It’s time to take on the great outdoors.
Luckily for you, we know London like the back of our hand and we actually think some of the best things to do in the city actually happen outside. We promise. Here’s our take on some of the best outdoor activities to do in London right now:
1. Make some barnyard buddies at one of the farms in town
When you hear the word ‘London’ we’re sure the first thing that comes to mind isn’t ‘farmyard’, but our beloved city has a way of creating surprises. If you’ve had enough of human contact lately – and let’s face it, soon you may not be legally allowed to have any of that – why not see if you can make some animal variety friends? Hackney City Farm is a damn good place to start – it’s free, is located right in the middle of Hoxton and Cambridge Heath, and has pigs, ducks, geese, goats, sheep and a resident donkey called Clover , who does all the shows in London when the weather permits. If you prefer to stay south of the river, Vauxhall City Farm will give you the chance to meet a pair of alpacas who have played in none other than Star Wars: The Force Awakens – prepare your photo requests.
2. Add to your room’s plant collection
Let’s face it, we Londoners seem to be obsessed with plants, maybe it’s because the majority of us don’t have a garden… Anyway, there’s nothing more relaxing than spending a day looking for extra foliage. The colorful Columbia Road Sunday Flower Market is the obvious choice here, but there are plenty of other options in town. Nestled under the railway arches of Nunhead Station is The Nunhead Gardener – a lovely spot adorned with creeping houseplants, shrubs, ferns and all manner of flower pots. Other locations include Dalston’s N1 Garden Centre, Chiswick Flower Market and Battersea Flower Station – prizes for whoever came up with that name.
3. Explore more of London’s off-the-beaten-path walks
We couldn’t mention a list of the best outdoor activities to do in London without adding this one. The number of walks you can take in our city is damn phenomenal, whether you want tick the monuments listed by UNESCO or be in harmony with nature away from the crowds. One of our favorites is north London’s peaceful Parkland Walk, which takes you from Finsbury Park to Highgate along an abandoned railway line. The trains are long gone, but the stations, graffiti-covered tunnels and platforms are still there, allowing you to alternate between historic railway remains and wild stretches of woodland along the way. As London’s longest nature reserve, you may be lucky enough to spot some of the resident wildlife along the way, and you can choose to extend the walk to Ally Pally to soak up some of the best panoramic views of the city.
4. Soak up the views from some of London’s best vantage points
Speaking of viewpoints, there’s more to London than Ally Pally’s (although this one is seriously awesome, we have to admit). At the opposite polar end of town is Crystal Palace, from where you can see iconic landmarks like The Shard, the Walkie-Talkie, and even St. Paul’s Cathedral (if you squint, watch out). Staying to the south, Gipsy Hill and One Tree Hill (no, not the TV show) deserve honorable mentions – the latter being due to the fact that the oak tree found here is said to have sat under none other than Queen Elizabeth I herself . Continuing the history theme, you can see London from where Henry VIII was alerted that Anne Boleyn had had her head cut off in Richmond – nice – or you can overlook the River Thames from Greenwich Park, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Let’s not forget Primrose Hill, a stone’s throw from the offices of Secret London.
Ah yes – there’s nothing Londoners love more than a pint of sweets in a pub, and luckily for us most of them are decked out in all sorts of heaters, blankets and blankets for you keep snug when it’s the Baltic outside. If you’re visiting North London, The Flask in Highgate is a favorite – it’s also considered one of London’s most haunted pubs – so who knows, you might be joined by a resident ghost while you sip a bevvie in the garden! For East Londoners, Crate Brewery, The Crooked Billet and People’s Park Tavern are all good choices, and if you’re west, Prince Albert’s Garden in Notting Hill is perfect for spending hours . South of the river, don’t miss the Tamesis Dock, a 1930s Dutch barge-turned-pub that serves an endless selection of beers.
Of all the best outdoor activities to do in London, eating at the city’s various food markets has to top the list. Start your attack with a visit to the famous Borough Market, home to the proverbial who’s who of London’s foodie outlets. Neal’s Yard Dairy, Brindisa and Bread Ahead are longtime tenants, but there are a host of other stalls found here brewing everything from traditional Valencian paella to Middle Eastern mezze. Plus, with plenty of gluten-free, dairy-free, and meat-free options, there’s something for everyone here – be sure to loosen your belt and bring enough cash! Other spots in town include Hackney’s Broadway Market, which sells everything from dairy-free cheese to coffee and delicious donuts every Saturday, as well as Maltby Street, Camden and Seven Dials Markets.
7. Check out some of the capital’s eclectic street art
London is ready to overflow with street art to brighten your day (or, let’s face it, your Insta feed), and there’s no better place in town to see this than in East London. Brick Lane is arguably the epicenter, with talented artists adorning the walls and the alleyways with all sorts of different pieces, including pelicans, foxes and parkour dancers – there’s even a Banksy right next to the Truman Brewery. Dalston, Bethnal Green, Camden, Brixton and Hackney Wick are other areas of the city that feature prominently in street art. You’re best off seeing the latter while strolling the River Lee shipping channel.
There’s nothing better than hopping on a bike and feeling the cold wind on your face as you pass some of London’s most famous landmarks. Okay, biking might not be for everyone, but it really is the best (and fastest) way to get from A to B. Promise. Over the past few years, more and more bike lanes have been added to our city’s roads, not to mention the various parks, canals and marshes that you can easily explore with a set of two wheels. For a bike ride around town, we recommend taking a stroll down the Regent’s Canal, which takes you from Paddington Basin to Canary Wharf via ZSL London Zoo. For something a little wilder, cross the Tamsin Trail from Richmond Park from where you can view the resident herds of wild deer.
9. Take on the challenge of an outdoor escape game
Ok, so this one is pretty rogue, but we still think it’s one of the best outdoor activities to do in London right now. Billed as “where an escape room meets a treasure hunt experience”, these games will have you following a designated trail on your phone, uncovering clues and solving cryptic puzzles as you move through different parts of the town. You can follow in the footsteps of famous writer Charles Dickensdiscover clues like detective Sherlock Holmes himself and discover the sites made famous by the Harry Potter film series. There are even a Jack the Ripper themed one which will take you through the spooky streets of Whitechapel and Aldgate where he had his five kills – don’t try to finish this one when the sun has gone down!
10. Rent a boat and see the sights of the city from the water
To complete this list of the best outdoor activities to do in London right now, we had to include this one. London is famous for its waterways, and some of the city’s best views come from the network of canals, reservoirs and – duh – a certain river that runs through it. You can hop on one of over twenty ‘Uber boats’ that cross the Thames from Putney to Woolwich, passing all of these iconic London landmarks. Alternatively, you could be the captain of your own boat and rent a ‘GoBoat’ at Canary Wharf, Paddington or Kingston-upon-Thames. Pooches are more than welcome, so you can take your four-legged friend on board with you, and there’s room for picnics too. Sign us up!