It’s finally time to shed our winter coats, hats and gloves. From open air theatre to wildlife expeditions and walks through the roses, here are ten ways to revel in the great outdoors at London’s eight Royal Parks this Spring …
1 Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park
Inside Richmond Park is a 40 acre garden, awash with bluebells, evergreen azaleas and rhododendrons. When Isabelle Plantation comes alive in the spring, Richmond Park will offer a free minibus service every Wednesday from 23 March until 26 October, so that guests can tour the whole Isabella Plantation. It’s perfect for snapping breathtaking photos or a simply enjoying the ride.
2 Field Studies Council sessions, various parks
There will be a few free drop-in sessions from the Field Studies Councils in various Royal Parks this Spring. 21 March in Greenwich Park by the playground, 23 March in Bushy Park by The Pheasantry Café, and 24 March in The Regent’s Park by The Ready Money Fountain, there will be free activities for visitors to try out tree tracking, bird watching, pond dipping and more, so Londoners can get to know their favorite parks.
3 Pelican tour, St James’s Park
The Royal Parks Foundation is holding a special £5 pelican tour in St. James’s Park. 13 April, they’ll host an afternoon stroll through one of London’s most iconic and beautiful parks to see the pelicans who have lived there since 1664 when the Russian Ambassador presented some to King Charles II. At the same time, it’s an opportunity to learn the history of famous London spots such as The Mall and Horse Guards Parade.
4 Virgin Money London Marathon, Greenwich and St James’s Parks
The Virgin Money London Marathon is a hardy 26.2 miles. On 24 April, they’re supporting various charities by running from Greenwich Park to The Mall in St. James’s Park. From some second-hand adrenaline, perhaps drop in early in the morning to see the marathoners off in Greenwich Park, or, later, see the winners crowned on podiums in St. James’s Park.
5 Rose Garden, Hyde Park
Hyde Park’s secluded Rose Garden is in the south east corner, where traditional roses are cultivated to be shown off every year. There, visitors can find seasonal flower beds, beautiful fountains and a grand pergola, all under the sweet scent of roses. The roses typically begin to bloom in mid May, and are perfect by June. Then, by the Serpentine Lake is the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen for a relaxing lunch overlooking the park.
6 Dawn chorus, various parks
All of London’s eight Royal Parks are home to a wide variety of wildlife. As the trees flush green again, Woodpeckers start drumming, Nuthatches start calling and Chiff Chaffs start singing. They sing most frequently at sunrise, which is called a dawn chorus. In Hyde Park 8 May, the Royal Parks Foundation will be leading a sunrise walk through the most wooded area of Hyde Park to hear the dawn chorus at its best.
7 Celebrate the blossom at Chestnut Sunday
Bushy Park is celebrating chestnut Sunday on 8 May. A tradition with roots in Victorian times, this is an annual celebration of the new blossoms on the horse chestnut trees. With a parade through Chestnut Avenue with horses, military vehicles and classic cars, live music, historical re-enactments and fairground rides, Chestnut Sunday is a unique, exciting day out of the house.
8 Wildlife expeditions, Brompton Cemetery
Brompton Cemetery is home to a multitude of animals and BioBlitz is holding a special event there on 27 and 28 May, so that visitors can help discover them. This information will generate biodiversity information about the Grade 1 listed garden cemetery which can be used for conversation efforts in the future. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
9 British Summer Time, Hyde Park
Presented by Barclaycard, the long-awaited British Summer Time festival returns to Hyde Park this July. Confirmed artists for 2016 include Stevie Wonder, Massive Attack, Carole King, Take That, Florence & The Machine, Kendrick Lamar and Mumford and Sons with more acts to be announced.
10 The Open Air Theatre, The Regent’s Park
From May to September, the famous Open Air Theatre of Regent’s Park is open. They’re presenting a wide variety of shows, starting with an adaption of Michael Morpugo’s children’s novel ‘Running Wild,’ the tale of a little boy surviving in the Indonesian jungle. There will also be performances of Shakespeare’s Henry V, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar, and Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.
For more information, see royalparks.org.uk