Want To Sunbathe, Relax and Drink at Midday This Summer?
By Sophia Moss (follow Sophia on Twitter: @EndlessMoss)
Summer is finally here, and in Britain, that means the legs are out, the beers are bought and we are heading out to sunbathe and soak up all the vitamin D before the realizes we’re in England and disappears for another six months.
London is full of pubs and fancy rooftop bars, but if you’re broke and you just want to pick up a couple of cans and go relax in a park somewhere then you really couldn’t find a better place than our surprisingly green capital city. Where are the best places in London to drink and sunbathe? Read on to find out!
#10 | Brockwell Park
Brockwell Park has great views of London’s skyline, it has an outdoor swimming pool, a bowling green, a miniature railway and it is home to the Lambeth Country Fair. This Green Flag Awarded park is within easy distance from Brixton, Dulwich, and Herne Hil, and it has plenty of green spaces which are ideal for drinking and sunbathing!
Opening Times: Brockwell Park is open from 7:30 am till 15 minutes before sunset.
Directions: Brockwell Park can be reached from Herne Hill overground station and Brixton tube station. It is also served by several local buses including the 68 and the 322.
#9 | Green Park
Green Park is right in the heart of London and its central location means that it’s a great choice for some sunbathing after work and a few cheeky drinks to help regain your sanity! If you work in central London then all you need to do is go to Green Park tube station, walk out and find yourself staring at lush grass and beautiful trees. Greek Park park is also close to Buckingham Palace and many other must-see sights.
Opening Times: Open 24 hours a day
Directions: Green park is right outside Greek Park tube station where you can catch the Jubilee, Victoria, and Piccadilly lines. You can also get there via a short walk from Hyde Park Corner and via several local bus routes.
#8 | Hyde Park
This huge park has everything you could ask for. In the mood for a debate? Head down to Speakers Corner on Sunday to watch (or join in with) the madness. Want to swim? During the summer months you can head down to the Serpentine Lido for some slightly brisk outdoor swimming, and if boating is more of your thing then you can hire a boat for £12 an hour (or £10 for half an hour).
This large park has plenty of secluded spots for sunbathing, it is within walking distance from many shops and awesome deli’s, and it is also home to various summer and winter festivals.
Opening Times: Hyde Park is open from 5 am till midnight all year around.
Directions: Hyde Park is within easy walking distance from Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge and Lancaster Gate tube stations. You can also reach it by many local buses including the 36, 414 and 38. See here for more information.
#7 | Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath is one of London’s most famous and popular green spaces. It’s only 6km from Trafalgar Square and it’s very easy to reach via public transport, but Hampstead Heath will still make you feel like you’re in the countryside.
Hampstead Heath is a great place to sunbath and drink because it’s huge and some parts of the Heath offer great views of the city, but if you’re looking for a more active afternoon then you can try out Hampstead Heath’s open air swimming pools, take part in some of the regular events that are hosted at the Heath, or get back to nature by looking for some of the many animals, plants, and birds which live in Hampstead Heath.
Opening Times: Hampstead Heath is open 24 hours a day.
Directions: Hampstead Heath can be reached from Golders Green, Hampstead, Kentish Town, Hampstead Heath and Gospel Oak tube stations. It can also be reached via several bus services including the 24 and the 268.
#6 | Greenwich Park
This huge and picturesque park is home to the famous meridian line (which represents the prime meridian of the world and is where all lines of longitude are measured from) as well as the Royal Observatory (London’s one and only planetarium), the deer park, beautiful orchards and stunning views of Canary Wharf across the river.
Greenwich park is huge so you’re bound to find a spot to sunbathe, there are several shops in Greenwich where you can buy booze, and there is a large children’s playground if you need to keep the little ones entertained.
Opening Times: Greenwich Park is open from 6 am till 9:30 pm
Directions: Greenwich Park isn’t particularly close to any major tube stations (the closest is North Greenwich which then requires a 15-20 minute bus ride), but it is close to Cutty Sark DLR, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Blackheath overground train lines, and several local buses including the 177 and the 53.
#5 | Primrose Hill
Primrose Hill used to be a great place to dual and fight, but today it’s better known for the fabulous views of London’s skyline. Primrose Hill is just around the corner from Camden town which makes it the perfect place to escape from the huge crowds, and it’s great if you need to collapse and drink after a day out at ZSL London Zoo.
Primrose hill has some truly stunning views of London’s skyline, there are loads of green areas to drink and sunbathe, and as it’s a (fairly) steep hill you can get a free workout should you choose to climb to the top.
Opening Times: Primrose Hill is open all day except on Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve.
Directions: Primrose Hill is a short walking distance from Camden Town tube station.
#4 | Regents Park
Regents Park is one of London’s most famous and beautiful green areas. This park may feel a little too classy for cheap beer, but there are loads of green and secluded areas where you can sit back, unwind and enjoy some sun in one of London’s most beautiful areas.
Regents Park has an open air theatre, it contains 400 different types of roses, it hosts a huge sports area, there is a large children’s playground, and it is right next to ZSL London Zoo if you want to try and spot some of the animals through the fence!
Opening Times: The opening times for Regents Park vary from 5:am-16:30 pm in winter to 5:am-21:30 pm in the summer.
Directions: Regents Park is within easy walking distance from Regents Park, Great Portland Street, Camden Town and Baker Street tube stations as well as various bus routes.
#3 | Victoria Park
Victoria Park is London’s oldest public park, but as it’s a little out of the way it is sometimes left out of these types of lists. Victoria Park is a popular festival destination and during the summer months it will be full of events, but it is still a great place to relax, sunbath and drink if you’re not feeling the large crowds and overpriced bars.
There are sports grounds and tennis courts for the more athletic among you. This park also serves as a handy link between Limehouse, Mile End and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Opening Times: 7 am till Dusk
Directions: The nearest tube is Mile End, you can also reach the park from Hackney Wick or Cambridge Heath rail stations, and it is served by the 277 and 425 buses.
#2 | Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace Park is one of London’s weirder and most famous parks. Crystal Palace was originally used as a Victorian pleasure ground, and it is best known for its collection of not entirely scientifically accurate dinosaur models.
This park is great if you’re into dinosaurs/weird Instagram photos, but it also has a lot of green space perfect for sunbathing, it has a children’s farm and playground, there’s a maze to get lost in and they also hold a lot of outdoor concerts in the park during the summer months.
Opening Times: 7:30 am-9:30 PM
Directions: Crystal Palace is a little out of the way, but you can reach it via Crystal Palace rail station on the overground and via several local bus routes.
#1 | St James Park
St James’s Park could give Regents Park a run for its money in a beauty contest, but St James’s Park has pelicans so it would probably win. This park close to many of London’s biggest tourist attractions and it’s a great place to escape for lunch, sunbathing or drinks after work.
St James’s Park’s central location means it has some great views of the city, it has loads of grassy areas and it’s own deck chairs so you can soak up the sun in comfort, and the famous ‘Duck Island’ is a must if you like pelicans but you don’t want to pay zoo prices to see them.
Opening Times: 5:am-Midnight
Directions: St James’s Park is really big and so you can reach it from Charing Cross, Westminster, St.James’s Park, Green Park or Victoria tube stations as well as various local bus services.