London is a big, bustling city that offers a range of exciting activities for visitors and locals alike. From historical sites and royal attractions to fun and games at the many museums, you’ll never find yourself without something to do. However, occasionally it’s nice to get away from the vibrant city and head back to nature. There are lots of places in London where visitors can see a different part of the city, a part centred on tranquillity, greenery and wildlife. We’ve compiled some of the best outdoor things to do in London, perfect if you want a break from the city without actually leaving the city limits.
There are lots of parks in London that are impressive both in terms of size and in their fauna and flora habitats. Considering they are in the middle of a busy city, Green Park, Victoria Park and Hampstead Heath all have lots of greenery, trees and flowers to admire and provide the perfect backdrop for a picnic, coffee or half an hour with a good book.
ZSL London Zoo
Don’t let being in a British city stop you from seeing animals from all over the world. London Zoo is one of the world’s oldest scientific zoos and is home to a range of animals including lions, penguins, hippos, gorillas, giraffes and reptiles. There are a lot of events and activities on each day at London Zoo and visitors are welcome to watch feedings, animal shows and educational talks.
London Wetland Centre
The London Wetland Centre, near to Hammersmith, was set up as a way to preserve the city’s wetlands. Started by conservation charities, the centre puts a large focus on protecting the natural wildlife of London and the different species found there. It’s made up of four Victorian reservoirs and over time these have evolved into homes for many different species, a number of which are not found anywhere else in London.
Arguably the most famous park in London, Hyde Park is a Central London hotspot for tourists, locals and nature alike. As well as the grassy areas and large wooded areas, Hyde Park is also known for the Serpentine Lake, where visitors are able to spot swans and different species of duck. Hyde Park is the ideal place to escape into nature without leaving the centre of the city.
Despite being in the city, Richmond Park is reminiscent of the historical British countryside. It is the largest of all the Royal Parks in London and was first built as a place for deer hunting. Though deer hunting no longer takes place, Richmond Park is still home to a number of red and fallow deer that are free to roam.
Lea Valley Park
Just outside of London – on the London, Hertfordshire and Essex border – is Lea Valley Park. Lea Valley Park has everything a family could need for a day out of the city and is perfect for immersing yourself in nature. The park has a number of campsites for overnight stays, heritage sites, walking trails, cycle paths, nature reserves and horse riding. It even has a white water rafting centre that was built for the London 2012 Olympics.
Sea Life London Aquarium
A great rainy day activity in London that also provides an insight into nature is the London Aquarium. There’s an entire underwater marine world to be explored featuring sharks, penguins, jellyfish and incredible species of fish.
One of the best outdoor things to do in London and one that is a little different to the other parks involves a trip to Kyoto Garden. Situated in Holland Park, Kyoto Garden is a Japanese garden that showcases water features, beautiful flowers and different species of plant. The park was gifted to London by the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and it reflects aspects of Japanese culture.