How to make the most of the 8 Royal Parks of London
People dedicate a whole day when they want to visit the 8 Royal Parks of London. If you want to visit all of the 8 royal parks, then I suggest strolling the park for an hour or two.
If you’re in Oxford Street, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are just a few minutes’ walk from the high street.
If you’re coming from Piccadilly Circus, visit Green Park and St. James’ Park. It’ll be a 12-minute walk through the street of Piccadilly.
If you’re in the Greenwich area, take the DLR to Cutty Sark at Greenwich.
If you’re in Richmond, it’ll be further out of the centre, you can get the district line to Richmond, then take the bus to Richmond Park. Mick Jagger’s house is there, and you’ll be able to see wild deer, woodlands, and see a great view of the River Thames from the top of a hill. Bushy Park is 1 hour by bus. Take bus number K3 from Vale Crescent Robin Hood Bus Stop, stop at Norbiton Church Tiffin Boys School, and take bus number 111 at Cromwell Road Bus Station towards Heathrow to Hampton Court Gardens. You can walk 11 minutes to Bushy Park. You’ll be able to admire and visit Hampton Court Palace too, home of King Henry VIII.
If you’re visiting Madame Tussauds, head over to Regent Street. You’ll be able to see London Zoo, walk through the peaceful Regent’s Canal with boathouses, and visit Camden Town and Camden Market.
If you want an itinerary on how to make the most out of these places, please feel free to contact me on Facebook.
Introduction to the 8 Royal Parks of London
The 8 Royal Parks of London shouldn’t be taken for granted. These are the 8 parks that you must visit, not because of its royal history but because of its natural beauty, wildlife and activities that happen in these parks. For example, the royal parks’ London half marathon happens every year, and people take part in a 13-mile run on the outskirts of the park.
Historically, it has always been hunting and recreational grounds for the royal family since the 15th Century. It is also owned by The Crown, meaning the government and the civil service operates these parks. It can also mean the monarch is The Head of the Commonwealth. Now open for the public to enjoy, the 8 royal parks are more than just a park to hang out. It has become a tourist attraction. Regent’s Park, Hyde Park and St. James’ Park are the three largest.
Every royal park has a different character to its name, and national events happen each year. Check out the 8 Royal Park’s website for more information on the facilities, corona virus updates and things to do here.
From this professional picture of the 19th Century buildings, you can see a view of Horse Guards Parade, but in real-time, the view of Horse Guards Parade disappears. The 19th Century building also disappears when you further into Horse Guards Parade. You won’t see the London Eye because it’s located further right out of the shot. Photos can deceive you.
ST. JAMES’ PARK
St. James’ Park is one of the major royal parks in London. Situated opposite Buckingham Palace, it has so much to offer. If you like wildlife; birds, pelicans, squirrels, ducks, colourful plants, and flowers and so much more, then this park is for you.
My time at St. James’ Park
From Buckingham Palace, head towards the park going down to the right. The wide road linking Buckingham Palace to the Admiralty Archway is The Mall. St. James’ Park is right next to The Mall. Go down to the right. The first thing you’ll notice is a large lake consisting of different types of ducks, black and white swans, Egyptian geese, and greenery. As you walk, you’ll notice an iron plaque on the ground in memory of Princess Diana, a memorial walk to commemorate our Princess. The beautiful 19th Century building you see on the internet of St. James’ Park has been zoomed in. In real life, the 19th Century building is hard to make out.
If you walk further, take a moment to cross the Blue Bridge where you can see the view of Buckingham Palace, Horseguard Parade, Big Ben and the London Eye. Just after the Blue Bridge, you will often see people feeding green parakeets’ bread and nuts. After the Changing of the Guards at Horse Guard Parade (link), go through the archway, you can get up close and personal with the horse guards here.
The Tiffany Fountain is always turned on located further in the lake. Stop over by Duck Island where you will see pelicans on the rock, (other times, they’re not there) some various birds and ducks by the pond. At 2:30 pm that will be the pelican’s feeding time where you can get up close and personal with them.
