Top 10 Dog Parks in London
Let’s face it: if there’s a big, grassy open space, your dog is going to be happy to stretch his legs and mark the trees; but the same park walk day in & out can feel boring for us dog servants- err owners. That’s why our team has put together a list of our personal favourite park walks in and around the great city of London (all located within the M25). We have even added tips for where to grab a bite with your pupper before, during or after the exercise! So try something new this weekend and make a day of it in these epic London walks…
1. Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens
Size: 715 acres (combined)
To keep things simple we have combined these two famous parks, divided only by West Carriage Drive which connects Kensington to Paddington. Together, these parks are the homes to the Albert Memorial, Serpentine (gallery & lake), Kensington Palace, the Round Pond, Diana-Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, the Italian Fountains, tennis courts, Diana Memorial Playground, the infamous Speakers Corner as well as many different concerts and events throughout the year. Ok- so your dog won’t care so much if Taylor Swift is at next year’s British Summertime Concert, but the point is it’s an extremely dynamic space with loads for both you and your pup to enjoy.
This park is filled with dogs at all times of the day so your fur baby shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a playmate (unless he prefers solitude in which there is plenty of space for him to avoid interaction and sniff the bushes on his own).
All dogs need to be on a lead near the Round Pond, Playground, Memorials and Flower Walk but otherwise are free to roam the rest of the grounds off-lead. Kensington Gardens is completely fenced while areas of Hyde Park are not- so if your dog is a runner please do be aware!
So, if you’re in the area, take your dog for a walk around the Serpentine and stop at The Lido Café for a full English or the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen for a wood-fired pizza (bundle up in the colder months because you can only sit outside with your doggo!)
Hyde Park 5:00 am until midnight all year round
Kensington Gardens Closing Times
There are car parking facilities but they are limited.
- Lancaster Gate (Central Line)
- Marble Arch (Central Line)
- Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line)
- Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line)
- High Street Kensington (Circle and District Lines)
2. Hampstead Heath
Size: 790 acres
Before we discuss that view, we have two words for you: Dog. Pond. Yep, be sure to bring a towel- this glorious “heath” has a pond specially dedicated to our favourite high-energy, mud-loving creatures. Even if your dog doesn’t like to get his paws wet (lucky you), Hampstead Heath is arguably one of the most dynamic parks London has to offer. It is home to many hills, ponds, woodlands and more as well as one of the highest points in London where you can get that magnificent photo opp. of London. The Heath adjoins the former stately home of Kenwood House to Parliament Hill.
Hampstead Heath is a wildly popular meet up spot for dog lovers- at virtually any time of day, any day of the week, the park is filled with virtually all the variety of canine you could hope for. It is also known for specific breed meet-ups; so, if your idea of a great Sunday is watching 30 chow chows saunter down the hill, wind blowing their fur from their magnificently adorable faces, Hampstead is the place for you. Keeping with the Sunday theme, there are a number of excellent dog-friendly pubs surrounding the park for a nice roast or just a relaxing glass of wine. Try the Spaniards Inn, a gastropub on the northern fringe of the park- famous for their craft ales and elevated pub cuisine. If you’re fancying a baked camembert for two (or one, we won’t judge), try the Bull and Bush on the North Western side where dogs are welcome in the pub and the beautiful large outdoor terrace.
Hampstead Heath is a North-London gem and is well worth the journey for those not fortunate enough to live close by.
Also, did we mention DOG POND?
- Parliament Hill Lido car park: 45 spaces
- East Heath car park: 110 spaces
- Jack Straws car park: 60 spaces
- Golders Hill Park car park: 8 spaces (disabled only)
- Golders Green
- Kentish Town
- Hampstead Heath
- Gospel Oak
3. Battersea Park
Size: 200 acres
What was once Thames marshland is now a favourite play pen for local pups of the south western area. The park boasts its own lakes, spectacular views of the Thames, woodland areas, three playgrounds, sports recreation areas and a…Buddhist peace pagoda? Yep. The “shrine to peace” (pictured above) was constructed by Buddhist nuns & monks and completed in 1985. Battersea Park is also the site of the Brown Dog Affair, a controversial event which led to one of the earliest investigations into the use of animals in medical laboratory experiments (read about it here); the statue of the poor brown terrier that sparked the whole affair is now in the Woodland Walk near the Old English Garden.
