As we reach the height of London’s summer, our attention turns to National Parks Week, and a celebration of outdoor spaces across the UK. The capital has an unrivalled amount of greenery at its disposal and a number of our members have enviable grounds and gardens in which to enjoy all manner of events. Here are five highlights to inspire your next event decision.
Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens
The most iconic of all London parks, this world-famous destination is bursting with different things to do, from rowing boats to lazing on the wide expanses of grass on a sultry summer evening. The destination also plays host to a number of cool music festivals, attracting some of the biggest acts in pop/rock music. Art lovers can also take a trip to the stylish Serpentine Gallery and history buffs can immerse themselves in Britain’s regal past at Kensington Palace. Bordering the gardens, travel enthusiasts can take a trip to the Royal Geographical Society and, with the Proms already underway, a visit to the Royal Albert Hall is a must.
Upstream, as the Thames narrows, event organisers can look westwards for a welcome ‘source’ of inspiration. Here, grand houses are punctuated by lush, verdant parkland, botanical hothouses and glorious gardens, namely the natural haven that is Kew Gardens and the palace within its grounds. Keeping a close watch, from across the river, is the striking, Neo-Gothic Syon Park with its perfectly manicured lawn and the elegant, Georgian masterpiece that is Chiswick House and Gardens. Ornithologists and twitchers need not despair as Barnes’ London Wetland Centre’s marshes provide an unusual haven for many of London’s feathered friends.
Going in the opposite direction this time, the river widens as it makes its way out to sea. En route to the estuary, one cannot fail to marvel at the magnificent site of Cutty Sark and the Old Royal Navy College on the southern bank. Directly behind, stands Royal Museums Greenwich, a collection of stunning, period buildings set in the sculpted setting of Greenwich Park. Visitors will be tempted to hike up to the Royal Observatory and experience the breath-taking views of Canary Wharf, juxtaposing the old and the new.
St James & Westminster
A number of member venues are lucky enough to border two of London’s prettiest green spaces, St James’s Park and Green Park. The mix of architectural styles is staggering, from the opulent grandeur of Spencer House and triumphant Wellington Arch to the baroque-inspired Central Hall Westminster. Tucked away under the Foreign Office and Treasury, military history enthusiasts can marvel at Churchill War Rooms, the nerve centre of Government during World War II.
The call of the wild is strong in Regent’s Park, home of ZSL London Zoo, a vast compendium of some of the world’s most exotic animals, whereas to the south, bordering the park, a collection of world famous faces immortalised in waxwork, can be found at Madame Tussauds. Looking immediately westwards, sports enthusiasts can indulge in a sophisticated slice of cricketing history at Lord’s and those with an interest in the medicinal can enjoy the tranquil gardens of the Royal College of Physicians.
For more information on these, and other Unique Venues of London members click here