Top Ten: London parks

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Summer in the capital can often feel a trifle stifling but it needn't be with our beautiful array of stunning, emerald green, utopias that provide the perfect sanctuaries in London. We take a look at ten of the best places to lay back, catch some rays and smell the roses.

Isabella Plantation – Richmond Park

You would be forgiven for thinking you have accidentally wandered into Oz such is the vibrancy of colours on offer in this little nook of Richmond Park. Littered with streams, waterfalls and enough flowers and plant life to keep Alan Titchmarsh drooling this really is paradise in the city.

Camley Street Natural Park – Camden

Situated on the banks of the St. Pancras Lock in Camden, the Camley Street Natural Park offers the ideals of nature with a capital 'N'. It is home to a variety of wildlife including mammals, birds, insects and amphibians.

Kensington Gardens – Westminster & Chelsea

Considered part of the "green lung" in London, which includes Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James's Park, Kensington Gardens is an immaculately kept place of serenity. The stunning ponds and fountains combined with expanses of open green make this one of London's perfect spots for relaxing.

St. James's Park – Westminster

Covering 57 acres of land and slap bang in the middle of London, St. James's Park features a stunning lake which includes Duck Island, so named after the waterfowl that reside there ,including a colony of pelicans donated by a Russian ambassador in 1664.

Battersea Park – Wandsworth

Deceptively big, Battersea Park benefits from running along the Thames on one side with a host of hide-aways and picturesque spots in the middle. Throw-in a delightful children's zoo, complete with all manner of monkeys, birds, reptiles and more cuddly critters, and it seems Battersea Park has no limits. It recently hosted the first ever Formula E London race.

Kew Gardens – Richmond

Boasting the world's largest collection of living plants, Kew Gardens is a staggering place of beauty. One minute you can be wandering the vast area admiring the flora and fauna, the next you're heading into a tropically heated greenhouse to marvel at what the world outside London has to offer. A genuine treat.

St. Dunstan In The East – City Of London

A former medieval church that was bombed to all but its shell during World War II, St. Dunstan is now a quiet little spot in the heart of London. The ruins of the church still remain with climbing plants injecting some greenery into the city.

Bonnington Square Gardens – Vauxhall

Created in 1990 in homage to the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, Bonnington Square Gardens is tended to by local residents, giving it a true sense of community. It is worth visiting in the evening when fairy lights bring a playful character to the gardens.

Fenton House Garden – Hampstead

If Hampstead Heath is looking a little too crowded on those warm summer days, then head over to the nearby Fenton House Garden. Within which you'll find roses, an orchard and a working kitchen garden. The garden is walled off offering that extra layer of magic from the outside bustle of London.

WWT London Wetland Centre – Barnes

Formed of four disused Victorian reservoirs the WWT London Wetland Centre covers more than 40 acres of land and is deemed a Site Of Special Scientific Interest. Many species of birds found nowhere else in London have made home in the Wetlands Centre.

Battersea Park Pagoda in the sun

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