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Just the other day, it was declared that another London Park was set to close amid the flagrant disregard for the social distancing rules that a small handful of selfish people displayed while getting their barb-e on during the rare ray of spring sunshine that the UK received earlier this week. I'm just as annoyed that the sun decided to taunt us during a lockdown, but a barbecue? during a lockdown? when people are dying? really?
Luckily, for the majority of us Londoners there are still a number of local parks in easy reach to get our daily run. I don't even like running, but beats the mental exercise of loosing my mind that would take place if I stayed at home all day.
A Lawyer in her previous life, the copious hours of scrutinising law text books, case law and wikipedia have resulted in the birth of a creature, whose capability to research into the paths less trodden, surpasses most seasoned travellers.
How long they will stay open, largely depends on us. The National Trust has already closed many of its parks due to the groups and crowds of tourists (countryside and coastal parks at the time of writing are still open. For now) and further measures such as closing car parks have been enforced in areas of the Peak District. If you decide to visit any of the parks on this list, at the very least stick to the rules that the government have been put in place, try to visit during non-peak hours (early hours before 8am seem to be the quietest) and above all, let it be a reminder not to take for granted the amount of freedom we have been afforded for the majority of our lives.
In no particular order:
Definitely not the largest park on the list, this aspect however doesn't take away from the beauty and functionality of the park. With plenty of bike lanes/walking paths which spiral around some pretty scenes including small duck and fishing ponds, this is an ideal escape for south west Londoners based in Clapham or Wandsworth to have their daily workouts.
Queen Elizabeth Park
Nearby Victoria Park as of yesterday was closed, but thankfully the Queen Elizabeth Park remains open. Originally built for the 2012 Summer Olympics and the Paralympics, situated to the east of the city adjacent to the Stratford City development, is a large 560 acre park in which you can bring out you inner olympian by trying your hand at marathon running, cycling or even hiking (not a sport, but you get what we mean). With a nearby canal and loads of open parklands teeming with wildlife, your eyes won't get bored either.
One of my favourite parks not only due to its gianormic size, but also because of its friendly deer population. When you get tired of humans sneezing and coughing without covering their mouths, this is the park to head to - the deer are pretty respectful, considering all things. The largest of London's Royal Parks, it is of national and international importance for wildlife conservation. However, if you're not from the borough, it may be best to stay away. The Council have already closed down vehicle access roads leading to the park to deter tourists and its probably best that we all adhere to such restrictions (no matter how frustrated we grow of our fellow humans).
Host of the famous Bushy Park Run that takes place every Saturday, or at least used to, before the outbreak and lockdown, the lack of running partners shouldn't deter you from visiting if you live close by. Covering over 5,000 acres of parkland, keeping to the 2 meter social distancing rules, should be a cinch! Linked to Hampton Court Palace by the Longford River, Bushy Park is famed for its mix of waterways, gardens and grassland, and like the nearby Richmond park, roaming herds of red and fallow deer.
I know what you're thinking - I'm sure anyone wealthy enough to live near Hyde Park would have acres of their own back garden to run around in. But I would be remiss not to mention it, given that surprisingly, the park is still very much open. This is despite a close call, due to an influx of tourists and Londoners gathering, that threatened the closure of all Royal Parks. Instead what we currently have is an extremely large park, with the majority if not all of its facilities closed down. You can also expect more of a heavy police presence/monitoring as any large gatherings will be immediately dispersed. Still, if you're looking to get a more rigorous workout, not much will beat a bike ride weaving through London traffic to eventually do a circuit around Hyde Park.
Have you ever visited any of these places or have plans to? And how you coping during the lockdown? Let us know below 🙂
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