When you think of London, images of the city with tall high-rise buildings may come to mind. But that’s not all you will find in the city. In fact, the UK’s capital has 3,000 parks, which cover almost 18% of the city. So if you’re looking to reconnect with nature, you don’t have to go far in London to find somewhere to suit.
East London has some amazing parks. Some are expansive, others are simply charming. Whether you are looking for a quiet, secluded spot, or a park to take part in sports, East London has plenty of parks to choose from.
Top Ten East London Parks
East London is often left unexplored. Most people stick to the city centre but heading east can bring you many rewards. Some of our favourite parks are in east London, others are just a stone’s throw away from our City accommodation, others are a little further afield, but they are well worth the visit. Here are our ten favourite parks in East London:
Probably the best-known green space in East London is Victoria Park. This East London Park has been around for over 170 years. Opened in 1845 it was London’s first public park. When opened, it was presented to Queen Victoria, for whom the park is named after. Found in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, it is the largest park in this borough.
With 86.18 hectares to explore, this huge park has something for everyone. There are decorative pavilions, sculptures and fountains, as well as historic artefacts. If you’re a picnic fan there are flat grassy areas with tables. There are also wilder areas by the lake, where you can do some bird watching. The park also has two cafes, so makes a great choice for a picturesque lunch spot.
St Mary’s Secret Garden
This little community garden is found in Hackney. For over twenty-five years St Mary’s Secret Garden has offered a safe space for people with support needs. If you’re into gardening or want to try it out, in this community garden you will get a hands-on experience.
With only 0.7 acres to explore, you might think there’s not a lot in St Mary’s Secret Garden, but there is plenty to see. The park is carefully designed to create a diverse green space and includes a small pond, sensory areas, a wildflower meadow and a woodland with working beehives.
Mile End Park
Created on industrial land that was devastated by WWII bombing, Mile End Park covers 32 hectares. This park was created as part of a wider scheme to create green routes connecting different areas of the River Thames. Found in the Borough of Tower Hamlets, this park follows the Regent’s canal from Victoria Park to the Limehouse Basin.
Mile End Park has some incredible views over Canary Wharf and includes the garden bridge over Mile End Road. There are several parts to this park in East London, such as the Ecology Park, the Arts Park, the Adventure Park and the Terraced Garden. Wildlife is abundant in this park, with the meadows and woodlands supporting a good diversity of wildlife. For nature lovers, this a favourite East London Park.
One of the most popular parks in the Hackney Borough, London Fields was once a site for grazing animals but has been transformed into a beautiful green space in East London. Sprawling over 12.65 hectares, this park has won a Green Flag Award, which is given to the best green spaces in the country.
If you’re looking for a green space for sports, London Fields is a good choice. This park has a cricket pitch and tennis courts. For nature lovers, there is a wildflower meadow. Or if you’re simply looking for a place to relax, the grassy areas are perfect for picnicking.
West Ham Park
Located in the Borough of Newham, West Ham Park is the largest in the borough spanning 31 hectares. First opened in 1887 on the former grounds of Upton House, it has been managed by the City of London Corporation since 1874.
West Ham Park has a number of sports facilities, a wildlife education garden, ornamental gardens, a bandstand and ponds. This park is a great place to spend a summer’s day, whether you want to relax or explore.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was purpose-built for the 2012 summer Olympics, and so is the newest green space in East London. Located in Stratford, this park and sporting complex straddles four boroughs: Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. Stretching out over 230 hectares, it would take a few days of exploration to see the whole park.
Being so big, it stands to reason that there is a lot to see and do in this park. There is even a beach. For culture lovers, there is the living art trail and adventure junkies can enjoy abseiling here. Here you will also find the London Stadium, London Aquatic Centre and more.
Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Located in Tower Hamlets, the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park is a restored Victorian cemetery. Included in the “Magnificent Seven” of London cemeteries and is definitely one to go to if you’re looking for a park that’s a little different. Burials took place here between 1841 and 1966, the 10.93 hectare park is full of history.
This park is a top choice for nature lovers, as it was declared a Local Nature Reserve in 2000. The cemetery now resembles natural woodland and is home to many bird and insect species. Despite this, gravestones and funerary monuments can still be seen in the woodland, so there’s no mistaking what the land was once used for.
Opened in 1905, Springfield Park gets its name from its unique geology. Sloping from the high ground on the edge of Stamford Hill to the towpath on the River Lea, this 14.73-hectare park was formed from the grounds of three private houses and holds a Green Flag Award.
This park has many facilities, including tennis courts and outdoor chess boards. From the park, you can gain access to the River Lea. There is also a conservation area and a community orchard.
Bow Creek Ecology Park
A small green space covering only 2.5 hectares, Bow Creek Ecology Park runs alongside and underneath the Docklands Light Railway. In the Borough of Newham, the park is situated along the tidal estuary of Bow Creek. What was once home to ironworks, a shipyard and coal wharf, is now a wildlife haven, and has won the Green Flag Awards four times.
The park is important for local education, but can still be visited by the public. Inside you will find observation points, streams and ponds. This is a great space, not just for nature lovers, but for those that are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
In the Borough of Hackney, Haggerston Park was created in the 1950s and extended in the 1980s. Now, this park in East London covers 6 hectares and holds a Green Flag Award. The northern half was developed with a nautical theme, the southern half included the development of Hackney City Farm.
This park is great if you are looking for somewhere to be active. It boasts football pitches, a BMX track and basketball courts. If you’re not looking to be active, don’t discount this park either, the park is partly walled-in, with roses and vines giving an air of romance. There is also a conservation area and community orchard.
If you’re planning on studying in London, you can still get close to nature with the parks within the city. The parks in East London have something for everyone, so staying to the east of the centre is a popular choice for students. For accommodation for your studies, check out our student accommodation in London.