London parks are like no other on earth. Our English eccentricity (which seeps into the consciousness of everyone who visits), our love/hate relationship with the sun (we love it, it hates us), and our liberalism laced with coolness makes for great people watching.
And there are so many opportunities to whack out your picnic basket. Head to London Fields for hobnobbing around friendly fires and sausage fests. Regents Park is full of fun with boats, swings, and of course a zoo. Clapham Common is always inundated with pretty people on the vino. And Hampstead Heath is a proper expedition to find total peace and quiet. Feel like the lady of the manor in Richmond Park, or join in a random footie game in Hyde Park. There’s an open space for everyone, and it doesn’t stop there.
When the hosepipe bans are in full swing, every scrap of common grass is made use of. Whether it’s hidden in a sleepy square or within hearing distance of the North Circular, you can guarantee someone with no top on is strewn across it and gradually turning a stinging shade of pink.
The best bit about the park is kicking off your shoes and imagining, for just a moment, that you don’t live on the 20th floor overlooking a carpark. It’s free and simple. It’s what you make of it.
Three things to do in the park:
- Six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by up to two thirds. Finished your book? Head to www.readitswapit.co.uk to swap it for a new one
- Tai Chi – the most chilled martial art is taught in Regents Park, Victoria Park and Hyde Park at the crack of dawn
- Hula hooping is the coolest way to get a six-pack. Try www.hoopswhirled.com to perfect your wiggle.
Image by uli harder courtesy of Flickr