So often major metropolises make you feel like a cog in a machine (or is it just me?). But the ability to enjoy nature and be outside in London is one of its major selling points as a place to live or visit.
For me, it can be as simple and convenient as a stroll along Regent’s Canal, a peaceful stretch of water that snakes its way through London west to east (and eventually empties into the River Thames at Limehouse Basin). There are so many spectacular options for soaking up nature all over the city, so I asked some of my London foodie pals to share their favorites with you:
Asma Khan of the hit Indian restaurant Darjeeling Express in Soho (soon to be featured in the newest season of Netflix’s Chef’s Table!) says, “Maybe because I grew up in a congested city [Kolkata], that you appreciate green grass and the open areas where you can see trees. I love watching the ducks on the ponds! It’s where I switch off and reboot myself. And London has incredible spaces!! Hampstead Heath, Regent’s Park, and Hyde Park are favorites.”
If you want somewhere more specific, cookbook author and TV personality Rachel Khoo tells me, “I love the Serpentine Gallery, followed by a leisurely walk around Hyde Park. It’s great because you can be cultural and enjoy the outdoors!” The best of both worlds.
Cookbook author and blogger Izy Hossack was raised in London, and still lives here, so her nature recommendation comes with a dose of nostalgia and the reality of how to visit it even in the chilly winter months. “My favorite quiet spot is Fulham Palace—I grew up in Fulham so it was local to me. In the summer it’s so nice to sit outside in the gardens or have a wander around. In the winter, I love to cozy up in the cafe which is inside part of the 'palace.' There’s a fireplace, warm drinks, and it’s a relatively calm space to do some work in or have a catch up with a friend.” Now does that sounds lovely, or what?! I’m adding it to my list, too.
When you visit London, enjoy the architecture that has been around for centuries and the cultural activities that you can brag about to your friends, but also be sure to get in a bit of nature—you know, for vacation sanity.
What's your favorite London park? Tell us in the comments below!