclists alike might find themselves grateful for its straight and relatively flat nature. There is a simple reason as to why this is: It used to be the train tracks running between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace, through Stroud Green, Crouch End, Highgate and Muswell Hill. Parkland Walk is a perfect example of urban nature and the overgrown train platforms and blooming hedges are a real treat to see.
Chelsea Physic Garden
For those using Premier Rewards points to stay in hotels near Hyde Park, don’t be fooled into thinking Hyde Park and Kensington Park are your only options for green space. Though significantly smaller, Chelsea Physic Garden is still a green-focused adventure, especially given that it is the second-oldest surviving botanical garden in England. Founded in 1673 for medicinal plant study, today you can marvel at the seasonal plant displays and permanent collections as well as participate in family activities and adult workshops.
The Sky Garden is London’s highest public garden, located on the top floor of The Fenchurch Building (AKA the Walkie-Talkie). Aside from the panoramic views of the city and the fun-filled atmosphere, it is a green-thumb’s haven. The terrace designers adorned the space with drought-resistant Mediterranean and South African species, and the flowering plants include the African Lily (Agapanthus), Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia) and Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae), as well as herbs like French Lavender to make sure everything smells fresh and wonderful.
WWT London Wetland Centre
Alongside the railway walks, botanical gardens and rooftop green spaces already listed, the WWT London Wetland Centre is another prime example of how a green space does not necessarily have to be a big park – although those remain wonderful additions to a city like London. This award-winning urban wetland nature reserve is made up of four disused Victorian reservoirs tucked into a loop in the Thames. Expect to see lapwings, little ringed plovers, great crested and little grebes, gadwall, mallards, pochards and tufted duck broods on the reserve.