Glorious Golders Hill Park – A Beautiful Park Worth Exploring

Contrary to the common perception that London is all about shopping, fashion, restaurants, business and cultural centres, there is a different aspect of the city which is that nearly 40% of the city’s area is dedicated to green spaces consisting of Royal parks and gardens as well as other parks and nature reserves. It is indeed amazing that there are so many of such green spaces where residents and visitors can have a great time. One of these is the Golders Hill Park at Hampstead Heath which presents a fantastic green space near Golders Green and the Hampstead Heath Extension. Located in Golders Green London and managed by the City of London Corporation, Golders Hill Park is part of the Hampstead Heath Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation. It remains closed at night, unlike the rest of the Heath. It is located adjacent to the West Heath part of Hampstead Heath on a site where a large house stood at one time but it was bombed during World War II.

Features of the Park: The salient features of the park include a large grassy area and a formal, well-maintained flower garden. A duck pond adjoins the garden and is characterised by a small humpback bridge and a separate water garden leading onto a larger pond that has both black and white swans. It also has a distinct area for fallow deer, which is close to a small zoo that has recently been renovated. Another feature of Golders Hill Park is a well subscribed playground and a putting green. At the site of the original house and on top of the park, there is a restaurant. The park organises children’s activities during the summer whereas during June and July, live music takes place on the bandstand on Sunday afternoons. Dogs have to be kept on a lead in the park.

Other highlights of the Park: The park is part of Hampstead Heath and it was opened to the public in 1989. It features many attractions and along with the nearby Pergola, it presents enough to keep a visitor occupied for a whole day. Apart from these features, it presents a beautiful surrounding with well-maintained and manicured lawns that are as springy as a mattress. It is embellished with a plethora of beautiful plants and flowers along with plenty of wildlife that ranges from squirrels to birds, butterflies and bees. It is indeed a fantastic park and because of its beauty, it won the London in Bloom 2014 award for Large Park, getting gold as well as being declared category winner..

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Zoo: The free zoo in the park offers different types of animals and birds such as coatis, donkeys, maras, rheas, red junglefowl, red-legged seriemas, Lady Amherst’s pheasants, ring-tailed lemurs. Laughing kookaburras, white-faced whistling ducks, cattle egrets, sacred ibis, little egrets, white-naped cranes and Eurasian eagle-owls. The zoo, though small, is best for kids to see the above animals. All the animals in the zoo are available to adopt. Visitors can also visit an aviary in the zoo and do some bird spotting. A deer enclosure is also a part of the zoo where plenty of deer can be seen lazing around. At the stumpery, you can wander through and get the feel of mini woodland with plenty of tree stumps that are sculptural and natural works of art, ferns and a lot more. There are many squirrels that are friendly and willing to come up to you providing a great photo opportunity. Hedgehogs and plenty of birds can also be spotted in the zoo.

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At the butterfly house, you can see some beautiful specimens. It is warm inside and it becomes uncomfortable on a hot day as it is more like a greenhouse. It is important not to step on any butterfly. Apart from the butterfly house, you can find a beautiful walled garden with benches that offers sustainable planting and floral displays. It is an ideal place to relax while admiring the beautiful surroundings.

Another place to sit and relax is the water garden where you can hear water flowing behind you. The park also offers some large metal structures that are in the shape of dinosaurs which are called ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ and were made by some great artists. You can also find a cafe in the park where you can enjoy breakfast in the morning and a basic lunch consisting of a filled baguette, soup, burger with fries or a pasta dish. Cakes, coffee, tea and soft drinks are also available. Italian ice creams and sorbets with some delicious flavours can also be enjoyed at a hatch located around the side. The toilets are near the cafe.

Hill Garden and Pergola: These are connected to the park and you need to walk through the Hill Garden to reach the Pergola. The Hill Garden surrounds a formal pond and offers a great place to sit, relax and contemplate. The Pergola is stunning and a must-see place as it overlooks the West Heath. They have now been declared a grade II Listed Building. Mini woodland surrounds the Pergola that gives a feel of being located in the countryside. For more rugged walking experiences, you can go to Heath Extension and Hampstead Heath which are located close by. Kenwood House is also worth a visit.

The park generally opens from 7:30am until dusk. In the winter it closes at 4:30pm. The nearest underground station is Golders Green which is served by the Northern line. Golden Green also has many restaurants.

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