It seems fitting that us writers no longer document, the road less travelled and our explorative global influences, yet look inwardly at our home locational radius.
With as we all know, a ban on international travel, the use of public transport and a limitation to our daily pursuits, accessing our local amenities is imminent now more than ever.
In the days prior to our lockdown, gyms and health clubs would be crammed full of fitness fanatics from early door 6am risers, to the late office dwellers at 10pm, however we have all been urged to turn over a new leaf, and be at one with nature and the fresh air.
To my admittance, the scope of London’s central parks has been my saviour during this time, living centrally in the West End I am very lucky to have discovered such a plethora of greenery and recreational grounds. Each hosting its own harmonious identity, to which I have explored near every piece of turf, hidden walkway and cycle path. If like me you are a central city dweller with a desire to keep active, then these parks will be a knockout for you;
Hyde Park, usually known to most for it convenient pass through from Notting Hill to Kensington, or its host of the infamous Winter Wonderland extravaganza which attracts over 3 million international visitors each year. It is certainly my door-step favourite, from its scenic and picturesque Serpentine River, to the Horse Guards Parade training backyard, I visit daily and haven’t once taken the same route, it offers an abundance of different walks, with a through pass to both Kensington Gardens and Kensington Palace. The scope of its entrants is somewhat obscure and endearing, from figure roller skaters, to rhythmic gymnastics and air-wheelers, its large and grandiose stature attracts explorative athletics for sure!
Regents Park – for my life entirety I have never previously visited the park, or the newly uncovered attraction that is the ZSL London Zoo, usually in the midst of a busy workday I have been many a time to Regents University and never realised it beautiful surroundings. It is neighboured by some of the most historical and impactful real estate in central London, let alone host to some royal park residence with backyard acreage aplenty. It is a personal favourite on a blissful sunny day when I have a few hours spare, with the intricate and hidden bridge walks, to its treeline running tracks, it is always packed with families and has a real sense of community, sometimes I see the same two or three faces week in week out like clockwork, highly recommended to find some clear headspace after a hectic day.
Hampstead Heath – again another new exploration! Homed to surroundings of Billionaire’s Row and mega mansions, it certainly gives off an out of London aura. With a mix of woodland scrub and manicured lawns coupled with an impressive view of London from the Parliament Hill Fields, it is a robust and challenging walk for those looking to delve into its hilly pursuits and depth of forestry. It is also the home of dog walkers, I can admit that I have never seen such abundance of different breeds, so if you are opting for an intimate workout, be aware you will have friend or two sniffing around.
Battersea park, lastly, to what seems a park that holds nostalgic significance, as I have previously lived in and around both Chelsea and Battersea for the last 7 years, before moving to Mayfair less than a year ago. Arguably the most densely populated park, as it is home to many outdoor pursuits, such as the Go Ape treetop rope course, Battersea Park zoo and the millennium arena. It is a great park for exploration and adventure with leafy and beautiful gardens surrounding the fishing lake, however my favourite running trail is along the river strip past the pagoda and along the Chelsea Embankment.