Although the current heatwave has turned many of our favourite green spaces in London rather yellowy-brown in colour, it no doubt won't be long until the rain once again falls and returns them to their usual deep green. Meanwhile, they still provide the perfect escape from the bustle and heat of the city. Read on to discover where to head for a little slice of greenery in the urban jungle of London.
Set in north-west London, Regent's Park boasts wide open spaces; formal gardens, and, most notably, London Zoo, which is home to 760 different species, making this a fantastic spot for a family day out. Within the park are Queen Mary's Gardens, which feature London's largest collection of roses (there are approximately 12,000 within the gardens), which are at their best in early June. Throughout the summer you can also enjoy the park's open air theatre, which shows plays, music, comedy and films. Just north of the park, head up to Primrose Hill for fantastic views of the London skyline.
Located right next to Buckingham Palace, Green Park is perfect for combining with a trip to watch the Changing of the Guards or a visit inside the States Rooms of the Palace (if visiting between July and September). The park is particularly beautiful in the spring as it becomes a sea of yellow with around one million daffodils in bloom. On certain special royal occasions, such as on the Queen's official birthday, you can see the Royal Gun Salutes in Green Park - a very special experience for any Royalist. If the sun is shining, you can simply hire a deckchair and lie back and watch the world go by.
Right in the heart of London, and the largest of the city's Royal Parks, Hyde Park is a must visit on any trip to the capital. Go for an open water swim in the Serpentine or hire rowing or pedal boats, and you'll soon forget that you're in London at all. For a less energetic activity, sit and enjoy a coffee in a waterside café, visit the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain or just take a stroll and explore the park. There are always events taking place in Hyde Park, particularly during the summer months, so be sure to look into what's on before your visit to London. Hyde Park is also home to Speakers' Corner, a spot which has been famous for protests and demonstrations since the mid 1800's. Head here on a Sunday morning and you can often still see crowds gathering to express their views.
Battersea Park is great for a family day out, with big open spaces, Battersea Park Children's Zoo and GoApe, a tree top high rope adventure. For lovely views of the Thames, walk along the river bank with the park on one side and the river, with views of the Chelsea Embankment, on the other. Along the way, stop off to admire the London Peace Pagoda, which is there to promote world peace and harmony, creating the perfect spot for a quiet moment of reflection. Continue wandering around the park and you can admire the walled gardens, the pretty bandstand and various fountains along the way.
Hampstead Heath is the ultimate spot to feel like you've truly escaped the city - it is one of London's best places for wildlife and the rambling hills make it perfect for a long walk. While here, visit the stately home of Kenwood House on the edge of the Heath, one of London's hidden gems, with beautiful interiors filled with artwork and fantastic landscaped gardens. The Heath features three open-air public swimming pools, including a women's only pool, perfect for cooling off on a hot day. For stunning views of the city's skyline, walk up Parliament Hill, where you can see the modern buildings of the City of London compared to the historic landmarks such as the dome of St Paul's Cathedral.