Green Spaces to Breathe
England’s Historic Cities might have been constructed in the past, and feature narrow passageways as a result, but did you know that many also feature stunning green spaces? These cities truly offer the best of both worlds! Read our suggestions for green spaces in each of England’s Historic Cities below:
Alexandra Park, Bath
Located on the summit of a nearby wooded hillside, Alexandra Park is an outstanding and tranquil green space boasting magnificent panoramic views of Bath! The park was named in honour of Queen Alexandra and its 11 acres of land have been open since 1902. For practical reasons, please be mindful that parking is extremely limited at Alexandra Park. Find more information here.
Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambridge
Cambridge University Botanic Garden combines an active research facility and a living museum with a collection in excess of over 8,000 fauna species! On your visit, be sure to marvel at their collections of botanical treasures and heritage trees including the Mediterranean Beds, the Systematic Beds and Rising Path, and the Rock Gardens. Plus, there is a lake, fountain, and a number of glasshouses to admire. Cambridge University Botanic Garden also houses a delightful dining area and plenty of bathroom facilities onsite. Interested in visiting? Learn more here.
Larkey Valley Wood Local Nature Reserve, Canterbury
Designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Larkey Valley Wood Local Nature Reserve promises a stunning location to enjoy nature. Between March and May you can see spectacular wildflower displays, including many species of orchid. Between October and March, you can take part in coppicing which is a traditional method for cutting trees close to the ground so that new shoots can grow! The value of this? Increasing the light in the woodland so that a wide variety of flora and fauna can continue to thrive. Sound appealing? Click here for more information.
Hadrian’s Wall, Carlisle
This defensive fortification, which first began construction in AD 122 under the reign of emperor Hadrian, is said to be the most important monument of Roman Britain. A significant amount of the 73-mile-long wall still stands today, alongside many of its forts, milecastles and turrets, making it a great outdoor attraction to enjoy whilst in Carlisle! The nearest forts to Carlisle are Birdoswald and Lanercost Priory. Did we mention that the wall in its entirety has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 and also forms part of the international ‘Frontiers of the Roman Empire’ World Heritage Site? Learn more here.
Beeston Castle, Chester
Crowning a rocky crag and boasting spectacular views of eight different counties on a clear day, a trip to one of the most dramatically sited medieval castles in England certainly encompasses the wow-factor. Beeston Castle is also home to one of England’s deepest castle wells and, according to legend, is the hiding place of Richard II’s lost treasure. Once you have admired the picturesque views, why not enjoy the fresh air some more as you wander along the winding woodland paths surrounding the castle? The land is home to a wide variety of wildlife including foxes, rabbits, buzzards, and peregrine falcons! The attraction also features an exhibition where you can re-live 4,000 years of history. Read more about Beeston Castle here.
The Regent’s Park, London
The Regent’s Park boasts 395 acres of land featuring tree-lined pathways, formal gardens, four children’s playgrounds and the city’s largest outdoor sports arena. As well as this, you can hire rowing boats to sail on the boating lake, see over 100 species of wild bird in the wetland area, visit the Open-Air Theatre and London Zoo, and stroll up the nearby Primrose Hill to take in the stunning London skyline! Read more about the Royal Park here.
Hamsterley Forest, Durham
County Durham’s largest woodland, Hamsterley Forest, provides the perfect location to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. From wildlife watching to stargazing, and exciting playtime to mountain biking, the forest offers something for everyone. To facilitate navigation, Hamsterley Forest has an extensive network of trails and paths suitable for walking, cycling and horse riding with a variety of distances covered and sights to see. Discover more about this Forestry England site here.
Greenwich Park, Greenwich
Overlooking the River Thames, this Royal Park boasting an outstanding mix of seventeenth-century landscape, stunning gardens and a rich history is well worth a day out! Greenwich Park’s most unique feature, however, is that it allows you to stand on the Prime Meridian, the reference point for Greenwich Mean Time! Other features of interest include The Rose Garden, General Wolfe Statue and The Royal Observatory. Learn more about Greenwich Park here.
Williamson Park, Lancaster
Home to the iconic Ashton Memorial and 54 acres of parkland boasting enchanting woodland walks, play areas and picturesque views of the Fylde Coast, Morecambe Bay and the Lake District Fells, Williamson Park has all of the assets required for a memorable day out! Park attractions include the Butterfly House, the small animal zoo and a fully licensed café with free Wi-Fi. Entry to the park itself is free, although there is a small fee charged for the Butterfly House and Mini Zoo. Read more here.
Witham Valley Country Park, Lincoln
Containing Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Nature Reserves and Local Wildlife Sites, Witham Valley Country Park highlights the best of Lincolnshire’s wildlife. The park is comprised of eleven different areas including the Millennium Green, Skellingthorpe Old Wood and Hartsholme Country Park, many of which are dog-friendly and horse-friendly too! Activities throughout Witham Valley Country Park include birdwatching, fishing, golf, bowls, and tennis. Plus, there is a 4-star rated campsite at Hartsholme Country Park if you want to extend your stay! Learn more here.
Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford
Founded in 1621 at the UK’s oldest University, Oxford Botanic Garden and its 130 acres of landscaping are undoubtedly worth visiting! Areas of particular interest include the family beds in the formal walled garden, exotic, tropical and carnivorous plants in the glasshouses, and the herbaceous borders of the informal lower garden. There are picnic benches located throughout the site, and during the summer months, a pop-up café sells a range of beverages and snacks to enjoy by the riverside. Learn more about Oxford Botanic Garden here.
Furzey Gardens, Salisbury
With over 10 acres of enchanting woodland gardens to explore at Furzey Gardens, this Salisbury green space has something for everyone during every season! As well as an extensive collection of rare and beautiful plants from around the world, highlights include a garden with 16th century thatched cottages, a lake, and dozens of fairy doors. Plus, Furzey Gardens’ thatched tea rooms are free to enter and provide stunning views stretching from the New Forest to the Isle of Wight! Sound appealing? Read more here.
Bancroft Gardens, Stratford-upon-Avon
Located on the bank of the River Avon and in front of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, it is unsurprising that the spacious Bancroft Gardens attract over a million visitors each year! Features include a human sundial, a performance area, and two accessible bridges over the canal basin and the lock. Additionally, marvel at the Gower memorial, multiple statues, flowers and relax in the seating areas. Learn more about this picturesque green space here.
Victoria Gardens, Truro
Originally created to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, Victoria Gardens is filled with exotic trees, shrubs and flowers. The city-centre garden also boasts the stunning Waterfall Gardens featuring a hydraulic water ram, fishpond and cascading waterfalls. Learn more about this well-maintained nineteenth-century public park in Truro here.
Worcester Woods Country Park, Worcester
Where can you go to explore 100 acres of ancient woodland, ten acres of wildflower meadows, a children’s play area and waymarked circular walks and orienteering courses? Worcester Woods Country Park of course! The site also boasts a visitor centre and a café, as well as a busy timetable of events during the school holidays, making it the perfect location for a tranquil few hours away from the main city. Learn more here.
Helmsley Walled Garden, York
Named by The Times as one of the UK’s prettiest gardens, the fully accessible and (mostly) dog-friendly Helmsley Walled Gardens in York should be on your list of green spaces to visit! Normally open between April 1st and October 31st, the historic 5-acre walled garden has a range of areas including the Clematis Garden and the Garden of Contemplation, as well as the Vinehouse Café, Garden Shop and Plant Centre. Read more about Helmsley Walled Garden here.
We hope you have learned about the various green spaces in and around our English Historic Cities! Be sure to visit the England Originals site for more historic city inspiration!