We are well aware none of the above will interest your four-legged companion but its something for you to think about while he’s sniffing another dogs’ rear end. What may just pique him, however, are the table scraps that might fall down when you visit The Pear Tree Café for some scrambled eggs on sourdough. With a lovely outdoor terrace overlooking the pond, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy the afternoon with your pup or even mingle with other dogs & their humans!
8am to dusk
- Albert Gate: 150 spaces
- Chelsea Gate: 180 spaces
- Rosery Gate: 360 spaces
- Sloane Square (District/Circle) 1 km walk
- Battersea Park Station
4. Regents Park
Size: 395 acres
When you come to Regents Park, you come to see some one of the most stunning, manicured, picturesque parks that London has to offer; lined with white terraced Victorian houses, it screams elegance, serenity and sophistication. We had to check the website a few times to believe dogs were actually allowed in! But indeed, bring your four-legger and her chicest harness and let her bounce up and down the many grassy open spaces. Please do note, Regent’s Park has many stunning formal gardens that unfortunately do not allow dogs; they must also always be kept on a lead near the Boating Lake or Heather Gardens.
Not to fear, as usual there is plenty of stands and cafes to stop and have a bite in; although we weren’t overly impressed by the cuisine (your dog might not mind the burger though), the Smokehouse is a lovely place for a pint in the sunshine. For a snack or lunch on the West side of the park, there is the Boathouse aptly named for its location by the water. If you and Fido aren’t opposed to an extra walk, we personally recommend walking up to the famous Camden Lock Market for a real street food feast (warning: your dog WILL find soggy chips on the ground). If you’re on the Southern side of the park, you’re within walking distance of Marylebone High Street where there are a variety of dog friendly cafes & restaurants like Le Pain Quotidien (yep- they love dogs!) or Coco Momo.
Very limited pay & display parking. Public transport is recommended.
- Regent’s Park (Bakerloo line)
- Great Portland Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle & Metropolitan lines)
- Baker Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle, Jubilee, Metropolitan & Bakerloo lines)
- St John’s Wood (Jubilee line)
- Camden Town (Northern line)
5. Richmond Park
Size: 2,360 acres
You don’t have to drive three hours to Wales to experience the wild countryside; in fact, you only need go halfway to Heathrow! Richmond Park is an expansive, rugged land and London’s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest; it was originally used by Charles I as a hunting ground. Today, the park is home to approximately 630 fallow deer, rose-ringed parakeets as well as squirrels, rabbits, snakes, frogs and countless other impressive species. Indeed, it is an outdoorsman- and a outdoorsdog’s dream! With 30 ponds and an area 3 times the size of Central Park, you probably won’t traverse it all in one go. That’s just fine, though, because we guarantee you will want to go back!
Although your furry companion may be the most laidback pooch in town, do take caution as both dogs and deer can behave unexpectedly especially at certain times of the year; if you are not sure how your dog will react, please keep him on a lead in the presence of deer. Also, dogs must be kept on leads in the Isabella Plantation (not to be missed!) and near both Bishop & Adam’s ponds (though we did notice this rule to be broken on more than one occasion).
Dogs are not permitted at Pembroke Lodge, a former Prime Minister’s residence-turned-restaurant with epic views on the Thames. However, do not despair! We highly recommend the Lass O’Richmond Hill for a warm welcome as well as a warm meal or a drink out on their sunny terrace! They even have a self-serve doggy station where you can help yourself to treats and water bowls. For the warmer months, Petersham Nurseries is just down the hill and serves up delicious cakes and other wholesome snacks in the Teahouse that you can enjoy outside with the pup (bring some biscuits along so he doesn’t get too jealous).
(Summer) 7:00am & (Winter) 7:30am – closing times
- Plenty of car parks: see here
- Richmond Station (National Rail or District Line)
- then catch the 371 or 65 buses to the pedestrian gate at Petersham
6. Bushy Park
Size: 1,099 acres
Some people call it Richmond Park’s little sister- ok, we just call it that- but if deer-spotting is your thing, this is the place to do it. Again, be cautious with your dog vis-a-vis deer, but don’t miss out on witnessing the magnificent stags that lord over the premises. Formerly the US army base during the Second World War, Bushy Park has plenty of open spaces as well as dog-friendly ponds for those who want to splash around. Dogs are not permitted in the Woodland Gardens where the only restaurant is located; however, its no bother at all because Paws for Coffee is located just opposite the Hampton Hill entrance. Though you can probably glean from the name, Paws for Coffee is seriously dog-friendly- if you permit it, your pup will be treated to a water bowl and sausages on arrival. As if that’s not enough of a reason to go, they actually have a doggy menu- complete with a Puppychino made from goats milk and black pudding. Need we say more?
