Parks and open spaces in London facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
3 Beddington Park, London Borough of Sutton - Boating Lake
The lake in Beddington Park in the London Borough of Sutton in southwest London

There are many parks and open spaces in Greater London, England. Green space in central London consists of eight Royal Parks, supplemented by a number of small garden squares scattered throughout the city centre. Open space in the rest of the region is dominated by the remaining three Royal Parks and many other parks and open spaces of a range of sizes, run mainly by the local London boroughs, although other owners include the National Trust and the City of London Corporation.

Royal parks

St James's Park Lake – East from the Blue Bridge - 2012-10-06
St James's Park Lake in Westminster, looking east from the Blue Bridge towards the London Eye.

The centrepieces of Greater London's park system are the eight Royal Parks of London. Covering 1976 hectares (4,882 acres), they are former royal hunting grounds which are now open to the public.

  • Green Park 16 ha (39.5 acres)
  • St. James's Park 34 ha (84 acres)
  • Greenwich Park 73 ha (180 acres)
  • Hyde Park 140 ha (346 acres)
  • Kensington Gardens 111 ha (274 acres)
  • Regent's Park 197 ha (486.79 acres)
  • Bushy Park 450 ha (1,112 acres)
  • Richmond Park 955 ha (2,359.85 acres)

Garden squares

Gordon Square Gardens, London Borough of Camden, WC1
View of the centre of Gordon Square.

Many of the smaller green spaces in central London are garden squares, which were built for the private use of the residents of the fashionable districts, but in some cases are now open to the public. Notable examples open to the public are Russell Square in Bloomsbury, Lincoln's Inn Fields in Holborn and Soho Square in Soho.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea contains over a hundred garden squares whose use is restricted to residents. The upkeep of these squares is paid for through a levy on top of residents' council tax.

Council parks

Victoria park1
The bathing pond at Victoria Park. Unused for bathing since the 1930s.

In addition to these spaces, a large number of council-owned parks were developed between the mid 19th century and the Second World War.

  • Crystal Palace Park, South London 80 ha (200 acres)
  • Victoria Park 86.18 ha (213 acres),
  • Alexandra Park 80 ha (197.68 acres)
  • Battersea Park 83 ha (205 acres).

Other green spaces

Hampsteadheath1
Highgate model boating pond near Parliament Hill

Other major open spaces in the suburbs include:

  • Hampstead Heath, 320 hectares (790 acres)
  • Clapham Common, 89 hectares (219.9 acres)
  • Wandsworth Common, 73 hectares (180 acres)
  • Wimbledon Common, about 460 hectares (1,136 acres)
  • Epping Forest, 2,476 hectares (6,118 acres)
  • Trent Park 169 hectares (417.6 acres)
  • Hainault Forest Country Park 136 hectares (336 acres)
  • Mitcham Common 182 hectares (449.7 acres)
  • South Norwood Country Park 47 hectares (116 acres)
  • Wildspace Conservation Park 645 hectares (1,593 acres)
  • Thames Chase 9,842 hectares (24,320 acres)

They have a more informal and semi-natural character, having originally been countryside areas protected against surrounding urbanisation. Some cemeteries provide extensive green land within the city — notably Highgate Cemetery, burial place of Karl Marx and Michael Faraday amongst others. Completing London's array of green spaces are two paid entrance gardens — the leader is the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, whilst the royal residence of Hampton Court Palace also has a celebrated garden. All Outer London boroughs contain sections of the metropolitan green belt.

Commons

There are over a hundred registered commons in London, ranging in size from small fragments of land to large expanses.

Lavender Fields

Lavish Lavender Carshalton London Borough of Sutton
Lavender field in the London Borough of Sutton

There are two historic lavender fields in the London Borough of Sutton. One, at Oaks Way, Carshalton Beeches is three acres in size and is run as a not-for-profit community project. The other, a 25-acre commercial site in Croydon Lane called Mayfield, is popular with tourists. Situated on the North Downs of Surrey, the locality is ideal for lavender cultivation, owing to the chalky free-draining nature of the soil. It was known as the "Lavender Capital of the World" from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, with global production of the plant centred here and blue fields dotting the area.

Greenways

There are several types of London greenways including The Greenway and the Thames Path.

By location

  1. City of London
  2. Westminster
  3. Kensington and Chelsea
  4. Hammersmith and Fulham
  5. Wandsworth
  6. Lambeth
  7. Southwark
  8. Tower Hamlets
  9. Hackney
  10. Islington
  11. Camden
  12. Brent
  13. Ealing
  14. Hounslow
  15. Richmond
  16. Kingston upon Thames
  17. Merton
City of LondonCity of WestminsterKensington and ChelseaHammersmith and FulhamWandsworthLambethSouthwarkTower HamletsHackneyIslingtonCamdenBrentEalingHounslowRichmond upon ThamesKingstonMertonSuttonCroydonBromleyLewishamGreenwichBexleyHaveringBarking and DagenhamRedbridgeNewhamWaltham ForestHaringeyEnfieldBarnetHarrowHillingdonLondon-boroughs.svg
  1. Sutton
  2. Croydon
  3. Bromley
  4. Lewisham
  5. Greenwich
  6. Bexley
  7. Havering
  8. Barking and Dagenham
  9. Redbridge
  10. Newham
  11. Waltham Forest
  12. Haringey
  13. Enfield
  14. Barnet
  15. Harrow
  16. Hillingdon

Parks and open spaces in London Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.