Why is being surrounded by nature great for our mind & body?
Being among nature is incredible for our mental and physical state! Most of our lives are spent in front of the TV, laptops, computers and smart phones and this isn’t good for our bodies as it can lead to physical issues such as eyestrain and being able to concentrate on more important tasks and life issues. This is basic but crucial information especially for parenting, that will help children early on during child development to have less problems as they are growing up. Many studies have shown that spending time in nature lowers blood pressure, stress levels, anxiety and feelings of isolation. In nature environments, our immune system improves, our self-esteem increases and we feel calmer and in a much better mood. So since nature has lots of benefits for us, here are 10 beautiful parks or nature places in London to visit!
Our Mindful Dreams notebooks are also an excellent way to promote self-awareness, gratitude and mindfulness in you and your little ones. Take your journals with you when visiting these parks and write down your thoughts and feelings as well as the things you and your child are thankful for, while surrounded by the beautiful environment.
1. Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath is one of the most breath-taking parks surrounded by flowers, trees and many forests to explore. It’s very popular and has visitors from all over the world. It feels like a mystical adventure which would be even more fun for kids! It’s a huge park where you can do many different things such as going bike riding or taking your dog for a walk. A great activity for children is swimming in the lido for free during the warm season where they can have lots of fun splashing around. There’s plenty of spots in this park to have a lovely family picnic such as the top of Parliament Hill where you can watch the magnificent views of London.
2. Holland Park
With lots of amazing wildlife like ducks and peacocks, Holland Park is the perfect park to visit with its large areas of woodland. The Japanese ‘Kyoto Gardens’ is one of the main attractions of this park and reasons for it’s incredible beauty with the waterfalls and abundance of flowers and trees. The Adventure Playground in Holland Park with fun features like climbing frames and a climbing wall as well as an enclosed playing area great for your toddler or for crawling babies.
3. Richmond Park
Richmond Park is full of fascinating wildlife that you can witness from a close distance such as red and fallow deer, birds, bats, fungi and wildflowers! It is also extremely popular for dog walkers. This park gives families the opportunity to explore the large green spaces and go for a peaceful walk among the woodland or bike-riding on the cycling path. After enjoying the fresh air, kids can enjoy some time in the playgrounds with lots of features like a sandpit.
4. London Wetland Centre
Located in Barnes, the London Wetland Centre is the best place to take a stroll on beautiful walkways, lakes and gardens and discovering amazing creatures around such as bats, butterflies, water voles, birds and lots more! This is a great opportunity for people to connect with nature and for kids to connect with animals such as watching otters during their feeding time and viewing wild birds through the hides. Immerse yourselves in nature by wandering through reeds and stepping logs as well as the wobbly rope bridge!
5. Greenwich Park
Home to wonderful wildlife like foxes, birds and deer, Greenwich Park is a large open green space with ancient trees. Lie down and relax in the grass at the top of the hill overlooking incredible views of the River Thames. Invite your friends with children and your kids can have play dates in the playground featuring sand and water play, a roundabout, swings and more! You can also have a picnic while your kids have fun with our awesome printables, using these funky shaped crayons to draw and colour in!
6. Crane Park Island
Crane Park Island is a nature reserve in Richmond with stunning woodland, scrub and reedbed and lots of wildlife like dragonflies, foxes, toads and herons! Enjoy the nature trail with the family taking in the fresh air or taking your dog for a walk. A fun activity for kids is taking rubbings of the brass posts along the paths through the reserve to really get them engaged in their surroundings.
7. Camley Street Natural Park
This 2-acre nature reserve is a wildlife haven with beautiful creatures to spot like dragonflies, butterflies, bats and birds, away from the bustle of London. Engage in nature-related activities like pond-dipping or a supervised bug hunt which kids will absolutely love! Sit and relax in the Wildwood café and enjoy a hot drink or have a family picnic on the warmer days while watching the nature around you! This scavenger hunt printable is the perfect activity to also take with you for your kids to complete!
8. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of the most well-known parks in London. It features a meadow, a large lake and stunning ornamental flower gardens. The impressive Rose Garden provides a surreal sensory experience with the scented roses and seasonal flower beds especially during the Summer. Children can enjoy boating on the Serpentine on the pedal boats and feeling the fresh air as they ride along the water with the surrounding views of the nature.
9. Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens has a chicken allotment and is home to lots of wonderful wildlife, trees and magnificent flower beds. Kids will love to explore the Princess Memorial playground inspired by the famous children’s story of Peter Pan! This playground is a child’s fantasy dream to board the pirate ship and wander through the Elfin Oak which is an oak tree carved with goblins, elves, fairies, animals, witches and birds. Let their imagination go wild with these fairytale themed printables that they can take with them and colour in!
10. Creekside Discovery Centre
This nature and wildlife centre is located next to a tidal tributary of the river Thames and manages Deptford Creek since it’s home to urban wildlife. A great place for families to explore nature together and take part in activities like a guided low tide walk where you can splash around and get muddy but enjoy yourselves at the same time. Discover a wide variety of aquatic habitats and wildlife with species of wildflower and invertebrates and gaze at the astonishing creatures.
There you have it!
London is a huge city with an endless number of parks and nature-related places to discover but we have narrowed the long list to 10 places that we think are the most beautiful places to visit. Any of these 10 places will give you a wonderful and memorable experience that is unforgettable. It’s very beneficial to create a habit for your children to take some time away from technology and the everyday busy city life every now and again so they truly appreciate the beauty of our planet and its uniqueness. You can also incorporate some crafts for kids in these parks by simply taking a picnic blanket, printables and some pens or crayons and letting your kids get creative outside of their home!
We hope you have found this list useful and let us know in the comments below if you visited these places because of our suggestion!