The Journey: spring 19

Capital idea

London will become a National Park City in 2019

What comes to mind when you think of London? Buses and beefeaters? High tea and Harrods? Pigeons and Portobello Road? Or perhaps something a little… greener. Around 18% of the capital is made up of public parks, and approximately 47% of Greater London is physically green, whether through gardens, golf courses or areas of natural growth.

A new initiative aims to push these figures even higher and, in the process, change the way we think about the city. By July this year, London will become the world’s first National Park City – not an official designation as such, but rather one intended to create an awareness of the benefit and value of green space. Long-term, it hopes to combat pollution and encourage “urban greening”.

Backed by the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, the idea was the brainchild of former geography teacher Daniel Raven-Ellison. “Just like a rural national park, the London National Park City is a place you can explore, a vision you can share and a community you can join,” he tells The Journey. “To get a good sense for it, why not make plans to join us for the first London National Park City Festival, starting on 19th July, or even go for a 78-mile hike around the Capital Ring?”

Six of London’s best green spaces

Richmond Park: wild deer & jogging routes

Crystal Palace Park: history & dinosaurs

London Fields: hip crowds & barbecues

Hampstead Heath: big views & swimming  

Hyde Park: the Serpentine & bird life

Battersea Park: river views & an art gallery

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