Discovering London in lockdown: the best outdoor places to explore

Forget staycations, day trips or eating out to help out, with new restrictions for the UK, London is once again in lockdown and we’re back to life at home.

Whilst this lockdown may be chillier than its springtime predecessor, there is no better time to explore a quieter London in its autumnal glory.

Last summer, London was declared the world’s first National Park City and south west London is home to many green spaces for exploring, exercising or catching up with one person from outside your household.

DEER: Richmond Park and Bushy Park are great to see some local wildlife

For those in Richmond, its namesake park and nearby Bushy Park are both known for the beautiful deer that roam there, but it is also possible to explore the lesser known Isabella Plantation of the former, and Baroque Water Gardens of the latter this autumn.

Similarly, Holland Park’s Kyoto Gardens, Battersea Park’s Peace Pagoda and Streatham Common’s Rookery Gardens all showcase the variety and beauty that some of south London’s beautiful grassy spaces have to offer.

And whilst art galleries are temporarily closed, there are still some outdoor installations around London to provide inspiration for art lovers.

Enjoy the iconic tumbled telephone boxes of David Mach’s ‘Out of Order’ in Kingston, Barbara Hepworth’s beautiful bronze ‘Single Form’ in Battersea, or ‘The Rising Tide’: Jason deCaires Taylor’s beautiful stone horses that appear at the low tide in Vauxhall’s waters.

BEAUTIFUL: Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park

For those with their own bicycles, or £2 to spare on a Santander Cycle, it is possible to travel further to see more hidden gems of London.

Take an eerie cycle around the 19th Century Nunhead Cemetery in Southwark, walk along the canals of Maida Vale’s Little Venice, or explore Hampstead’s beautiful Georgian open-air Hill Garden and Pergola.

Instead of seeking out London’s nature, bike around London’s financial district with its fascinating fusion of historic buildings and modern skyscrapers, as well as hidden treasures such as Leadenhall Market where Harry Potter was filmed, or St Dunstan-in-the-East: the ruins of a church bombed in the Blitz.

SCENIC: The 40-mile long Thames Path Credit: Dave Kelly

As well as this, any stretch of the 40-mile-long Thames Path offers beautiful river-side scenery for biking, running or walking.

For those who want to keep active nearer to home, MoreYoga, BoxIt, FLEX and Paola’s Body Barre are among the recommended fitness classes taking place in parks around Wandsworth, Clapham and Fulham.

Or grind through an outdoor workout with Be Military Fit, Bear Grylls’s company which focuses on gruelling workouts led by members of the British Armed Forces and held in parks all over London.

Whether you are picking up a takeaway from your local pub, walking a different way back from work or taking your hour exercise, it’s still possible to see the beauty of London this lockdown, this time with leaves crunching underfoot.

You can also check out the best takeaways in London during lockdown here.

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