Did you know, London has so many green spaces it is actually regarded as a forest! With spring upon us, what better way to spend your afternoon’s than soaking up the sun in one of London’s many parks and green spaces.
St James Park
Parallel to ‘The Mall’ (the Queen’s Driveway), St James Park was the first Royal park to be opened to the public. The land was acquired by King Henry VIII as a hunting ground. In 1660 King Charles II (the party king known as the Merry Monarch) redesigned the park and opened it to the public.
The central element to this beautiful park is its incredible lake which is home to over 78 species of animals including three pelicans. The Pelicans were given to King Charles II by the Russian ambassador in 1671. Since then 40 pelicans have made this park their home. This park is the perfect place for a rest after watching the Changing of the Guard on our Royal Morning in London Tour.
Locked in the middle of a busy traffic system, amongst the hustle and bustle of The City lies a peaceful tribute to heroic self-sacrifice, Postman’s park. Inside the park, sheltered by a long arcade, are glazed tiles. They pay homage to ordinary people who lost their lives in acts of heroism.
The memorial was the inspiration of G. F. Watts. He laid the first tiles here in 1900 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The most recent plaque to be unveiled was in 2007 to commemorate Leigh Pitt (who rescued a child from drowning).
The park is fairly hidden trapped between St Boltoph Aldersgate church and an office building. A small gate with a police box it signifies the entrance. But once found, this wonderful little park is a quiet place to spend half an hour, learning about some of London’s forgotten heroes.
120 Fenchurch Street
In London, we love parks so much, that sometimes we don’t have room for them on the ground….so what do we do? Well we put them in the sky of course!
This little gem was only opened in 2019 and is still relatively unknown to the public. Hidden in amongst some office buildings is the entrance. A lift takes you up to the 15th floor. The moment you exit the lift, the sights are quite something to behold.
The garden itself, is beautifully landscaped with flowers, arch – ways and a small water feature. On the east side take in views of the east end stretching through to Shoreditch. The west offers views of the magnificent Shard and iconic London Eye and in the North, views of the imposing Tower Bridge and Tower of London.
Tour Guide Tip: This garden is a fabulous place to get above the noise of the city. Enjoy your lunch and a panoramic view of London. The best part, it’s 100% free… for now.
London is full of garden squares, from private to public, small and large, old and new, but Soho Square feels like a small piece of countryside in the city.
Soho square was originally called Kings Square after King Charles II when it opened in 1681. A statue of the Merry King has stood in the square since it opened.The most quaint sight in this park is the Mock Tudor ‘Market cross’. Built in 1926, this little hut was used to hide electricity lines running above ground through the park. Its used as storage for the gardeners tools now. Take a quick coffee break in this quaint square just before exploring the rest of London’s theatre district.
Tour Guide Tip: Keep your eye’s open for Paul McCartney as his recording studio is based here in Soho Square.
Want to see some of greater London? Well look no further than the Royal town of Richmond. Originally home to Richmond palace during the reign of King Henry VIII, this beautiful town is the perfect way to spend a relaxed day away from Central London.
Right at the centre of the town is Richmond Green. Surrounded by tall Georgian town houses , Richmond green has always been a meeting place for the habitats of Richmond. On one side of the green, the Royal estate, which is the remains of the Old Richmond Palace. On the other side, the beautiful Richmond Theatre built in 1899 by Frank Matcham (famous theatre designer who designed 80 theatres around London).
Enjoy a spot of shopping in this idyllic greater London town, and then grab an ice cream and watch a spot of Cricket on Richmond Green