- Four car parks: see here
- Waterloo to Teddington/Hampton Wick/Hampton Court
7. Epping Forest
Size: 5,930 acres
A list of London “parks” is not to be without Epping Forest- tucked away in the northeast corner of the city, it is the largest natural space in London stretching all the way to Essex. You and your pup are in for infinite adventure and fun in this sunlit, ancient woodland. Epping Forest is stepped in history- fancy seeing Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge? Or two Iron Age forts? No problem. There are an infinite number of possibilities when you take a trip up to this local jungle: with 4 visitor centres, there are countless walks that you can plan with your doggo. All we can say is, come prepared! The walks can get pretty long depending where you start so make sure you have water and snacks in hand. Speaking of snacks…though we cannot personally vouch for the food (as we have not had the pleasure of trying it yet!) we have only heard great things about The Owl in Loughton. Please keep in mind that Epping Forest is virtually a region of its own and you would need to plan your outing around being near this super doggy-friendly gastropub. With an enormous garden and typical pub atmosphere, The Owl is the perfect spot to stop after a long trek in the woodlands. While you’re at it, check out their Doggy Menu with choices like ham or sausage and another puppuchino for dessert!
With 52 carparks, I think it’s best we just provide you with a link
- Central Line
- Theyden Bois
- Chingford Rail Station
8. Crystal Palace Park
Size: 200 acres
It may be one of the smaller parks on the list, but that’s no reason to turn your snout up! This little park contains a lot of history; life-size dinosaur models that were created for the park’s opening in 1854 are scattered around the water’s edge. The park was originally designed to accommodate the Crystal Palace which was burned down in 1936; it also provides an impressive lookout to Central London & Greenwich from it’s highest point on Norwood Ridge. For the more studious pups, there is even a maze to solve! Now, on to dog-friendly food matters; just west of the park is a gastropub called The Sparrowhawk Pub; if dishes like Chicken Kiev or a Superfood Salad sound like your kind of thing, it’s a lovely place to kick back after a jaunt in the park.
- 7:30 AM- Closing Time http://www.bromley.gov.uk/parksopeningtimes
- Free parking available at the following park entrances:
- Thicket Road
- Anerley Hill
- Crystal Palace Park Road
- Crystal Palace Station
- Penge West Station
9. Greenwich Park
Size: 183 acres
Another one of the 8 Royal Parks, except this time your dog can mark her territory at longitude zero on the map…no big deal. Indeed, Greenwich is the site of the Meridian Line, the divide of the Eastern and Western Hemisphere, the Royal Observatory, and a really fab view of the London skyline. We should mention that, while there are deer here, they are kept in an enclosed area which is not open to dogs; however, pups are permitted on the “paved area” of the Pavilion Teahouse, the perfect spot of a slice of cake situated just by the Royal Observatory. A trip to Greenwich wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the dog-friendly Greenwich Tavern; located near the Park’s lower gates, this gastropub serves up comfort food in an elegant and modern atmosphere.
6:00 am – closing time
- Pay-and-display only: limited spaces.
- North Greenwich (Jubilee Line) – then catch the 188 bus to Greenwich Park gate.
10. Green Park & St. James’ Park
Size: 40 acres
Okay, don’t roll your eyes just yet. These parks may be tiny compared to the others, but with unbeatable accessibility and location, we felt it deserved to make the list. No question, this park is more for you than for your dog- with Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Victoria, Piccadilly Circus and Belgravia surrounding the fringes of the park, it’s at the heart of some of the most prominent areas of London where you can access anything your heart desires at any moment while still giving the fur baby some decent exercise. Although St.James’ is picturesque, we personally prefer Green Park as this is the side with the wider grassy open spaces where you can endlessly play fetch or lay in the sun. If you find yourself in the Southwest corner of the park, you are just a few short minutes walk away from quaint Elizabeth Street where you can visit the Thomas Cubitt for some dog-friendly, elevated pub-food in the posh neighbourhood of Belgravia. Just a little further westward, you can find yourself at No.11 Pimlico Road, one of our personal favourite doggie-approved haunts with items on the menu like truffle macaroni & cheese (we probably should have led with that).
No parking, unfortunately.
- Green Park (Jubilee, Victoria and Piccadilly Lines)
- Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line)
Do you have a favourite park that you think needs to be on this list or any other recommendations? Comment below!