Parks and Gardens, London
Turnham Green is in the West London Borough of Chiswick and is a small park surrounded by shops on one side and the city hall on the other. In the park you will find the beautiful Christ Church, a War Memorial, and sometimes charity events are held here.
In 1235 the village was referred to as Turneham and later as Turnehamgrene and in 1642 the Battle of Turnham Green took place during the first English civil war when Parliamentarians blocked the King's advance on London.
This is a triangular 8 acre park surrounded by shops and roads near a busy intersection in West London. Shepherds Bush Green which was recorded as early as 1635 was possibly named because shepherds used to rest their flock there on the way to Smithfield Market. At The turn of the 20th century the local member of parliament was disgusted to see the park becoming the home of the destitute and unemployed who were sleeping rough. There are plans to redevelop the green but they have been delayed due to high levels of arsenic found in the soil by building contractors.
There is a beautiful Peace Pagoda in Battersea park - The London Peace Pagoda. It was built by monks and nuns and followers of the Nipponzan Myohoji. It was inaugurated on the 14th of May 1985. It is beautifully decorated with golden statues of Buddha.
Nipponzan Myohoji presented the London Peace Pagoda to the people of London to celebrate the 1984 GLC Peace Year.
The Peace Pagoda is dedicated to the realisation of Universal Peace. May that come true one day - Universal Peace.
The Nagasaki Day commemoration Floating Lantern Ceremony takes place by the Peace Pagoda on the 9th of August every year. And the annual celebration of the Peace Pagoda takes place in mid June.
I thought the Peace Pagoda deserved a special tip. I don´t think many visitors to London know that it exists or go down to Battersea. I stayed by Battersea Park on four of my visits to London, as an Icelandic woman was renting out rooms there. That is how I found out about the Peace Pagoda.
Grosvenor Gardens, located not far from Victoria Station in Knightsbridge, is one of London’s many, many green spaces that provides the otherwise dense city with an airy feeling. The gardens are triangular in shape and seem to be put into to suit the buildings, rather than the other way around, but they nonetheless help to inspire a bit more of relaxed feeling to an otherwise busy part of the metropolis. In the centre of the gardens you will find a statue dedicated to Maréchal Foch, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces towards the end of the First World War, and this is the only statue in London dedicated to a French person.
People that know the Kings Cross area of London know that it is a very busy, bustling [lace with it's mainline and international rail stations, several tube stations, appalling traffic congestion and all the rest of it but a little walk form the main area will bring you to what is a lovely little oasis of peace and tranquility, the quiet only punctuated by the laughter of children playing. This place is the Calthorpe Project, a delightful urban garden space and community facility and it is not only delightful, it is an excellent example of community action against unlimited development.
In 1984 the land was earmarked for yet more development and somehow or another (I am not exactly sure of the legal process) the local residents managed to get hoold of the site and turn it, purely by volunteer labour, ito the community gardens, community centre and playing areas you have today. It is a great little spot and much patronised by local people. The community centre cafe is open on Sunday from 1200 - 1700 for light refreshments although the gardens themselves are open during daylight hours. There are allotments for open people, a performance area, basketball hoops etc. etc. There is also a small garden centre where you can buy flowers and plants grown by the volunteers here. It is also fully accessible for wheelchairs and there is an accessible toilet onsite. Admission is free.
I love this place and really do recommend you visit if you are in the area.
Over 55,000 aircrew from UK, Commonwealth, Czechoslovalia and Poland as well as some civilians lost their lives during the 2nd World War but had to wait many years until 2012 when the Queen officially opened this memorial in Green Park near Hyde Park Corner. The photograph was taken outside green Park but the monument is best seen from inside Green Park. Donations funded the construction of the Memorial which is built in Portland Stone.
There are many parks in or around London to visit. most of the parks have amenities, trees, flowers and birds, so i just thought that a list of London parks might be appreciated by VT tourists.
Bushy Park , Teddington--445 hectares, over 300 deer and horse riding
Greenwich Park --74 hectares, deer and World Heritage Site with Prime Meridian Line and Royal Observatory
Hyde Park --142 hectares, lakes, sports, flower gdns, trees, buildings and monuments, Speaker's Corner.
