As a new study recommends weekly nature time – 7 city parks to give urbanites their eco-fix

14th Jun 19 | Lifestyle

It’s not always easy being green in the heart of the urban jungle, but research suggests it’s worth the effort.

Autumn Scene in the Park

It’s not news that greenery is good for you. Fresh air, peace and quiet, a change of scene – it’s received wisdom that a countryside retreat can work wonders for relieving symptoms of stress and low mood.

Now a new study suggests that some well-placed nature can majorly improve wellbeing – even with just two hours of exposure a week.

Here are a few urban havens away from the car horns and concrete, to help boost the wellbeing of even the most overworked city dweller…

1. Hyde Park, London

Hyde Park

One of the big daddies of the urban green scene, Hyde Park is internationally renowned as a place of repose in the heart of the urban sprawl. A verdant oasis defiantly covering some of the world’s hottest real estate, spots like Speaker’s Corner, the Holocaust Memorial and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain would all qualify for sight-seeing in their own right.

If you’re fortunate to work within range, you’d be mad not to take the odd lunchtime stroll. Just make sure you behave yourself – it’s a royal park, and you’re only allowed entrance at the grace and favour of Her Majesty.

2. The Phoenix Park, Dublin

One of the largest enclosed parks in Europe, let alone Ireland, this urban Eden is teeming with flora and fauna. Originally created as a royal hunting ground in the 1660s, the park still entertains a large herd of wild, but utterly fearless, fallow deer.

For those hunting something a little more exotic, 28 hectares are taken up with Dublin Zoo, which houses a host of endangered species including sloths, sea lions and even a tiger.

3. Wollaton Park, Nottingham

Wollaton Park

Another park with a pack of roaming deer, Wollaton can also throw a sixteenth-century country house into the mix. But while many visitors head straight for Wollaton Hall, an admittedly marvellous mansion replete with Jacobean stonework and hilltop setting, the surrounding woodland is more than worth your time.

Featuring 200 or so hectares of greenery with an absolutely enormous lake, it’s hard to believe you’re just three miles from Nottingham city centre.

4. Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow

Designed by Chatsworth House alumnus Sir Joseph Paxton in 1852, Kelvingrove is the archetypal Victorian park – curving carefully along the banks of the river Kelvin, and planned down to the last blade of grass.

The pride of Glasgow’s West End, Kelvingrove offers five bowling greens, four tennis courts, three cafes, a skatepark, a bandstand, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

5. Fitzgerald Park, Cork

Fitzgerald Park

Named after former mayor Edward Fitzgerald, Cork’s finest public park just oozes personality. Tree-lined avenues criss-cross elegant flower gardens, with water features ranging from river, to pond, to fountain. A short trip from both city centre and university, it’s a summertime staple for sun-seeking Corkonians.

6. Birkenhead Park, Birkenhead

Birkenhead Park

Often overshadowed by the larger, louder parks of neighbouring Liverpool, Birkenhead Park is actually as influential as they come.

It is commonly considered to have been the world’s first ever publicly funded park when it opened in 1847, and provided the template for Central Park in New York. Today its storied history is still writ large – check out the neo-classical entrance arches, the Grade II listed Roman Boathouse and Swiss Bridge.

7. Roath Park, Cardiff

Best known for its iconic, aquatic lighthouse – a 1915 creation memorialising Scott of the Antarctic – Roath Park was named best park in Wales in a public vote in 2017.

A Victorian classic with an exquisite boating lake, visitors can play bowls, tennis and basketball in the Pleasure Gardens, while the Botanic Garden displays a wide array of attractive flowers and shrubs.

© Press Association 2019