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With spring in the air, it’s time to start hunting out the perfect picnic spots and walking trails across London. When the sun is shining and the birds are singing, there’s no better way to escape the daily grind than in one of the capital’s many oases.
Wish this in mind, take a look at Marsh & Parsons’ favourite gardens and parks for families.
You don’t need to venture on a safari to see wildlife roaming free in London as Richmond Park is home to 630 red and fallow deer. This expansive stretch of land is the largest enclosed space in the city and a national nature reserve. These majestic beasts might be beautiful but avoid getting too close – those antlers are dangerous.
For those who don’t want to just lounge on a blanket, there is a 12km route around the park’s perimeter, ideal for a cycle while taking in the scenery. Post-pedalling, you can seek out refreshments in one of the pretty nearby tearooms.
You can get your fill of all things floral at this botanical garden in southwest London. With more than 30,000 different species of plants and seven million preserved plant specimens, Kew Gardens is sure to ignite your inner botanist. We suggest putting a full day aside to explore this exotic World Heritage Site.
The treetop walkway, designed by architect Marks Barfield (creator of the London Eye), is most definitely worth a visit. If you feel a bit overwhelmed by the park’s immense size and its numerous features, you can partake in a free guided walk or the train that takes a circular route around the gardens.
Formerly part of Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens make up one of London’s eight Royal Parks.On a sunshiny day, you can easily find refuge under one of the many trees lining the formal avenues.
Of course, Kensington Palace is the main highlight, but you should also check out the Italian Gardens, the Albert Memorial, the Serpentine Gallery and the Peter Pan statue. Two playgrounds, as well as acres of grassland mean, that there is more than enough room for the whole family to roam. Make sure that you look out for Kensington Gardens’ allotment, where an assortment of fruit and vegetables are grown.
This Japanese-inspired sanctuary, in the centre of Holland Park, opened in 1991 and was a gift from the city of Kyoto to celebrate the friendship between Japan and Great Britain.
The tranquil atmosphere is enough to lure those in search of some peace and greenery.In this garden, peacocks stroll under Japanese maple trees, tiered waterfalls provide a soothing backdrop, and you can spot koi carp swimming in the main pond.
St James’s Park
Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and St James’s Palace surround this lush haven. While wandering past the colourful flowerbeds, you are sure to see one of the park’s famous pelicans. These large water birds have resided in St James’s Park for nearly 400 years and were initially presented as a gift from the Russian Ambassador to Charles II.
Children will be highly appeased with the recently refurbished playground, and the whole family can rest their legs while enjoying the view from St James’s Café.
Hampton Court Palace Gardens
Home to the world’s oldest puzzle maze, this famous garden isa must-see in the spring. Across the 60 acres of formal grounds and 750 acres of parkland, you can gaze at over one million flowering bulbs as well as descendants of Henry VIII’s deer herd.
An unexpected feature in this garden is the largest grapevine in the world. Originally planted in 1768, this vine is now 250 years old. If you want to taste these black dessert grapes, pay a visit to the Palace Shop in September.
For some of the best vistasof the London skyline, this grassy hill in The Regent’s Park is worth a visit. Many years ago, duels were fought on top of the protected viewpoint, but today the grassy slopes offer a scene that is more calming than combative.
Shade can be found under the grand oak treeknown as ‘Shakespeare’s Tree’, which was planted in 1864 to mark the 300th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth.
Just south of Brixton lies a charming stretch of lawn and meadow, interspersed with a series of ponds and fountains. Initially, this park was the kitchen garden for Brockwell Hall and during World War I, sheep grazed in the grounds.
The Brockwell Lido has a swimming pool, and the other facilities include an all-weather pitch, a bowling green, tennis courts, a basketball court, cricket nets, a children’s paddling pool and a miniature railway.
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