Hampstead Heath

Top choice park in North London

Image by Philip Game Getty Images

Sprawling Hampstead Heath, with its rolling woodlands and meadows, feels a million miles away – despite being approximately four – from the City of London. Covering 320 hectares, most of it woods, hills and meadows, it's home to about 180 bird species, 23 species of butterflies, grass snakes, bats and a rich array of flora. It's a wonderful place for a ramble, especially to the top of Parliament Hill, which offers expansive views across the city.

Alternatively head up the hill to Kenwood, with its grand 18th-century house and landscapes gardens, or lose yourself in the West Heath. Signage is limited, but getting a little lost is part of the experience.

If walking is too pedestrian for you, the bathing ponds are another major attraction. There are separate ones for men and women and a slightly less secluded mixed pond.

Once you’ve had your fill of fresh air and/or culture, do as Londoners do and head to one of the wonderful pubs nearby for a restorative pint.