Ten great local parks in London

Their Royal cousins are great, but sometimes you can't beat an afternoon amid the scruffier splendour of one London's laid-back local parks. Here's our guide to some of the city's best, complete with nifty maps pointing out all the fun stuff

0

Comments

Add +
  • Burgess Park, SE5

    Barbecues allowed? Yes, in the designated area (see the map below)

    Opens 7.30am

    Closes Dusk

    Transport Elephant and Castle tube

    What’s it like? A long-thin stretch of green hills, hidden playgrounds and swan-inhabited lakes nestled among the grey estates of Walworth Road. The park’s nearly completed a £6 million makeover, so the 113 acres are currently looking mighty smart and luscious.

    What’s new? A ‘national-sized’ BMX track is due to open by the end of July, if adrenaline sports are your bag. A stroll across the new wooden bridge over the lake (which now has impressive 30ft fountains) is a more tranquil alternative.

    Main recreational activities? There are sports aplenty here – tennis courts, cricket lawns and football pitches, plus a signposted 5k running route and fishing in the lake. The massive adventure playground is a hyper kid’s dream, and there’s even a gokarting track for under-16s (currently closed for refurbishment).

    Any weird ones? Only the geese, who seem to quietly threaten to scare joggers into falling in the lake…

     

    Burgess Park, SE5
  • Crystal Palace Park, SE20

    Barbecues allowed? Yes

    Opens 7.30am

    Closes Dusk

    Transport Crystal Palace overground

    What's it like? Vast, grassy and very hilly – climb high enough and you'll be treated to a fantastic view of the London skyline. It's got stacks of sporting history, too, having hosted the FA Cup final (21 times!) during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    What's new? Not much, really, although the recent-ish refurbishment Crystal Palace train station (which sits on the park's southern edge) and its connection to the London overground network now means the park's accessible from pretty much anywhere in the city.

    Main recreational activities? Just about everything you'd expect from a 78 hectare patch of grass in zone four, plus a few things you absolutely wouldn't. It's home to London's biggest maze, for a start, as well as a collection of hundred year-old, life-size dinosaur sculptures and a racetrack for remote-control cars.

    Any weird ones? Nothing crazy during the summer, but come the snowy season, look out for bobble-hatted nutters using the park's gentle slopes for ski practice.

     

    Crystal Palace Park, SE20

Burgess Park, SE5

Barbecues allowed? Yes, in the designated area (see the map below)

Opens 7.30am

Closes Dusk

Transport Elephant and Castle tube

What’s it like? A long-thin stretch of green hills, hidden playgrounds and swan-inhabited lakes nestled among the grey estates of Walworth Road. The park’s nearly completed a £6 million makeover, so the 113 acres are currently looking mighty smart and luscious.

What’s new? A ‘national-sized’ BMX track is due to open by the end of July, if adrenaline sports are your bag. A stroll across the new wooden bridge over the lake (which now has impressive 30ft fountains) is a more tranquil alternative.

Main recreational activities? There are sports aplenty here – tennis courts, cricket lawns and football pitches, plus a signposted 5k running route and fishing in the lake. The massive adventure playground is a hyper kid’s dream, and there’s even a gokarting track for under-16s (currently closed for refurbishment).

Any weird ones? Only the geese, who seem to quietly threaten to scare joggers into falling in the lake…

 

More London parks

Park cafés

Sink a pre-stroll feast at one of these great nature-neighbouring brunch spots

Hidden gardens

Pack a picnic and head for one of the city's serene, secluded spots

Major parks

All you need to know about London's biggest and most famous green spaces

Music festivals

Indie, folk, dance or metal – there's a field for you this summer


Users say

2 comments
Tina Gray
Tina Gray

Burgess Park now has built-in barbecues, just bring your charcoal briquettes & firelighters & lighter/matches. There are special barbecue-bins to empty previous ashes into & the next person using the same grill as you does the same with the ashes you leave behind (once they have died out and gone cold). Its a good idea to bring a packet of kitchen-wipes to give the grill shelf a quick wipe over before use. Saves buying disposable-use-once-portable-barbecue-trays. I suggest buying a large bag of charcoal beforehand & just take along as much as you will need, this will save you a lot of money in the long run. I haven't visited Burgess Park since its revamp but friends have told me about the barbecue area & say it seems a great idea & addition which is bringing more visitors to the park. I'm not sure on the park policy regarding music but apparently people are taking along music players & everyone gets into the " carnival mood ", this might be the thing to take-over the annual Southwark Carnival in Southwark Park which has been gradually squeezed out over the past 4-5years (great shame as this event was the highlight of the summer calender...still, Burgess Park is the new place to be in Southwark.