Annalise's 4 must-go green spaces in London17 April 2023 London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine https://lshtm.ac.uk/themes/custom/lshtm/images/lshtm-logo-black.png
Like many students, moving to London was my first time ever living in a city. Growing up, I had easy access to green spaces and nature whenever I needed somewhere to go to get fresh air, relax, or go for a walk. I was worried that it would be difficult to find these pockets of nature in my new home. Little did I know, London has an immense amount of parks and green spaces throughout the city ranging in size from peaceful squares to expansive woods. Better yet, the majority of parks are free to access and easy to reach from LSHTM. Here are some of my favourite parks near the school to visit when I am looking for a breath of fresh air, wooded walks, or a meadow to hang out with friends.
Russell Square is like the backyard of LSHTM. Situated just a 2 minute walk from the school, this is a beautiful space to take a quick walk, or sit on one of the many benches throughout the square. I like to head to Russell Square during lunch breaks to clear my head on a school day. In the springtime, hundreds of flowers bloom through the gardens, and it is a beautiful place to sit with friends or enjoy a coffee. Additionally, a small cafe sits within the square which is a great place to grab some food or a hot drink before classes.
Regent’s Park is one of the larger parks in central London, and is just a 20 minute walk from LSHTM. There are so many attractions to explore including Queen Mary’s Garden and the London Zoo. There are beautiful canals that cross through the park. I like to rent a bicycle and ride along the multi-use canal paths at any time of the year. The park is full of wetlands which offers a home to several wild birds and other animals, and it is easy to find an escape from the city noises when surrounded by birdsong. Additionally, the park has expansive maintained fields and is home to many pick-up football and rugby games. My favourite way to spend an afternoon in Regent’s Park is to kick a football or throw a Frisbee around with some friends. Primrose Hill sits on the north end of the park, and is the ideal place to watch a summer sunset over the London skyline.
Located in north London, Hampstead Heath is my favourite park to visit when I want to feel transported out of the city. The heath is just a 20 minute tube ride from LSHTM, and has large wooded areas that feel wild within the city. Less manicured than some of the other parks in the city, Hampstead Heath is home to grassy meadows, rolling hills, woodlands, and natural ponds. There are many corners of this park to find a picnic spot or a place to read. For the adventurous, the ponds are open for swimming all year round, however, there is also a lido (with a sauna!) at the park if pond swimming isn’t for you. In the wintertime, the park is lit up with lights for the holiday season. And if snow falls in the winter, the hills of the heath offer fantastic sledging paths.
Victoria Park is one of the most beautiful parks in east London, and is home to many different attractions and activities. A boating lake is situated in the middle of the park, home to several wild birds. In the summertime, boats are available for hire to spend time on the water. One of the best attractions at the park is the Sunday market which runs all year round. Not only can you shop for seasonal fruits and veggies, but there are several stalls which sell hot gourmet meals, perfect for a Sunday lunch. During the rest of the week, several cafes are scattered throughout the park to get coffee, tea, or any food for a picnic. The lawns at Victoria Park are a favourite place to lay out and enjoy nice weather.
Rain or shine, the parks in London are always a place to visit as they provide some of the best scenery and wildlife in the city. With the central location of LSHTM, there are countless opportunities to explore the city parks and find places to exercise, hang out, or just relax.