10 Great Activities in London’s Royal Parks

Here are a top ten of things to do in The Royal Parks this summer (it will be Summer at least during this indian-style hot September those in the know keep mentioning…) by Sharon Donovan of the Royal Parks blog.

This summer the Royal Parks are bustling with activity. Live music, international sporting events, outdoor cinema and the opening of a new playground are just some of the things going on.

For a full list of events see our What’s On Calendar.

1. Open air cinema in the Royal Parks

As the sun sets in Brompton Cemetery, watch Batman defend Gotham City in A Dark Knight (12A), starring Morgan Freeman and Heath Ledger, or reacquaint yourself with everyone’s favourite alien E.T. (U) in Bushy Park. Revel in Greenwich Park’s connection to astronomy by watching science fiction thriller Gravity (12A) or for a romantic date, impress with a screening of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, at Hyde Park or Regent’s Park. (PG).

For a full list of outdoor films in Greenwich Park and Regent’s Park visit thelunacinema.com. For a full list of outdoor films in Hyde Park, Brompton Cemetery and Bushy Park visit whereisthenomad.com

2. Visit the world famous Queen Mary’s Gardens in Regent’s Park

Housing London’s largest collection of roses, Queen Mary’s Gardens is a must see at this time of year. Over 12,000 roses are part of the collection including our very own Royal Parks rose. Make a day of it by dining al fresco in the nearby Garden Cafe.

3. Listen to live music in Hyde Park

Whether you are fan of the Libertines, Boyzone, or Bach there is something to tickle everyone’s fancy this summer. Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park returns 3-13 July with headliners including Arcade Fire, Neil Young and Sir Tom Jones (bst-hydepark.com). On 13 September, join in the Last Night of the Proms Celebrations in Hyde Park with Rufus Wainwright, Earth Wind and Fire, and Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo (bbc.co.uk/proms)

The following day ELO and Blondie will be topping the bill at the Radio 2 Live concert – tickets for this event are sold out but coverage will be available via the BBC Radio website (bbc.co.uk/radio).

4. Experience international sporting events in St James’s Park

On 7 July, the most famous bike race in the world, Tour De France, will make a show stopping finish on The Mall in St James’s Park (letour.com). From 5-7 July, Green Park will host a Fan Zone where visitors can watch the Tour De France on large screens.

Not a professional cyclist? Riders of all ages and abilities can partake in Prudential RideLondon. Taking place on 9 and 10 August, RideLondon will feature five cycling events, with the majority either passing through, or finishing on The Mall. To celebrate, Green Park will be hosting a Festival Zone featuring free cycle themed entertainment (prudentialridelondon.co.uk).

To commemorate London 2012, The Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games will be held on 20 July at Horse Guards Parade Ground. The event will transform the iconic landmark into what will surely be the most striking athletics arena in the world with pole vault, long jump, shot put and a whole host of track races in a full athletics programme, taking place over two sessions in front of a crowd of 20,000 (britishathletics.org.uk)

View a full list of sporting events in the Royal Parks.

5. Learn survival skills in Hyde Park

11-15 year olds can get back to basics with a six day course of bushcraft skills including fire lighting, water purification, wilderness cooking and shelter building. On completion, all participants will receive a certificate. Starts 28 July. Price £120. (supporttheroyalparks.com)

6. View the catacombs at Brompton Cemetery Open Day on 20 July, 11am-5pm. Descend underground to tour the rarely seen catacombs of Brompton Cemetery by candlelight at the annual Open Day.

Above ground, there will be birds of prey displays, cemetery tours and children’s activities including face painting and balloon modelling.

Initial designs for the Brompton Cemetery Conservation Project will be on display giving visitors the opportunity to provide feedback. (brompton-cemetery.org / royalparks.org.uk)

7. Take a dip in the Serpentine Lido

Take advantage of rising temperatures by having a refreshing swim in the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park.Once you have worked up an appetite, refuel at The Lido Bar and Cafe (open year round).

The Serpentine Lido is open every day in July and August.

8. Visit the new and improved Hyde Park Playground

Nestled between The Serpentine Lake and South Carriage Drive, the largest of the three playgrounds in Hyde Park, is open following a refurbishment.The jungle inspired Hyde Park Playground (formerly known as South Carriage Drive Playground) features a hill fort, bamboo walkway and a nest swing.

9. Attend the Isabella Plantation Summer Event on 3 September, 2-5pm

From any gate in Richmond Park, jump on the free return Isabella Plantation minibus service (operating every Wednesday until 3 September) and attend our summer event.

Following a £1.5million lottery funded improvements project, you will have the opportunity to see the completed works via guided tours of the Plantation, and relax afterwards with complimentary tea and cake (while stocks last).

Isabella Plantation – credit Giles Barnard

10. Watch the pelicans being fed in St James’s Park

Everyday at 2.30pm, on the lawn near Duck Island Cottage, watch the Royal Parks Wildlife Officer feed our resident pelicans twelve pounds of fresh fish and a vitamin supplement. Pelicans have been citizens of St James’s Park since 1664, and this year marks their 350 year anniversary.

– See more at: http://www.royalparks.org.uk/blog#sthash.BQWEgOa3.dpuf