Explore the best London parks

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Despite its branding as the Big Smoke, London is far from being merely a grey and foggy metropolis.

Indeed, visitors to the capital are always pleasantly surprised by how green it is, and delighted by the city's vast collection of beautiful parks and outdoor spaces.

What's even better is that many of them are completely free to explore, and even during the winter months when the temperatures have dropped, you can admire spectacular scenery and kick a ball around – as long as you've got your thermals on.

Regent's Park is a must-see, and is the largest outdoor sports area in London. Spanning a whopping 410 acres, lots of people come to the park to play on the cricket, rugby and football pitches, and to take photos of the various wildlife living there.

It is also home to ZSL London Zoo, the oldest scientific facility of its kind and the habitat for all kinds of exotic creatures.

St James' Park is another popular – and free – place to go for a stroll, and is slightly smaller at 58 acres. A number of major events and public celebrations are held at the Royal Park, and it has its own restaurant called Inn the Park, where you can munch on hearty British grub.

For those interested in dining in central London, the park is just a stone's throw away from a long list of first-class eateries and trendy cafes.

The largest Royal Park is Richmond Park, which is a huge 2,500 acres and known for accommodating around 650 deer.

It is a true joy roaming around this hilly landscape full of magnificent trees, butterflies and woodland critters, plus it is very peaceful and serves as a haven away from the chaos of the city centre. You could spend an entire day getting to know this beautiful space.