Hidden Green Spaces

Boats on Regent’s Canal in Little Venice
Boats on Regent’s Canal in Little Venice

Surprisingly for such a large metropolis, London is one of the world’s greenest cities. From the myriad tree-filled squares that dot the heart of the city to the sprawling golf courses, reservoirs, and woodlands that fringe the outer suburbs, nature is surprisingly close at hand.

Meanwhile Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Hampstead Heath, Greenwich, and Richmond are landmarks in their own right – great expanses of grass, heath, and woodland that have somehow survived centuries of frantic urban development.

Many of London’s town squares are effectively miniature parks themselves, such as Soho Square and Russell Square. The expansive Lincoln’s Inn Fields is said to have inspired the creators of New York’s Central Park.

Some of the city’s most beautiful green spaces today are, ironically, the result of its Victorian industrial heyday, such as the lovingly restored Regent’s and Grand Union canals, which once thronged with coal barges but now offer long corridors of sylvan tranquillity through the eastern and northern suburbs.

Abandoned railway lines also provide the city with pockets of unspoiled nature, such as the beautiful Parkland Walk in north London, which follows the line of the old train tracks from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace. A short way away lies the peaceful wooded parkland of Highgate Cemetery, famed as the final resting place of Karl Marx, George Eliot, and many other local luminaries.

Practical Information

Grand Union Canal Brentford to Paddington Basin;

Highgate Cemetery Highgate;

Lincoln’s Inn Fields Holborn

Parkland Walk Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace;

Regent’s Canal Little Venice to Limehouse Basin;

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