The UK is world renowned for its beautiful landscapes and captivating countryside. It’s capital London known for its evolving blend of history and modernity. These 4 locations offer you the chance to escape the rush of the modern, step back in time and enjoy some of what North London’s hidden countryside has to offer…for free.
Alexandra Palace and Park
Built in 1875 as “The People’s” palace Alexandra Palace and Park (locally known as Ally Pally) is an free public space known for its open fields, breath taking architecture and (in my opinion) singularly best view of London . Its purpose was to serve as space of equality in which all classes could use as a centre for recreation and enjoyment. In 1936 its east wing became the home of the world’s first public television broadcast made by the BBC and since then has been known for its seasonal music, sporting, crafts and antique events. It can be accessed by Alexandra Palace Train station and local buses.
My Favourite Spots: Palm Court, Ice rink, Boating Lake, Grove Gardens
The first of two ancient parks listed here, the land of Hampstead Heath was first recorded in 986 and again in the Doomsday book of 1086. It has a long history of different ownership but was largely a common land meaning free and open to all. It boasts, 25 lakes (3 open for public swimming) open fields, ancient forests, hidden meadows and the striking Kenwood House. Its southern edge and highest point homes Parliament Hill; the view from which is notably protected by law. (see top picture)
It connects the areas of Highgate and Hampstead, both of which can be accessed by local train stations. (Both are also wealthy areas so keep in mind your coffee may cost more than your train fare!)
My Favourite spots: Golders Green park (adjoined), the women’s pond (sorry guys only women allowed) and The Hill Garden Pergola
A site of Roman battles and Norman Conquest, given by a King to his favourite doctor, used as a centre for espionage in the Second World War – Trent Park boasts a wealth of history and beauty. The park itself form the grounds of its Trent Park House – now the Trent Park Museum – a beautiful Victorian style stately home that offers the chance to live out every aristocratic fantasy. The rolling fields extend as far as the eye can see and the absence of any internal roads mean that once you enter you feel a hundred miles away from the rush of central London.
My favourite spots: GoApe Adventure playground, Camelot Moat, Sphinx View
Truly one of the oldest and largest London woodlands Epping Forest boasts an astounding 17 km of dense forest, fields, wildlife and even a beach… sort of. With sites of protected scientific interest that date back to the Neolithic period (10,000 BC – 4,500 BC) and home to the Hunting lodge of Queen Elizabeth I it boasts a truly epic Epping history. Local wildlife include deer, rare birds, rabbits and the occasional horse rider. The Hunting Lodge educational centre provides an immersive tour of Tudor England and Gallery space for forest inspired art. I’ve been going there for years and still have barely made a dent in what this destination as to offer. It can be accessed by a variety of stations on The London Underground – my advice to you pick a few key areas and refer to a map!
My favourite spots: High Beach (a prehistoric beach that moved inland but still kept the sand), Connaugt Waters
I hope I’ve done these beautiful places justice,
Any hidden countryside you know of? What are your favourite spots? Comment below!