Everyone who lives in a city sooner or later finds it necessary to spend some time closer to nature. Parks and green spaces are the lungs of the city where you can walk the dog, practice some sport or just take a leisurely stroll. Below, we have collected the top 5 city parks, which we think are exceptionally good places for a quick escape from the city traffic and smog.
- Richmond Park (London)
Richmond Park is not only the largest of the London Royal Parks but also the second largest urban walled park in the UK. The park is famous for its wildlife, especially for red and fallow deer that roam freely around. It also contains beautiful buildings and The Royal Ballet School has been based there for many years. Another building in the park, Pembroke Lodge, was used as his home by Lord John Russell (and childhood home of his grandson Bertrand Russell). The highest point of Richmond Park is King Henry VIII’s Mound from where you can admire a protected view of St Paul’s Cathedral or even use a telescope for a better experience. In the 13th century, the park was called Manor of Sheen and its name was changed to Richmond during Henry VII’s reign. In 17th century, Charles I moved his court to Richmond Palace to avoid the plague in London and also turned the area into a park for red and fallow deer.
2. Heaton Park (Manchester)
Heaton Park is said to be the largest municipal park in Europe, taking up space of over 650 acres and including a 10 acres boating lake, a full size golf course (which is available to anyone) and even a tramway passing through. It’s got impressive gardens and a “Pets Corner”, which is a great attraction for visitors. You can see a large variety of animals and even give horse riding a try. Heaton Park was designed by William Emes, a student of famous Lancelot “Capability” Brown. Another attraction of the park is the neoclassical 18th century country house, Heaton Hall, which was remodelled in 1772 and is now used as a museum and events venue.
3. Pollock Country Park (Glasgow)
Located just 3 miles in the south west of the city, Pollock Country Park was originally part of the Old Pollock Estate owned by Maxwell Family for more than seven centuries. In 1966, the family gave the estate to Glasgow Corporation under the condition to keep it as a public park. The park contains the Burrell Collection, a purpose-built building holding a large collection of art and antiques of William Burrell who donated the entire collection to the City of Glasgow. Before building the M77 motorway, the Pollock Park was the largest urban green space in Europe. Moreover, in 2007 it was acclaimed the best park in Britain and a year later it was named Best Park in Europe, which was definitely an impressive result taking into account very strong competition from countries like Italy, France or Germany.
4. Sefton Park (Liverpool)
Sefton Park, which has been declared a Grade II Historic Park, is not only a public park but also a district of the same name in south Liverpool. Its design is based on circular and oval footpaths, framing the green spaces and two natural watercourses flowing into the beautiful boating lake.
Although the area has been one of main green spaces of Liverpool for many centuries, Sefton Park was officially opened in 1872 by Prince Arthur who dedicated it “for health and enjoyment of the townspeople”. There are plenty of charming Victorian buildings and statues in the park, but the most popular attraction is definitely the glass Palm House, containing plant specimens from around the world.
5. Royal Victoria Park (Bath)
Below the Royal Crescent and stretching over 57 acres, Royal Victoria Park in Bath has something to offer for everyone, regardless of age. The Park was designed in 1829 and formally opened in 1830. It was named after the 11 year old Princess Victoria (the first park to carry her name), who was visiting Bath at the time. It contains a superb collection of trees, there are some fine Ornaments, a bird aviary, beautiful bedding displays, a boating pond, tennis courts, a bowling green, and 12 and 18 hole approach golf courses. A pond provides the perfect place to float model boats and the old park tradition of duck feeding.