Millions of tourists from the UK and across the world visit the historic, vibrant and fascinating city of London every year, in a bid to soak up the heritage and excitement of one of the planet’s most exciting destinations. With a comprehensive selection of iconic buildings, celebrated landmarks and popular attractions, Britain’s capital offers something for absolutely everyone.
Amid the bustling city center the casual visitor could be forgiven for thinking London is all about movement and noise, but it’s important to remember that this wonderful city is also home to some exquisitely tranquil and achingly beautiful parks and public gardens. For any tourist who finds the pace of a city break a little too hectic, there is every opportunity to seek out a little much-needed peace and quiet.
Perhaps the most famous of them all is the magnificent Hyde Park, which is located in the very heart of London. Hyde Park Corner, home to the celebrated Speakers’ Corner, is to be found close to Marble Arch, and on a Sunday morning it plays host to number of ad hoc orators who will be only too happy to pass on their opinions to anyone who is prepared to listen. For those who like the concept of free speech, this area is a must-visit.
An oasis of calm
One of the most popular tourist attractions in London is Buckingham Palace, home of the Queen, and the area outside the Palace around the impressive Victoria Memorial is usually bustling with visitors from all over the globe. Just across the road, however, anyone who is in need of some peace can simply wander into St James’s Park and enjoy the silence. This wonderful park covers 57 acres, and is home to a number of impressive features.
If you mention Regent’s Park to most overseas visitors, the chances are they will immediately think of the world-famous Zoological Gardens that are to be found there. The Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in London, but it’s worth remembering that there is plenty more to this open space. The Open Air Theatre in Queen Mary’s Gardens is especially worthy of a visit.
Needless to say, there are several more parks to be found across the city, and if you have time to explore the outer reaches you can hire a car and head to Richmond Park, a large open space that covers more than 2,300 acres. It’s located to the south-west of the city center and features a sizable herd of deer which roam freely around the park. Elsewhere, the Lee Valley Park and Hampstead Heath are also popular with visitors.
Author and blogger Sam Wilkes lives in southern England and has always loved London’s parks.