Nearby attractions include the Imperial War Museum, Churchill War Rooms, Trafalgar Square, and Clarence House. You won’t have time to see it all, I suggest visiting the paid Churchill War Rooms, and the Imperial War Museum. 10 Downing Street is in the same row as the horse guards, but you can’t see the door as it’s inside tall iron gates. You’ll only see protestors and a few policemen guarding the place.
Personally, I love wildlife and the beautiful-coloured flowers and plants surrounding the park. I wouldn’t trade St. James’ Park for anything. It’s one of the best parks in London. I prefer it more than Hyde Park as there are more activities and wildlife here. Hyde Park is much bigger and more famous, but compared to St. James’, St. James’ Park has more to offer. Spend no more than an hour here reading, taking the scenery in, and enjoy the atmosphere.
FLOWERS AT ST. JAMES’ PARK
BROWN, WHITE AND BLACK DUCK
PRINCESS DIANA MEMORIAL WALK
A ROW OF DUCKS BY ST. JAMES’ LAKE
HORSE GUARD PARADE
THE BLUE BRIDGE OVERLOOKING LONDON EYE AND BUCKINGHAM PALACE (a contrast to the professional zoomed-in picture above)
DUCK AND SQUIRREL TOGETHER
A VIEW OF BUCKINGHAM PALACE
Hyde Park is the number one on your to-do list when visiting London. Hyde Park is not only famous but also great for a quiet serene walk. There would be times when you want to be around people, and Hyde Park has both. From paddling on boats in the Serpentine lake, admiring wildlife and nature, sipping coffee, and having lunch at a nearby cafe, you’re sure to find something to suit you. The information found on the website stays true to its words.
The last time I went paddling on one of the boats, I felt close to nature and wildlife. It was on a sunny afternoon before COVID. The lake was bigger than I thought, and I could see people relaxing on the deck chairs (charged per hour). I could see children feeding the ducks and people sunbathing having a picnic. It’s even better if you stay close by, you can jog and relax when you have spare time. You can also relax here after a stressful day of shopping.
During spring and summer, Hyde Park becomes colourful, so take advantage of taking photos of different types of colourful flowers. Hyde Park is connected to Kensington Gardens where you’ll see more wildlife, the Princess Diana Memorial fountain and playground, and Kensington Palace. Dip your feet in the fountain and have a splash with the kids.
THE GREEN PARK
Green Park is not as colourful as any of the parks mentioned in this post, but people come here to take their dogs for a walk, watch people walk by, and there are many memorials, fountains, and statues to admire.
The best thing about Green Park is its convenience, although not as prettier as the other parks, its open space makes you feel closer to nature at least. The many winding paths will lead you to rows of giant, thick, healthy, and mature oak trees as tall as 40 – 50 metres long, and fresh green grass overlooking 19th Century buildings. The oak leafless oak trees still stand during the winter months and grow into green clouds when summer comes. I cam around March time, so the leaves were still in the process of growing. I felt like this place was an area to get away from the busy and noisy streets of London.
Flower beds of yellow daffodils, purple, red, and orange tulips can be found scattered around the park, and it leads to Canada Gate, a black iron gate overlooking the magnificent and grand Buckingham Palace. The great thing about Green Park is its connection to Buckingham Palace and St. James’ Park. Green Park can be overlooked as one of the royal parks, but it’s a nice green space for you to spend time in.
Green Park is also known for its wildlife, magpies, Egyptian geese and national events. Although I didn’t see any geese, it’s true what they say, Green Park is home to wildlife, flowers, plants, and events like the London Marathon. Although there were memorials and fountains, cafes and restaurants, people usually use Green Park to get from A to B, and the best part is it’s connected to Constitutional Walk, where you can ride a bike there.
Attractions near The Green park
In the street of Piccadilly, there are rows of restaurants, supermarkets, five-star hotels and it’s a few miles walk to Piccadilly Circus further up. Leicester Square and Shaftesbury Avenue, the theatre district connects to Piccadilly Circus.
