Whether you’re after a calm day out or an exciting activity, plenty of outdoor activities keep you entertained in London. London has so many big parks to explore, picturesque river walks, and even outdoor swimming spots. Not to mention all of the markets and al fresco dining spots. There is so much to explore, but we have chosen some of our favourite places for you.
Regent’s Park is one of London’s Royal Parks, occupying 410 acres of high ground in north-west London close to Camden. The park has sports facilities, play areas and central London’s largest outdoor sports area. Walk through the elegant flower beds in the Avenue Gardens, see more than 12,000 roses in Queen Mary’s Gardens, or hire a rowing boat and join the ducks on the boating lake. The walk around the whole park takes about 2 hours. You could even make a whole afternoon of it if you wanted, as there are plenty of cafes to enjoy. It is also home to London Zoo, and you can take a walk or a bus to Camden Market and take a walk or even a narrow boat down the Regents Canal.
Battersea Park is a 200-acre green space at Battersea in the borough of Wandsworth in London. It is situated on the south bank of the River Thames opposite Chelsea and was opened in 1858. Battersea Park has a riverside promenade, a large lake, many beautiful trees and ecological areas, children’s play areas, a children’s zoo, the Pump House Gallery, a ceremony venue and sports facilities. There is also a Go Ape at Battersea Park, and of course, you can also look at the stunning Peace Pagoda.
Crystal Palace Park
Crystal Palace Park is a large park in southeast London; it is Grade II listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. A visit to the Dinosaurs makes for a great day out; the giant dinosaur statues of the ‘Dinosaur Court’ have been a symbol of British influence in science since opening in 1854. The maze is one of the largest in the country, spanning an incredible diameter of 160 feet. It has been bewildering visitors since the 1870s. The park also has children’s play areas and cafes too.
Greenwich Park is a former hunting park and one of the largest single green spaces in southeast London; it covers 74 hectares and is part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site. The pathway leading to the Royal Observatory is a don’t-miss on any trip to Greenwich, providing far-reaching views of the City of London and the Thames at the top. The 183 acres of parkland also encompass a beautiful rose garden, the historic Queen’s Orchard, a boating pond, a deer enclosure and London’s longest herbaceous border. The Thames path passes the London Eye, Tate Modern, the Globe Theatre and Tower Bridge. You can also walk across the Isle of Dogs under the Greenwich Foot Tunnel.
Holland Park is Kensington’s largest park. It has 22.5 hectares of gardens, children’s play facilities, sports areas, a cafe and a large area of woodlands – you will also see the resident peacocks walking about. Holland Park also has the beautiful Kyoto Garden. This is the Japanese garden donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991. The Ecology Centre at Holland Park runs events, activities and educational visits for schools. They also run a wildlife club for children, holiday activities, and a full programme of events for all ages.
Richmond Park, in Richmond upon Thames, is the largest of London’s Royal Parks and is of national and international importance for wildlife conservation. It was created by Charles I in the 17th century as a deer park. The park covers an area of 2,500 acres. It is home to a large deer population, ancient trees and other wildlife. It’s a fantastic spot for an outing and one of London’s many free activities. The Isabella Plantation has evergreen azaleas and rhododendrons at their peak of flower; the best time to visit Isabella Plantation is late April and early to mid-May. The woodland garden bursts into a riot of colour with beautiful shades of pink, red and purple.
Hackney City Farm
Experience farming in the heart of the city at Hackney City Farm. They allow children and adults to get up close to various farmyard animals. See, smell and plant vegetables and other food plants. The farm is free to visit. As a small community charity, we rely on the generosity of our partners and supporters.
Deen City Farm
Deen City Farm is an urban farm with an educational focus in the heart of the London Borough of Merton. They teach the local community about the rural environment and where their food comes from. They have an active Volunteering programme and a Riding School offering affordable lessons to the local community. They are a charity supported by Merton Council and rely upon donations from visitors and the local community to help them.
Woodberry Wetlands is a haven for wildlife and people in Hackney: 11 hectares of reed-fringed ponds and dykes, always free and accessible to everyone. The nature reserve is free to visit between 9 am – 4:30 pm every day of the week; it offers great opportunities for people to enjoy nature in the heart of London. There is also a café to enjoy refreshments and plenty of activities.
Brockwell Lido is great for the whole family to stay fit and active in Brixton, south London. Nestled in the corner of Brockwell Park, the Lido is a much-loved local landmark that has been at your local community’s heart since 1937. There is a 50m outdoor swimming pool, all the latest gym and fitness equipment, an extensive programme of group exercise classes such as yoga, pilates and HIIT, plus a café!
Alongside the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park is the Lido Cafe Bar which has waterside tables and is the ideal place to enjoy a snack, meal or a glass of wine. The Serpentine Swimming Club is the oldest in Britain. Children under 16 years old will not be permitted access unless accompanied by an adult who is 18 years old or above and is a competent swimmer. Hyde Park also has so much more to offer; landscaped gardens and areas are skillfully designed and maintained throughout the year. One of the finest is the Rose Garden, located near the park’s southeast corner.
London Royal Docks
London’s Royal Docks, one of the most scenic open-water venues in the world, is now providing a unique opportunity to experience open-water swimming. Onsite safety, including a safety tagging system for each swimmer, ensures a safe and enjoyable swim, with water tested fortnightly. Casual swimming is offered in a separate marked area for those who want to try open-water swimming for the first time or enjoy swimming without the pressure of training or competing.
Go Boat London
Paddington, Kingston and Canary Wharf
Explore London’s waterways at one of three locations on these fully-electric rental picnic boats. A GoBoat adventure is the perfect social experience to share with friends and family. Feel the freedom of being on the water and exploring your city from a new perspective as the captain of your boat. GoBoats fit up to 8 onboard, so there’s plenty of room for friends, family (and even your dog!)