Kensington Gdns--100 hectares, playgrounds, Italian gardens, Albert Memorial, Kensington Palace
Regents Park--166 hectares, sports, playground, lake, boating, wildlife, gardens restaurants, buildings
Richmond Park--1000 hectares, woodlands, hills, trees, cycling, plants, animals, butterflies
St James's Park--23 hectares, the Mall, ceremonies
Crystal Palace Park--model dinosaurs, playground, sports centre, concert stage
Morden Hall Park--meadows, wetlands, waterways, roses and historical buildings
Bedfonts Lakes Country Park--new park , lakes, woodlands, meadows, and an old waste tip that has over 300 plants and 140 bird species
If you are on the Southwest side of Tower Brigdge (i.e. the side opposite the Tower of London and heading towards the city) you will see an open space clearly signed as Potter's Fields. This place is a delightful park and has been extensively redeveloped. It may look as if it is slightly untended but I am told the "wild" look is entirely deliberate and I rather like it. So why Potter's Field? Well, it is not a place where potters gathered to work or sell their merchandise, as you may think. In accordance with a Biblical quotation from the Book of Matthew, a potter's field was a place for the burial of strangers, indigent people or unknown bodies. Don't panic, it is a very pleasant place now and not at all spooky.
I mentioned photos and Potter's Fields offers some of the best views of Tower Bridge and you can also get a good shot of the City Hall building (the off-centre "gherkin") as well as watching the life on the river going past. Well worth a visit and best of all, it's free!
Duck Island Cottage -"A Swiss Chalet for a British Birdkeeper," well, that is what the sign said!
What a pretty lodge, and yes, it was situated in a good position for Bird Watching. Situated beside the lake, I imagine many water Birds would call this area home, I did see some.
Years ago, the island was encircled by canals, this is how it became known as 'Duck Island." Wouldn't you love the post the King bestowed on his friend, 'Governor of Duck Island'- a paid job with little work involved.
Later, it was developed into a water-garden, this was when William III built the first Duck Island Cottage - a 'tea house' becoming known as 'one of the most enchanting summer retreats imaginable ... a paradise in miniature.'
These days, it is used as the offices of the London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust in St James's Park.
The Crystal Palace was originally erected in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851. The Palace was created by Joseph Paxton who was knighted for his efforts. The length was 1,850 feet (3 times the length of St Paul’s cathedral) and the height 110 feet.
Over 6 million people visited the exhibition that contained 14,000 exhibitors displaying 100,000 exhibits from around the world. It was open for six months.
Inside the building alongside the exhibits was a massive elm tree with a 27 foot crystal fountain underneath.
After the exhibition the public wanted the Crystal Palace to remain in Hyde Park but it wasn’t to be. The construction was dismantled in 1852 and reassembled at Sydenham hill in south London. It was opened to the public in 1854 as a museum.
The grounds in which it stood featured fountains and a collection of models of full size prehistoric animals. Firework displays, funfairs, football cup finals and other events also took place in the grounds.
Famous water towers designed by Isambard kingdom Brunel were also built here.
The building caught fire and burned down in November 1936.
The Italian terraces are all that are left of the Crystal Palace building.
A model of the palace can be seen at the Museum of London.
Bushy is the second largest Royal Park, with an area of 445 hectares (1,099 acres). Located to the north of Hampton Court Palace, and is home to around 320 free-roaming deer. Cycling allowed on roads, horse-riding permitted on rough grass. This historic parkland, with grassland, ancient trees, woodlands, ponds and streams, supports a rich diversity of fungi, plants and animals.
Open: Daily for pedestrians, for vehicles 06.30-dusk (19.00 in winter).
To my mind, one of Central London's greatest attractions is the amount of space given over to public parks. They seem to me to be the 'safety valve' that helps to keep the teeming mass of humanity halfway sane, and provide a welcome retreat in which a footsore, culturally overloaded tourist can take refuge.
I like lots of things about London parks, especially the fact that you are allowed to sit on the grass (unless otherwise indicated): people watching over a sunny lunch time when office workers expose pasty limbs and torsos to the sky in search of a tan is enormous fun (even though you may need to keep on your sunglasses to cope with the glare of such expanses of exposed whiteness ;). Indeed, I like the fact that parks in Britain (and the former Colonies) are dominantly grass - I have never managed to warm to the French idea of gravelled parks (which, apart from any aesthetic consideration, are murder on shoe heels). And of course I love the wildlife: even the scampering grey squirrels, despite the fact that they are bullysome aliens who have pushed the native red squirrel to the brink of extinction throughout most of Britain.
I also really enjoy the monuments and memorials (featured under several of my other travel tips) as well as the purpose-built structures such as clocks and bandstands. These tend to be Victorian and designed in a functional but slightly frivolous style, and are genteel relics of a bygone age that remind you that parks have been an integral part of London life for centuries.
