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Golders Hill Park | © Wikimedia Commons
Golders Hill Park | © Wikimedia Commons

The Best Public Parks in North London

Picture of Lizzie Thomson
Updated: 21 December 2017

Whatever the season, it’s nice to enjoy the green spaces of the city, whether you fancy a crisp winter stroll or a leisurely summer picnic. Here are the best public parks in north London to check out when you’re next looking for some fresh air.

Hampstead Heath

With incredible views stretching across the city, Hampstead Heath is the perfect spot to admire London’s fantastic skyline. It also has three different ponds to swim in: the Ladies’ Pond, the Men’s Pond and the Mixed Pond. These swimming spots get extremely crowded during the summer months as park visitors look to cool off from the heat in the refreshing water. The park offers woodland walks and open grass spaces (the type which are perfect for lounging or picnicking). It’s no wonder Hampstead Heath is one of the most popular public parks in north London.

Haggerston Park

Located in the South West corner of Hackney, Haggerston Park is a beautiful green space bordering Hackney Road. For athletic types, the area offers various sports facilities including football pitches and a BMX track. The north London park holds a Green Flag award due to the high quality of its space and it features environmental projects such as the community orchid and growing space, where locals can get involved in growing food.

Hackney Downs

One of Hackney’s biggest green spaces, Hackney Downs is popular with locals due to its events programme, which boasts a selection of plays, film screenings, live music and dance performances. The public park also tempts visitors with its numerous meadows which bloom in midsummer, attracting all kinds of wildlife.

Highbury Fields

Islington’s largest park at 11.75 hectares, it’s no surprise that the green space is usually booming with visitors. It offers a variety of recreational activities for guests, including tennis courts and the Highbury Pool. The space even has a small café, perfect for quenching your thirst after a long stroll around the park.

Finsbury Park

Interestingly, Finsbury Park was one of the first great London parks laid out during the Victorian era. Today, the popular green space plays hosts to a number of different festivals and gigs including Creamfields and Wireless. The park is a mix of open grass areas, avenues and formal gardens, making it an ideal location for charity events, funfairs and fun runs.

Clissold Park

One of Hackney’s most-loved green spaces, Clissold Park has a more traditional feel to it compared to other parks in the area. Located in Stoke Newington, Clissold Park has 54 acres, making it a hit with joggers and cyclists. It’s also home to Clissold House – the perfect spot for some tasty refreshments on a summer day or a warm beverage during the winter months.

Gillespie Park

Gillespie Park is a wildlife park and nature reserve and is one of Islington’s smaller green areas. Situated next to Arsenal tube station, the urban area hosts the Islington Ecological Centre and prides itself on educating schools about the environment. The plot of land has one of the smallest green space per capita ratios in Great Britain and locals love its sanctuary-like feel.

Golders Hill Park

As well as a large grass space, Golders Hill Park also features a flower garden, duck pond, butterfly house, a deer area and a small zoo, making it an animal-lover’s paradise. The impressive space borders Hampstead Heath and is just a few minutes walk away from Golders Green tube station. If you’re a fan of live music make sure you visit during the summer months when musicians play on the park’s bandstand on Sundays.

Gladstone Park

Named after the famous British Liberal Prime Minister, Gladstone Park is located in the Dollis Hill area of north west London. The historic park was opened at the turn of the 20th century and many of its features still remain today, such as its tree-lined avenues. For sports fans, the park has a number of different pitches you can book for games including football, rugby and cricket and there’s even an outdoor gym.

Kensal Green

If you’re looking for an eerie, mysterious walk in London, this large public park contains the well-known Kensal Green Cemetery. The burial ground is the oldest of London’s Magnificent Seven Cemeteries and even contains three chapels. The beautiful open space is located just a stone’s throw away from Kensal Green tube station and is the perfect spot to explore on a free afternoon.