Despite the recurring rains and black clouds, sunny days are almost upon us. After long, dark months, we can finally move out of our artificially lit study areas and step out into London’s amazing parks and gardens and fall asleep underneath the blue skies after long reading sessions under the bright sun. I love to look for new reading spaces in areas and neighbourhoods I want to explore more of. London’s parks are not just green respite spaces but they are beautiful places to just visit. Use this handy guide to cross off some of London top’s attractions from your bucket list.
1. Parliament Hill at Hampstead Heath
It is a personal favourite of mine, and it is the perfect reading/picnic spot. Parliament Hill is a tall grassy mound that offers stunning views of London’s skyline. To reach the top of the hill, it is a short 12-15 minute walk up from the garden entrance. You can easily navigate to the top via Google Maps. The top of the hill has a slightly flat plateau and offers ample space to relax in the sun and to spread those picnic sheets. The area has benches, areas with ample tree cover, rolling hills to slide down, and of course the highlight, an uninterrupted view of London’s tallest buildings.
2. Kyoto Garden at Holland Park
Japanese invented the art of miniature gardens – the Japanese Gardens – and hence it comes as no surprise that Kyoto Garden inside the Holland Park is detailed and beautiful. The Kyoto Garden is set in the centre of the park so you do need to walk a bit in order to get to the place but luckily enough, the walk offers tranquillity, so it gives you the opportunity to take a break from studying, or to sit and study along the way. The Kyoto Garden itself has no place to sit but the scenery of the mini canal and bridge is very calming and offers a beautiful melody of colours at any given time, the area is an oasis in itself within Holland Park.
3. The Diana Memorial and Serpentine Pavilion at Hyde Park.
Hyde Park is a London favourite – it is a massive stretch of green land that is truly the heart and lungs of the city. Throughout the year, many seasonal events take place in the park. One of the most beloved is, of course, Winter Wonderland which I am sure all of had a ball visiting around the winters. In the summer, Hyde Park presents a unique structure appreciating the wonders of art and architecture through the Serpentine Pavilion. The Pavilion is designed and created by different chosen artists/architects and is a sight to behold for the few months it stands in. The Pavilion opens in July every year and stays on up until October. Another attraction in Hyde Park, close to the Serpentine is a permanent one, The Diana Memorial, which is dedicated to Princess Diana. The monument is a stepping fountain and it is a peaceful and calming place due to the water body.
4. The Hive at the Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is the biggest botanical garden in the world. While the garden and its many greenhouse nurseries are an invigorating experience to walk through due to the wide variety of plant species and the controlled environments they are grown in, the garden has more to offer as well. Kew Gardens house many beautiful old buildings with romantic cafes that offer the perfect environment to sit, study, or to carry food out while studying. An in-garden cafe is hard to find in all the places discussed above. However, there is another structure within the garden that you cannot miss – The Hive. The most photographed shot from Kew Gardens, the Hive is an art installation you can walk into and as the name suggests, it is inspired by a beehive. Walking around and to the first floor of the structure, you can get an idea of what it would feel like to live inside a beehive. While the structure is a sight to behold due to its intricate detailing and pattern design, the experience becomes even better during sunny days when sunlight reflects different patterns around and inside the structure.
5. The Open Air Theatre at Regent’s Park
It is London’s largest open-air auditorium, and it is nestled between the tree inside Regent’s Park. The auditorium is located in the middle of the park, so do expect a long walk from when you enter the Park. The auditorium is a perfect spot to sit, relax, study with a backrest against the steps and lined with London’s longest bar that runs along the back of the auditorium seating. Alternatively, catch a show at the auditorium after your study session as the Theatre regularly organises shows, musicals and movie screenings in the evenings during the summer. My favourite is the Luna Cinema Club that hosts classical movie nights at the Open Air Theatre during the late summer months.