One of the highlights of a visit to one of London's many parks - especially if you have kids in tow - is feeding the birds. A surprising number of species have happily adapted to the urban environment, and as well as the usual water birds (swans, geese, ducks, coots and moorhens), there should be a range of garden birds, including starlings, blackbirds, sparrows, crows and various *** (and yes, before you accuse me of crudeness, this is a technical term - they come in blue, great, coal, marsh, bearded, willow and long-tailed varieties!). And, of course, the ubiquitous pigeons.
The better organised among us will come well prepared with bread to feed the ducks, whereas more disorganised souls are cajoled into sharing our lunch. Just be sure that you're not feeding the birds titbits that are indigestible to them and try not to feed pigeons at all, as, harsh though it might sound, they are winged vermin and most big cities are actively trying to curb their numbers.
A word of caution: the ducks, geese and swans in most London parks are very habituated to humans and aren't at all scared of people. Swans in particular are strong and can be pushy beasts when there's food on offer - as the photo shows, a swan at full stretch is taller than a toddler - and they can give you a very nasty nip, so rather drop the food on the ground and make sure that kids are under supervision. The only reason why I was handfeeding this one was that I had heavy duty ski gloves on and wanted a photo to prove the point - as they say in the classics, don't attempt this one at home!
P.S. I am amused that this benign tip appears to have triggered the VT censorship mechanism! For those who can't work out what the asterisked 'obscene' bird name is, it's a three lettered word beginning and ending with 't' that rhymes with 'sit'!
I wish all the big cities have big parks. The locals use them to relax, take oxygen, training etc
Do the same! It's a good opportunity have a picnic there! There are many of them but my favorite are:
HYDE PARK:divided in two by the Serpentine Lake its the most famous park
KENSIGHTON GARDENS:(pics 1-2)next to Hyde Park, many joggers love it
GREENWISH PARK:if you visit Greenwish you will visit this park!
GREEN PARK:(pic 3) big historic park, very central, encompasses Buckingham Palace, the Palace Gardens, the Queen's Gallery etc
REGEND'S PARK: London Zoo is there! It's at the north part of the city, many people love to stroll around there
HAMSTEAD HEATH: not central but go there to enjoy this tree-lined area, great for jogging and the widely spaced hills
ST JAMES:(pic 4) central, smaller than the others, some times you can see concerts, I like the lake with the ducks
East London isn’t the greenest area and doesn’t have as many parks as west London but still there are a lot of nice small and big parks. We spent a wonderful Sunday morning in spirng 2011 checking most of the parks and we really enjoyed it.
London Fields Park (pic 1)
It’s park (31 acres) with a football area, cricket pitch, lido, tennis courts, changing rooms, toilets, children’s play area, and ranger office/information point. We didnt really stay long but we saw many people having picnic here, even having barbeque on the park so we were a bit jealous and went to a nearby store and bought a cheap bottle of wine and drink it there although I would prefer to have the food of the others too :) By the way, on Saturdays there is a open air market with producers coming from other cities. The park was already recorded for hosting cricket games since the early 19th century.
It’s open 24 hours a day
Haggerston Park (pic 2)
It’s a small park (6 hectares) with a lot of facilities (toilets, tennis courts, BMX track, pond, trim trail, football areas etc) but also a children’s playground/center where there are some farm animals and kids get in touch with the farm life (sad that kids in modern cities may never have seen a goat, a sheep or a pig alive!), the atmosphere was lovely with so many kids around screaming loudly in front of the ducks or the donkey! :) There is also a nice café (Frizzante) where parents can relax for a while.
The park was created in 1950 although it took its modern shape in the 1984 when the Hackney City Farm was added.
It’s open daily 7.30-18.30
Weavers Fields (pic 3)
Not really a park but a green open air area that we passed through on our way to Bethnal Green station. There are many immigrants from Bangladesh in the area and they use Weavers Fields to celebrate Baishakhi Mela (Bengali New Year) with music and dances. It was much more peaceful the day we passed from there
Of course this is the most interesting in East London because it is larger (86 hectares) than all the others of the area together. It was opened to the public in 1845 and houses many green areas of course, numerous paths to walk, a lovely lake but also many memorials, fountains and even a pedestrian alcove which is actually a surviving fragment of the old London Bridge!! I don’t have any pics (thanks to low battery of my camera) but we will return there in July and I will take many as we will attend High Voltage Festival that takes places anualy at the end of july. The park hosts many festival during the summer period.