The Mall (street adjacent to Buckingham Palace and the Admiralty archway and next to St. James’ Park) leads to Trafalgar Square once you reach the Admiralty archway. Next to St. James’ Park, you’ll see Horse guards Parade where you can take advantage of the Changing of the Horse Guards. Read more on the West End Walk starting from Trafalgar Square.
The weather in March was still damp. People didn’t sit on the grass though since it was still wet. The weather was still cloudy, but people still enjoyed the nature in the park. It wasn’t that busy and it wasn’t too cold either. It was just so serene; I couldn’t find any faults in the park, the only thing that I’d wish for the park was the use of colour.
In Autumn, brown leaves scattered all over the grass. At times, when it’s dry, the Autumn leaves look picture perfect but when it rains, it can get muddy and wet. As for Winter, we rarely have snow, but when we do, the park is covered in white and snowflakes sit on the branches of leafless trees.
Visit Green Park even if it’s just to walk through it. People still admire the memorials, especially when children play around it. Today the fountain by Green Park Station had no water sprouting out, it was just there for decoration purposes. If you’re staying nearby, give Green Park a visit, even if you want to jog in the breezy weather (which most Brits do). You can sunbathe, read a book, or just hang around in Buckingham Palace and St. James’ Park. Green Park is one of the places to hang out.
What you see in pictures is the same thing you see in real life. Really!! It’s the same! I know it sounds cliché but there is no downside to the park. The only downside to it is the sneezing and sniffing from hay fever in Spring and Summer.
For more information about Green Park, visit their website here. There, you will see information about its history, fountains and memorials, food and drinks, entertainment and so much more.
Richmond Park is situated in the South West of London and it’s the second large park in London with 2500 acres of green grass, twists and turns among paths for walkers and open lanes for drivers. There’s no other place to go deer watching than Richmond Park. Richmond Park was a recreational and hunting ground for the Royal family for more than 1000 years, and he Richmond area itself has a rural village atmosphere. Although a busy and a trendy area for locals and tourists, being in nature and wildlife really boosts your immune system and getting out in the fresh air will make you feel happier. I haven’t had the chance to visit the Richmond village because of COVID, but I will do in due course.
While deer spotting, don’t get too near, they are not pets, they’re wild animals. People have been injured feeding them. If you go by car, if you’re lucky, you can see them close as you drive by.
Check out the café and Isabella Plantation for beautiful walks among plants, trees, and flowers. You can go cycling, walking, picnics, dog walking and see a great view of the Thames in Richmond Hill, from the hilltop. See if you can spot Mick Jagger’s house.
Regent’s Park is situated opposite Madame Tussaud and within walking distance from Regent’s Park Station. What I love about Regent’s Park is its connection to London Zoo and Regent’s University London, Regent’s Canal, Little Venice with its boathouses, and Camden Town. London Zoo is worth the visit for families with young kids and Regent’s University London has beautiful architecture you can take photos of. Other attractions in Regent’s Park is the beautiful garden area where people sit by the benches enjoying nature. I haven’t had a chance to write a review on Regent’s Park, but when it’s safe to do so, I’ll surely write about my experience.
Situated next to Hyde Park, a few walks away from Notting Hill and Portobello Market (link), Kensington Gardens has been a public park for people to enjoy. You can sit by the lake where you will see Egyptian geese, white swans, as well as birds and pigeons. You can also visit Kensington Palace, once home to Queen Victoria and Diana Princess of Wales.
Why not just people watch, enjoy nature, and sit by the rows of benches nearby? There is also a Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, and between Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, during the summer people enjoy dipping their feet in the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. It was introduced to show that her spirit lives on and her love for children.
Kensington Palace is not worth it for £21.50 Be my guest if you’d like to visit inside, but if you’ve visited Buckingham Palace State Rooms, it’s the same. It contains items and costumes worn by the late Queen Victoria and Princess, as well as beautiful English architecture. Buckingham Palace State Room is much better.
