Lovely London Parks: A Guide to Regent's Park
Stuck for things to do in London this summer? London’s parks are positively buzzing with activity. In part two of our London parks guide, we go to Regent’s Park, also known as the “jewel in the crown” due to its beautifully manicured lawns and gardens. From peaceful rose gardens to open air theatre, animals and flying trapeze acts, there’s something to float everyone’s boat.
How does your garden grow?
Green fingers will get garden envy after a stroll around the park’s beautifully kept Queen Mary’s Garden, where you’ll find a mere 30,000 roses in bloom, alongside some 9,000 begonias and bed after bed of colourful delphiniums. You can then head over to the Regent’s Park Allotment Garden where you can get tips on food growing, meet other budding gardeners and take part in various voluntary activities.
Drama in the Open Air
Now in its 80th season, the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has become a London landmark and one of the best things to do in London during the summer. Take a picnic hamper and enjoy a glass of Pimms under the fairy light-laced trees before taking your seat in one of the city’s largest auditoriums and enjoying some first-class theatrics. Pray for good weather, but the show must go on come rain or shine so bring your waterproofs (preferably with a hood as no umbrellas are allowed during the performance). This season’s lineup includes Ragtime the Musical (until September 8) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (until September 5).
A Sporting Hub
Round up your more active friends and colleagues for a friendly game of football or softball in the sunshine. Regent’s Park multi-sports “Hub” boasts tennis/netball courts, an athletics track, trim trail, cricket pitches and nets, and softball, football and rugby pitches, all available for hire. There’s also a range of pay-as-you-go indoor and outdoor exercise classes including pilates, yoga, tai chi, circuit training, body conditioning, running, jogging and power walking. If you can’t make up your mind which class to try first, go along to one of the "mystery" classes on Tuesday lunchtimes.
After some vigorous exercise, what could be more rewarding than a sausage and bacon butty at the nearby Honest Sausage? You can eat it guilt-free knowing that you’ve just burned some calories and all the meat is free-range and organic and sourced from farms within 15 miles of the premises (oh, and the bread, tea and coffee is organic too). Believe us when we tell you you’ll eat like Royalty (Dad of the family-run business is a master butcher to HRH the Prince of Wales). On the Broadwalk, re-opens August 4.
You won’t find any Olympic activity going on in this park, at least not from the humans, but you can see some animal athletes in action at the park’s London Zoo, including Bob the burrowing owl taking part in the 100cm sprint, weightlifting with the bugs, and triple jump with the lions. Animal lovers can also sign up to be a zoo keeper for the day.
The Broadwalk Ballroom: Cha cha, jive and quickstep it around the park in this outdoor charity ballroom dance in aid of The Royal Parks Foundation on August 11. Non-twinkle toes should show up early at 1pm for the beginner’s class (followed by ballroom dancing for all levels until 6pm). Tickets are £10 and available upon arrival (Broadwalk in the Avenue Gardens).
Tango Al Fresco: If tango is more your style, then hold out another day and go along to the outdoor charity tango dance on August 12. Same time, same place, same drill as above.
Gorilla Circus Flying Trapeze School: Thrill seekers should sign up for a two-hour class in the park with the Gorilla Circus Flying Trapeze School. Whether you’re aged 8 or 78 (oldest student to date so far) you can learn to fly on a trapeze. They’ll lower you in gently with an easy warm up, but by the end of the class you’ll be flying through the air from one bar to another, throwing yourself into the open arms of a trusty catcher. Check out their website for more information (until September 2 2012).
Regent’s Park opens from 5am to 9.30pm. For more information, visit the park’s website.
Did we miss anything great going on in Regent's Park? Add it in the comments!
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