Dispatch from London on World Environment Day: Green Park and “do-you-have-an-underground-station-named-after-you?” vibes 

Did your London friends tell you about the Green Park’s Underground roundel turned into Green Planet (as it did in January 2022 to celebrate David Attenborough’s TV series?)

First, you will have to have a park called Green Park, then you’ll have a station named after it – a feat that neither Hyde Park nor Kensington Gardens managed to garner and even Buckingham Palace failed to do so!

Green Park, the most intimate of the 8 royal parks in London as well as being the smallest, certainly is a green space worth visiting and revisiting and is perfect for an afternoon nap or peaceful stroll in between your shopping expeditions or Mayfair art gallery wanders.

“Understated elegance” is probably a good description of this small park that has no flower beds, just trees and a few spring blooms.

It is also rather perfect as a picnic spot: there’s Fortnum & Mason almost next door, from where you can get any picnic provision one can think of.  You can also procure a book almost next door too, at Hatchards – the oldest bookshop in London – or Heywood Hill, a hidden gem!

The signature green-and-white-strip deckchairs adds to the relaxed vibe of the park.

The atmosphere here inside the park is serene and laid back, I have never seen it crowded, and it’s almost always simply about Londoners who live or work in the neighbourhood getting their dose of sunshine or fresh air or green, and visitors enjoying a picnic, if it were a fine day.  Most of the trees in the park are plane trees and lime trees, both fairly common, but the park is also home to black poplar trees, which are Britain’s rarest native timber trees, while there are also silver maples (distinguished by their finely cut silvery leaves) and silver limes (which have leaves that are a silvery white underneath) as well as some native oaks and hawthorn.

Because the park slopes downward from the south side of Piccadilly, it feels quite secluded.  Here, you can disappear into your own world.  Sometimes it feels like Green Park is there to support us all with the usual sustenance offered up by urban parks everywhere in the world: a small piece of green for office workers, teenagers, families, or those in search of somewhere to stretch the legs.  Or immerse oneself into a book or a daydream.  (The colour green is said to belong to fairies and J.K. Rowling will have us know that green is used to reveal magical status to other wizards, so here you go!)

(Summer is coming too).

It is all very mellow, a slice of tranquil countryside-feel right in the middle of London.

Even if you are reminded that the park once hosted balloon flights and elaborate firework displays (Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks was first played there).  Even if the names Constitution Hill and Queens Walk remind you of the royal connections and the nearby Buckingham Palace (no curtseying or formalities are required here): Queens Walk is the path going south from Ritz Corner, and Constitution Hill is the road that runs along the diagonal side of Green Park connecting the western end of The Mall (just in front of Buckingham Palace) with Hyde Park Corner, and essentially separates the western park of Green Park from Buckingham Palace gardens.  Naturally, Kings and Queens and Prime Ministers have all strolled in the park.  (It is a very historical park, having been first established in 1668, when the land became a park known as upper St James’s Park.)

P.S. If you happen to visit Green Park in spring and find the park not green but yellow – the only bulbs the park has is more than 250,000 daffodils which offers up a yellow annual display for a few glorious weeks.