5 Best Parks in East London

5 Best Parks in East London

5 Best Parks in East London

If you have spent any time in East London, you will already know that no two streets in the area are the same, and the same sentiment stands for the parks in the London district. There is something for everyone, from places perfect for connecting with nature to outdoor spaces. Spending time in green places and getting some light exercise, whether walking, running, cycling, or engaging in a casual team sport, is vital to mental and physical well-being. There is a plethora of research on the benefits of spending time in nature and outdoors. It is a proven way to recover from mental fatigue, lift moods and reduce feelings of stress. 

The power of awe from being outside in nature is also becoming increasingly evident, which is why we have found the 5 best parks in East London, which will undoubtedly evoke some awe when roving through the green terrain. 

Epping Forest

Just between London and rural Essex lies Epping Forest, a 5,900-acre ancient woodland connected to the scenic countryside. For any North London resident who wants the feeling of being out in the sticks while not having to venture all too far from home, it is the perfect option. The forest is recognised as an “internationally important” location due to its unique mix of species and habitats. It is also one of the only ancient forests that can be found in the South of England. The rare habitats include everything from wetlands to heathlands to grassland plains to wood pastures, where you are sure to see some of the local wildlife. Keep your cameras on hand for tawny owls, basking grass snakes, deer, and badgers. 

Back in the day, Epping Forest was a royal hunting forest. Today, it is a recreational haven for everyone. For those who want to do more than take in the scenery, there are high rope adventures for the daring, mountain bike trails and hovercraft experiences. Once you stop by, you can claim to have visited the place where A Midsummer Night’s Dream was performed first! Aside from taking in the scenery, there is plenty to do in Epping Forest, including visiting Waltham Abbey Gardens and Church, hitting the tea rooms for afternoon tea, or dining in the Farmhouse Restaurant. If you rely on public transport to get to Epping Forest, the best mode of travel is the overground train to Chingford Station from Liverpool Street Station. It takes 30 minutes to reach the forest, and the train will land you directly in front of the main entrance to Epping Forest. 

Trees in a park looking over a lake

Mile End Park

After the industrial land in the Borough of Tower Hamlets was desecrated by a World War 2 bombing, city planners in London decided to create a 32-acre linear park intersected by roads, railways and waterways. It is far from your average park; what it lacks in ancient woodland, it more than makes up for with its multitude of fascinating resources. For art lovers, there are always exhibitions cropping up at the art pavilion in the spring and summer. These free exhibitions are a great reason to return to Mile End Park time and time again for a spot of cultural immersion.

If art isn’t your cup of tea, the outdoor gym on Wennington Green may be to your taste, or the urban adventure base and skate park. One of the most scenic spots in Mile End Park is the art mound, which showcases outdoor art against the backdrop of Regent’s Canal and the rest of the picturesque park, providing plenty of Insta-worthy shots. The nearest tube station to Mile End Park is the Zone 2 station Mile End, which is accessible via the Central Line, District Line, and Hammersmith and City Line. 

One of the top 5 best parks in East London

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The playgrounds and parks in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park are open 24 / 7 and are free for all to enjoy. However, this park is far much more than your ordinary outdoor space. It is a cultural and communal hub where there is always an intriguing event to look forward to. From sports events to food festivals to culturally immersive experiences that you won’t need photographs to remember, there is plenty more life in this park than what the wildlife is responsible for. As not everyone in East London has access to their own private gardens, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has the solution for green-fingered Londoners looking to get their hands dirty. 

There are regularly held free gardening workshops, and don’t worry if you don’t know your daffodils from your dandelions; there are workshops for all skill levels! The 560-acre park is home to the world’s tallest tunnel slide; once you have climbed to the top, you will drink in a breathtaking view of the London skyline before getting your adrenaline fix on the 40-second exhilarating descent. If you prefer to take it easy when you visit, be sure to stop by the Blossom Garden, which is picturesque in all seasons, or head down to Park Meadows with a picnic and gaze over the Olympic rings. There are almost too many cafes, and restaurants to mention, but up there with the most revered are The Last Drop and The Timber Lodge Café. To get to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, hop off the tube or bus at Stratford or Stratford International Station. The park is also within walking distance from Leyton Station, Pudding Mill and Hackney Wick Station. 

Victoria Park

Victoria Park easily makes the list of the 5 best parks in East London; its history is just as rich as the scenery. Every year, Victoria Parks attracts over nine million visitors, but as it spans 86 hectares, you will never have to worry about it being too overcrowded!  Victoria Park is the oldest public park in Britain after it was opened in 1845 for the East End working class to enjoy. In the era of its grand opening, parks were commonly only for the elite to enjoy; due to its history, it has been dubbed the “people’s park”, and the locals lovingly refer to it as “Vicky Park”. 

The park is more laid back than Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Yet, community events are still held within its gates, live music offerings, sports events, and other cultural activities to get involved with. In the summer months, you can hire a pedal or rowing boat to fully explore the West Lake. Once you’ve had your fill of exercise, the Pavilion Park Café is the perfect spot to grab a cocktail or a light lunch. The award-winning park, which has been recognised by the Green Heritage Awards (the park equivalent of the Grammys!), sits on the boundary of Hackney and serves as a link in a green corridor connecting Mile End Park and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. There are more than ten entrances to Victoria Park; the best way to access it by tube is to hop off the Mile End or Bethnal Green underground stations, which both run on the central line, and walk the short stretch from the station. 

People sitting at London Fields in East London

Allens Gardens

Allens Gardens is somewhat of a wildcard on the list of 5 best parks in East London, but it is a must-visit spot for Brick Lane lovers. Lauded as a hub of “all things cool”. Take in the street art scenery that adds vibrance to the brickwork in the park, which easily allows you to get your nature fix while appreciating the communal vibe that London is epitomised by. The Nomadic Community Garden was set up as an initiative to bring locals together to grow produce and add beauty to the area.

Whether you are a local or not, everyone is welcome to explore, get their hands dirty and contribute to the community garden.If you would prefer to relax instead of getting involved with the food-growing social enterprise, the mature yew trees and woodland areas adorned with stretches of play areas and grassland provide the perfect spots to sit back and relax. There are plenty of benches to kick back on, although as this is a thriving community space, it is advisable to grab a picnic blanket too! Allens Gardens is located on Bethune Road in Hackney, the nearest rail station is Shoreditch High Street, and it is just a short walk from there.