Greenwich Park is located in Southeast London and has the largest green space in London compared to other royal parks. There are various events, several gardens and landscapes, and attractions worth the visit. The National Maritime Museum is free, but discovering the Meridien Line and the Royal Observatory is paid for. You will learn all about the history of Greenwich and visit the deer enclosure through an “enchanted forest”. There’s a fox that lives here, and if you’re lucky, you may get a glimpse of him by himself. Aside from Greenwich High Street consisting of quirky boutique shops selling souvenirs, restaurants, and cafes, take a moment visiting Greenwich Market, where you can find vintage items, and bric-a-brac.
Behind St. Alfege Church is a hidden gem, St. Alfege Park where you’ll see a row of around 30 – 40 spooky tombstones hidden behind overgrown weeds and ivy. The people buried here consists of the choirmaster of St. Alfege Church, died in the 16th Century, many 16th Century church composers, a prostitute/waitress/actress daughter of a lieutenant, Lavinia Powlett, Duchess of Bolton, also known as Lavinia Fenton as her stage name, General James Wolfe, the British Navy Officer died in the 18th Century during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham when we won against the French, and many more.
The Cutty Sark Ship is £17.50 to visit, but it’s better to admire the ship from outside unless you want to read about the history of its travels. You’ll learn about the import of tea and wool from Australia, you’ll see the small tight-spaced room where the captain had his meeting, his office, several bunk beds, several items recovered from the ship, and you’ll hear audio actors as sailors telling you stories about what it was like on the ship.
Walk up the path and hill of Greenwich Park, and once you walk up the steep hill, you’d feel breathless but when you reach the top, the view of London can be seen. You can see the O2 Arena dome, The Gherkin, The Shard and the Queen’s House. Remember, London looks very industrial, but the view is worth it. The Emirates Cable Car is just 30 minutes on the DLR. If you’re on a budget, £3.50 for a 10 minute ride is great, an alternative to the free view from The Shard, Sky Garden, and the London Eye.
Once you’ve admired the view from the top, walk past the Royal Observatory and the General Wolfe Statue. You will see a wide long path. Turn right, you will see Greenwich Cherry Blossom trees on either side of the pathway. Walk up until you reach the Rose Garden in front of Ranger’s House. On the website, they said by June and July, you will see fully bloomed roses and other different types of flowers. Most of them have bloomed but some of them still have empty patches. Since I came in June, it may be early days. We’ll have to wait until July. The flowers weren’t what I expected in real life.
Walk back to the Royal Observatory and exit St. Mary’s Gate and walk up Croom’s Hill. You’ll see various Georgian houses along this street. Worth taking photos. The Royal Observatory is closed now but worth visiting their website for highlights. You can visit London’s Planetarium here too.
Contact me for more information on attractions in and around Greenwich.
18TH CENTURY HIDDEN WATERWAY LEADING TO THREE UNDERGROUND TUNNELS
CUTTY SARK SHIP, GREENWICH, LONDON
GEORGIAN HOUSE AT THE TOP OF CROOM’S HILL
GREENWICH MARKET DURING LOCKDOWN
THE TOP OF THE HILL IN GREENWICH PARK (A CONTRAST TO THE PROFESSIONAL ZOOMED IN IMAGE OF THE QUEEN’S HOUSE)
ROSE GARDEN IN FRONT OF RANGER’S HOUSE IN JUNE
GEORGIAN HOUSES AT THE TOP OF CROOM’S HILL
24 HOUR GATE CLOCK IN GREENWICH, SHOWS THE ORIGINAL GREENWICH MEAN TIME
Bushy Park consists of 1,099 acres of land with canals, wild deer, the Diana Fountain, and the Upper Lodge Water Garden and Woodland Gardens. Why not sip in the Pheasentry Cafe while enjoying nature in front of you? What I love about Bushy Park is that it links to Hampton Court Palace. Hampton Court Palace has a lake you can take advantage of, and you can go on a boat ride overlooking the houses. I haven’t had a chance to visit Bushy Park because of COVID but when it’s safe, I’ll write a review.