Sometimes the simplest dates are the most romantic. No need for a fancy restaurant or swanky bar—with a walk in the park, it’s all about the conversation, about being totally present with this lovely new person in your life. There really are few better places to get to know someone than in the Great Outdoors. And few cities boast as many fabulous walks as London, with green spaces abounding and crisp fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of life in the capital.
Strap on some appropriate footwear, don your finest attire for strolling and prepare to swoon al fresco. Enjoy the sights and smells and bask in the sun, with plenty of space for discretion as you get to know this new potential love interest. Here are our top 5 romantic parks in London.
1. Regent’s Park
Every park in London has its own distinct character and beauty, but even then Regent’s Park stands out as spectacular. The park’s varied hedgerows offer intimate surroundings and sheltered spots away from prying eyes, as well as vast expanses of green just crying out to host a wholesome summer’s picnic. Regent’s Park is renowned for its unparalleled combination of wide open spaces and tree-lined pathways, along with elegant flowerbeds, formal gardens and duck-inhabited boating lake. There’s wildlife at every turn, including by virtue of the large wetland which over 100 species of birds call home.
Why not make Regent’s Park part of a grander day out? Just around the corner are both the Open Air Theatre and London Zoo! Now that really would be a first date to remember…
Be sure to check out the Secret Garden in the park’s Inner Circle. Through an unmarked gate and down a mysterious tunnel draped in wisteria you’ll find gorgeous statues, well-kept lawns and benches galore. And if it’s in season, make sure to check out the incredible rose garden, too!
2. Greenwich Park
Time may well stand still as you stroll this epic green space over in the east of the capital—rather appropriate, really, given your proximity to Greewnich’s Meridian Line, dividing earth into its eastern and western hemispheres by way of Greenwich Mean Time. Overlooking the Thames and home to some of the capital’s most stupendous vistas, Greenwich Park is an incredible mix of 17th century landscapes, gorgeous gardens and a history so rich it actually stretches back to Roman times.
Greenwich Park’s hilltop views of the city skyline comprising endless Palladian architecture are utterly breathtaking, and if you head there late you’ll find bountiful opportunities to gaze up at the stars as well—or you could even go all out and do that from within the Peter Harrison Planetarium! The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College is a joy to behold, too, and if the heavens open you can always nip into the covered market to browse a myriad of fascinating wares. Follow in the footsteps of great kings and queens of yore, meandering through ancient avenues of gnarled trees and tranquil rose gardens, and soak in every moment of this seriously special first date.
3. Kyoto Garden
Set in the midst of West London’s 22-hectare Holland Park is this vivid Japanese garden, a pocket of peace and serenity replete with stone lanterns, stunning peacocks, Japanese maple trees, a tiered waterfall, a pond of koi carp—and a sense of genuine quietude, so yearned for by so many in the hustle and bustle of London life. Kyoto Garden opened in 1991, and was in fact a gift from the eponymous city to commemorate the longstanding friendship between Japan and the UK. Today, the garden isn’t just popular for its lush green spaces and exotic plant life, but also for the tastefully designed Fukushima Memorial Garden, created to represent the gratitude felt by the people of Japan toward all those Brits who so selflessly supported them during the country’s 2011 disaster. Head to the Kyoto Garden for an escape from the tribulations of city living. Sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side—as you and your date will soon find out.
4. Primrose Hill
For the more traditionally romantic among ye, Primrose Hill is a down-to-earth delight both day and night, ideal for an afternoon stroll or an evening picnic.
The atmosphere is wonderful all year round, but especially in the summer, as Londoners and tourists alike flock to the hill for unbeatable views across the capital, distant twinkles the perfect lighting for a romantic evening just the two of you.
And don’t forget your picnic, especially that extra blanket and cheeky bottle of fizz! In this little spot of serenity away from North London’s madness, all you’ll want to do is chat, cuddle, and bask in the simple beauty of your green surroundings.
5. Syon Park
Syon Park is home to the exquisite Syon House, located just beyond Kew Gardens and just as awe-inspiring in person as it is in photos. In fact, the house is one of the last architectural wonders of its kind, and has been in the family of the present owners for over four centuries.
Syon House boasts grand classical interiors, a wealth of artworks and a fabulous glass conservatory, from which you and your beautiful date can sit in splendour while taking in the epic expanse that is Syon Park. That being said, the park is actually relatively small as far as London parks go, but it packs a lot into that space: numerous gardens, unusual water meadows, lush parkland and an awesome arboretum.
Complete with a fascinating visitor centre and any number of gorgeous gardens, Syon Park really is the whole package, and the perfect place to wander for untold hours with your date in an oasis of calm where history comes to life. There are few better places to truly get to know one another, away from prying eyes and the noisy cityscape.
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