A partial easing of the lockdown looks set to coincide with the arrival of summer. With so much sunshine beating down on the capital, it’s an excellent time to get out into the parkland and soak up some of it. The desire to do this may be especially pressing if you’ve been stuck indoors without access to a garden for two months.
Of course, there’s still a pandemic going on, and the risk hasn’t really gone anywhere. In fact, the first few days and weeks following the lifting are likely to represent a period of special risk, because people might mistakenly believe that the danger has passed.
So what are the best green spaces in the capital?
This gorgeous garden in northwest London provides plenty of scenery to enjoy, even if the nearby London Zoo hasn’t quite opened up yet, and the local open-air theatre isn’t hosting any productions. Henry VIII famously used this park as a hunting ground, and it was kept for the exclusive use of the royal family until as recently as 1845. You can still get a train to King’s Cross, and from there take a tube to Regent’s Park – but doing so while maintaining a social distance might prove tricky.
Hampstead Heath tends a little more on the side of the wild and untamed. There aren’t any perfectly-trimmed lawns or flowerbeds to be found here. There are a range of ponds here that are suited to swimming, especially during spells of hot weather.
Opened in 1858 by Queen Victoria, Battersea Park has a great deal to offer to both children and adults. There’s an adventure playground complete with a myriad of climbing structures, as well as a family-run zoo.
The Common holds the distinction of being home to the city’s largest bandstand. The perimeter is packed with cafes, and outdoor sporting facilities, most of which are going to remain closed for the foreseeable future. It’s the sprawling lawns that are sure to prove the most attractive to Londoners – they’ll be packed with sunbathers over the coming weeks. If you’re tempted, make sure you maintain a sensible two-metre gap.
Crystal Palace Park
The grounds of the famous symbol of Victorian London marks the site of a unique slice of parkland. Among the park’s more distinctive features are a quintet of dinosaur sculptures, which can be found hiding in the trees. There’s also an abandoned Victorian subway to explore – but given that it’s only open to the public at specific occasions, it’s unlikely to be reopening before the end of lockdown.