London’s Largest Parks for Social Distancing in Lockdown 3.0

With the UK currently in a third national lockdown, alert level 5 has resorted us to stricter social distancing rules and we are only advised to leave the house once a day for exercise. Parks are the only thing that seem to keep us sane at the moment. Whilst the R rate across the UK is between 1.2 to 1.3 based on the latest data, it seems London’s R rate has dropped to a best estimate of 0.9 to 1.2, suggesting the virus may be slowing across the capital.

To help London prevent any further spread, researchers at Essential Living have crunched the numbers to reveal how many people can visit London’s biggest parks, whilst still adhering to social distancing. Taking the Ordnance Survey list of biggest parks, we extracted the six largest within Greater London and calculated how many visitors could occupy the parks whilst also maintaining the two metre social distancing rule.

Richmond Park is at my doorstep and keeps me from getting insane during this pandemic. Playing the guitar near the deers was quite a highlight in 2020

Here’s how the 6 largest parks in London stacked up:

1.   Richmond Park, Greater London – 9.53km²

Unsurprisingly, Richmond Park is at the top of the list of the largest parks for pandemic walks. It is situated in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and was created by Charles I in the 17th century as a deer park. The largest of London’s Royal Parks, it is of national and international importance for wildlife conservation. With an impressive size of 9.53km² – comparable in size to Paris’s Bois de Vincennes and around three times the size of Central Park in New York!

Richmond Park may be the best place to go for social distancing as Essential Living has calculated that it could fit a whopping 684,788 visitors with everyone maintaining two metres between each other.

This is one of my photos. Seeing this deer posing for me was a great moment!

Allow yourself to escape to the great outdoors in Richmond Park with its wide open spaces, grasslands and deer herds, just a stone’s throw from central London. Luckily it’s at my doorstep and I have walked every millimeter in this park full of wild animals and nature. I am grateful to be so near it. It’s also the lung of the Capital and has helped me maintain my sanity throughout the Covid pandemic. I have even played the guitar near deers.

2.   Hainault Forest Country Park, Greater London – 3.62km²

Hainault Forest Country Park is a Country Park located in Greater London, with portions in: Hainault in the London Borough of Redbridge; the London Borough of Havering; and in the Lambourne parish of the Epping Forest District in Essex.

With 3.62km² of space this park is perfect for keeping your distance from others, so much so that the park could occupy 260,119 visitors even with social distancing measures in place. With open space parklands, numerous public footpaths, a large lake, Hainault Forest Golf Club; and Fox Burrow Farm, there’s lots to enjoy here.

3.   Bushy Park, Greater London – 3.45km²

Linked to Hampton Court Palace by the Longford River, Bushy Park is famed for its mix of waterways, gardens and grassland, and roaming herds of red and fallow deer.

With all 3.45km² of open space it is no wonder that Bushy Park could allow around 247,903 visitors whilst also maintaining the two metre social distancing guidelines.

4.   Hampstead Heath, Greater London – 3.16km²

Hampstead Heath is one of London’s most popular open spaces with beautiful countryside, the magic of Hampstead Heath lies not only in its rich wildlife and extensive sports and recreational opportunities, but also in its proximity and accessibility to millions of people.

With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that the large 3.16km² of space could occupy around 227,065 visitors with two metres between everyone – making this an ideal space to enjoy some downtime.

5.   Wimbledon Common, Greater London – 2.90km²

Wimbledon and Putney Commons are countryside escapes amidst the urban surroundings of Wimbledon, Putney and Kingston-upon-Thames. Designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation, the Commons provide an important home for wildlife and a place for visitors to relax and unwind.

This could be the perfect place to relax with approximately 208,382 visitors able to occupy the 2.90km² space whilst also maintaining social distancing.

6.   Hampton Court Park, Greater London – 2.59km²

Hampton Court Park is a walled royal park managed by the Historic Royal Palaces. The park lies between the gardens of Hampton Court Palace and Kingston upon Thames and Surbiton in south west London. The walled fallow deer park has been open to the public since 1894.

This beautiful open space is perfect for those socially distanced gatherings (up to 6 people only though, remember) with lots of plant and animal life to gaze upon and with 2.59km² of space the team at Essential Living has calculated that approximately 186,107 visitors could occupy the park and maintain their 2 metre distance.

 

Methodology and Data Sources

Using the Ordnance Survey’s list of 100 biggest parks, we extracted the six largest parks within Greater London and calculated how many people could visit the park based on its size and also keeping two metres away from each other. This was calculated by multiplying the amount of people that can fit in a 1km2 area whilst keeping 2 metres distance between them (71,856) by the area of each park.

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