I have lived in London most of my life and am constantly discovering new places to see. Of all the things I come across, whether it’s an interesting street, some architecture or a gallery, the spaces that impress me the most are the parks. A good day in a park can give you a feeling of nourishment like nothing else.
A few years ago I began to wonder how many parks there are in London and how does that compare with other cities in the world. The answer seems to be that London has more parks than any other city by a long shot. Not only in sheer numbers but per square mile too, if you include any green space-and there are different types. Royal parks, commons and squares are some of them. But it isn’t simply the numbers that are impressive, the variety of shapes, sizes and atmosphere in each park makes discovering and exploring them that much sweeter an experience.
Upon realising this, a friend and I decided to write a blog with one simple goal-to review every park in London. We would break down each review into short paragraphs: The natural part (including the grass, trees and other landscape gardening). The extra stuff (like art, sports or ponds etc). The overall atmosphere describing how it all binds together.
So a year and twenty reviews later we realised a few things:
- London is huge and there are so many parks that at our current pace it could take a lifetime to review them all.
- Where does London stop? In other words when is a park not in London anymore.
- With so many types of parks, do we review every patch of public green space?
These technical humdingers aside, the most important thing we discovered was that with some adjustments to the concept, the blog would make an excellent website.
We also came to realize that it would be not only entertaining, but very useful. When staying with a friend in Hendon, it took more than 20 minutes of searching online (travel sites, different council sites, recreation area sites, etc.) to find the closest park to take a walk in. Once located, it was difficult to find the entrance, not only online, but the local people didn’t even seem to be aware of the green area’s existence.
The vision now is to create a website that has all of London’s parks and open spaces described and reviewed in one place. The aim is to make it look great, be easy to use and have all the information you need as to what there is to do and see in all the parks.
As the idea grows, the ambition seems to grow too. People are already mentioning new things that could be added (like information about graveyards). Hopefully at least we can create a website that informs and celebrates the diversity and multitude of parks London has and encourages people to go and discover a few for themselves (or at least visit their local one more often).