There’s no need to leave London if you’re hungry for some wildlife and nature. Some may find it hard to believe, but London is one of the UK’s greenest cities and proudly houses more than 1,000 conservation sites. Among the planes, trains and automobiles there are animals grazing the greens and making London their home too. The fusion of urban with wildlife is one of the unique things about London, so if you feel like escaping the crowds and being at one with nature and its residents, we have the best of London’s wildlife sites listed below.
Camley Street Natural Park (King’s Cross)
This site was derelict in the 1970s but is now cared for by the London Wildlife Trust. Set on the banks of Regents Canal, Camley Park is now a thriving oasis and welcomes visitors daily (entrance is very generously free). The park is divided into different habitats and ecosystems including rainwater ponds and coppiced woodland.
12 Camley St, Kings Cross, London N1C 4PW
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo (Battersea Park)
In the heart of Battersea Park is the children’s zoo (which is also fun for adults). You can get close to the Bolivian squirrel monkeys, wallabies and rat snakes – if that’s what you’re into. For the kids there’s also a café, playgrounds and a gift shop and you can check out their feeding times here.
Battersea Park, Chelsea Embankment, Battersea, London SW11 4NJ
Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park (Greenwich)
This 4 acre wetland was originally the site of an old steel factory. Since their lottery grant in 2008, there’s now a whole host of ponds, pools and streams as well as urban habitats for the wildlife – which is all taken care of by volunteers and local companies. Be sure to pay attention to the bird wildlife, the sounds are incredible.
Thames Path, John Harrison Way, London SE10 0QZ
WWT Wetland Centre (Hammersmith)
Just 10 minutes from Hammersmith sits the Wetland Centre; featuring gardens, wildlife and lots of water. Sightings in early May include swallows, snakes and the Kingfisher bird. At this time of the year you’ll also spot a lot of chicks and ducklings, and summer will further bring bats and beetles.
Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, London SW13 9WT
Hackney City Farm (Hackney)
Hackney City Farm has and does everything; it’s a creative hub and holds everything from pottery making classes to animal sponsoring. The farm life is perfect for kids and reads like a book – there are pigs, rabbits, chickens and donkeys – while adults can make use of the vegetable boxes.
1a Goldsmiths Row, London E2 8QA
ZSL London Zoo (Regents Park)
We love the adults only Zoo Nights every Friday from June 2nd to June 30th. There’s a lightshow, an after hours wildlife tour and alcohol. Zoo Nights allow ZSL to continue vital conservation work so it’s a great way to support them in their mission. Be sure to check out the newly opened Land of The Lions.
Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY
Richmond Park (Richmond)
Richmond Park is great for deer spotting. There are 630 Red and Fallow deer roaming around (usually halfway between the Richmond and Roehampton gates), and they’ve been wondering around since 1637 so it’s wonderful to see them in their natural habitat. The young are born in May-July so you may spot some with the mothers.
Sydenham Hill Wood and Cox’s Walk (Syndenham)
Not strictly a wildlife sight, but against all odds this ancient woodland remains intact (the threat from developers is constant) so we thought it is worth a visit. Cross the old railway line on a footbridge and you’ll see where Camille Pissarro famously painted the Lordship Lane Station. The walk is pleasant and attracts runners too thanks to a little steepness.
Cox’s Walk, London SE26 6LU
Written by Nikki