London for free: Days out at five of best Royal Parks in capital

12:25 23 May 2012

Several notable buildings overlook the Green Park including the Ritz Hotel at the Piccadilly end as well as the historical buildings of Spencer House and Clarence House, the London residence of the Prince of Wales. Photo: Anne Marie Briscombe/Royal Parks

Several notable buildings overlook the Green Park including the Ritz Hotel at the Piccadilly end as well as the historical buildings of Spencer House and Clarence House, the London residence of the Prince of Wales. Photo: Anne Marie Briscombe/Royal Parks

Anne Marie Briscombe/Royal Parks

London24 showcases five of the capital’s best open spaces which are all looked after by Royal Parks.

These magnificent parks are great places to enjoy a picnic with friends (when the weather is nice) or simply to spend a bit of time getting away from the hustle and bustle of London life.

Bushy Park

About: Located north of Hampton Court Palace in south-west London, it is the second largest of London's royal parts at 1,100 acres.

Park fact: The rules of field hockey originated at Bushy Park in the 19th century.

Key feature: The Diana Fountain at the junction of Chestnut and Lime Avenues features a bronze statue said to represent Arethusa.

Green Park

About: The 47-acre park is surrounded by Constitution Hill, Piccadilly and the Broad Walk, and sits next door to Buckingham Palace.

Park fact: Green Park was a duelling ground until the late 17th century.

Key feature: Just outside Green Park is the Queen Victoria Memorial, including the central monument by Sir Thomas Brock.

Kensington Gardens

About: Originally part of Hyde Park, the 260-acre Kensington Gardens is home to Kensington Palace, where Queen Victoria was born and Princess Diana lived.

Park fact: Peter Pans literary links with the park are marked by a bronze statue of JM Barries character, the boy who never grew up.

Key feature: The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground is a fantastic adventure space for young children, the highlight being the pirate ship.

Regent's Park

About: The place for flower lovers. The gardens are home to more than 30,000 roses in 400 varieties.

Park fact: With nearly 100 acres available, it is the largest outdoor grass area for sports in central London.

Key feature: London Zoo is within Regent's Park. It may be a compact urban zoo but is well worth visiting to see some of the 18,000 creatures.

Greenwich Park

About: The oldest of the royal parks, Greenwich Park provides magnificent views of London over the Thames, Docklands and City.

Park fact: Greenwich Park once had its own railway station but it was closed down in 1917 because of a lack of passengers using it.

Key feature: Few places in the country - possibly the world - have so many buildings of distinction in such close proximity: The Royal Observatory, Old Royal Naval College, National Maritime Museum and Queens House.

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The app contains more than 30 really useful mini-apps which can help with everything from finding somewhere to grab a coffee or lunch to checking the latest travel information and locating free places to visit.

The app is the ultimate mobile city guide, the essential tool to have in your pocket whenever you're out and about in London.

For more information and to download MyCityWayLondon24, search the Apple iTunes App Store for 'London24' or go to www.london24.com/app

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