The Royal Parks are a great place to see spring in action and to celebrate we have ten suggestions on how you can make the most of this season.
Take a moment to feel the warmth of the light spring sun on your back and breathe a sigh of relief. Spring is here and it means new beginnings, as animals, plants (and of course, everyone who has been in lockdown) begin to crawl out of hibernation.
From handfuls of daffodils scattered along the green, long strolls in the fresh spring air, trees in vibrant bloom to birds singing and butterflies emerging, there is so much to look forward to.
1. Free Easter holiday activities for all the family
Get up close to nature and discover charming invertebrates, captivating plants and wildlife on one of our discovery days that are perfect for the whole family.
There will be something for everyone, from nature trails, pond dipping and butterfly spotter guides to gardening tips, with plenty of arts and crafts to get stuck into. Entertain the little ones with live animated storytelling and nature-themed games and activities.
When: 6th – 16th April
Free to sign up
2. Play and explore in the imaginative Royal Parks playgrounds
Being in nature from a young age, exploring, playing, and connecting with wildlife and the outdoors can have huge benefits for children and their families. There are 14 formal playgrounds throughout the royal parks and many playful spaces such as fallen logs or waterside ‘beach areas’.
Our top 3 playgrounds to visit include the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground which was inspired by J.M. Barrie’s stories of Peter Pan. You can expect to see a wooden pirate ship moored on a beach to real tepees and sensory trails. The newly renovated playgrounds of Greenwich Park and Gloucester Gate in The Regent’s Park should also not be missed. With both made from natural materials encouraging play in nature, it is easy to see how these new designs were inspired by the surrounding landscape.
We recommend visiting earlier in the day to avoid crowds.
Free to enjoy
3. Listen to the sounds of spring
Wake up early one morning and experience one of nature’s wonders – the dawn chorus.
While the rest of the city sleeps join the blackbirds, wrens, chaffinches, robins, goldfinches, dunnocks, blackcaps and thrushes as they join together in full-throated song to greet the new day.
To learn more about what the dawn chorus is and why it only happens during a short window in spring, tune in to our podcast series, The Hidden Stories of the Royal Parks. The team share their expertise and stories of the unique birds that can be found in the Royal Parks, including a special sighting of a Red Throated Diver. Recorded at sunrise in May 2020.
The Royal Parks’ Podcast – Episode 2: Dawn Chorus is free to listen to/download.
4. Cheer on the Royal Parks Half Marathon runners
On Sunday 11 April, the Royal Parks Half Marathon, presented by Royal Bank of Canada is breaking new running boundaries.
Together, we’ll be celebrating green spaces the length and breadth of the country whilst simultaneously raising millions of pounds for hundreds of worthwhile causes. The event is an important fundraiser for The Royal Parks charity as well as many other UK-based charities. We’re pleased to welcome 232 charities to the April event and runners from 36 countries around the world.
Digitally cheer on runners by tagging @royalparkshalf in your well wishes and we’ll share them in the lead up to, and on race day.
When: 11th April
Free to support the RPHM runners
5. Go on a More than Bugs walking trail in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
The Mission: Invertebrate team are excited to introduce a series of self-led walks that allow you to ramble through the parks whilst not missing the fascinating minibeasts along the way.
Not only will you discover some of our habitat creation and conservation projects in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, but you will also find out more about the rare and important invertebrates that call the Royal Parks home.
From beautiful invertebrate-themed sculptures to marvellous rare minibeasts and their intricate habitats, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a walk suitable for the whole family.
Free to view the walking trails
6. Book your ticket for Van Gogh Alive
“At Van Gogh Alive you don’t just look at his paintings, you step inside them and feel their power.”
The most visited multi-sensory experience in the world is coming to Kensington Gardens this summer!
Having dazzled over 7 million visitors in 65 cities worldwide, Van Gogh Alive is making its anticipated debut for an exclusive four month run.
Don’t miss your chance to immerse yourself in the life and works of Vincent van Gogh.
When: 4th June – 26th September
How much: £24 per adult, £14 per child
7. Learn how to forage for wild food in nature
This is the time of year for fresh salad greens, tasty spring flowers, shoots, and even some medicinal plants. From wild garlic to stinging nettles, learn how to identify common edible spring plants as well as the rules you need to follow when on a foraging adventure. In this 1 hour online session your expert guide will not only share her favourite foraging recipes with you, but will teach you the ins and outs of wild plants and some folklore that surrounds them.
When: 21st April
How much: £10
8. Spring tree photography competition
Take part in this seasonal competition to celebrate the trees of Richmond Park. It’s time for trees to take centre stage! Have a go at capturing the essence and character of Richmond Park’s trees.
When: Entries open 1st March and run to 31st May 2021
Free to take part via the Friends of Richmond Park
9. Get your floral fix
In spring you can expect a kaleidoscope of colour from charming pink blossoms to dashing yellow daffodils and more.
Why not take some time to enjoy nature this spring in your favourite Royal Park?
Here are a few of our favourite blossoming hotspots:
· Isabella Plantation, carpets of bluebells and evergreen azaleas and rhododendrons that put on a display of vivid pinks, purples and reds.
· Greenwich Park, cherry blossom trees bordered along the Ranger’s House avenue creating a tunnel like effect of candyfloss pink.
· The Rose Garden in Hyde Park, seasonal flower beds, a grand pergola and two ornate fountains, with a sweet aroma of its traditional roses.
· St James’s Park, a sea of daffodils as we plant one million daffodil bulbs across the Royal Parks each year.
Parks across the UK have been extremely busy recently. We recommend visiting earlier in the day to avoid crowds.
When: April to May
Free to enjoy
10. Listen to ‘Music for Trees’
The next time you’re in The Regent’s Park, take the time to explore as you listen to original music composed for individual trees. The app will play compositions by students from the Royal Academy of Music, their creations are an interpretation of the trees’ different characteristics. As you listen and walk, a musical story inspired by trees will unfold.
Free to download the app now