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11 Best Dog Walker Parks in London

11 Best Dog Walker Parks in London

Dog Walkers in London

Having a dog in the city often seems like it would be unfair. Dogs need exercise. They need to run around manically, throw themselves about, roll in puddles and otherwise behave mischievously.

However, London has a plethora of gorgeous and sizeable parks that are perfect for a doggy day trip.

And of course if you really want, there is a huge amount of space just outside of London, the Chiltern Hills for example, which certainly deserve a thorough explore.

For all you London based dog owners (or any Londoners who like a good walk), we have compiled a short list of some of our favourite parks in London, and they really aren’t that hard to get to.

Grab your HBB, pack your essentials and get going.

#1 Hyde Park – Central London

London’s most famous – and perhaps busiest – park, but dogs are welcomed here with open paws. Hyde Park is one of the Royal Parks and forms a huge rectangular green lung in the middle of central London. It is home to numerous famous landmarks which draw in millions of tourists each year, including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers’ Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.

Nearest station? Queensway, Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch (Central Line) and Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line)

Find out more and plan your visit here.

#2 Victoria Park – East

Vicky Park, as it’s known to eastenders, is a social hotspot for outgoing canines and their owners alike. It’s split into two parts: The western half is landscaped with a fantastic organic lakeside café, boating lake and picnic areas in the summer, while the eastern half is more suitable for dogs and has larger expanses to run on.

Be advised to carry a doggie bag though as there’s an open-ended children’s adventure playground (dogs are not allowed) and plenty of green area given over to sport. The Kenton is an excellent local dog-friendly Norwegian pub to pause in.

Nearest station? Hackney Wick or Cambridge Heath, (Overground)

More info on Victoria Park

#3 Richmond Park – West

As the biggest enclosed space in London, there’s no shortage of spots for your dog to explore here in this National Nature Reserve.

This is London’s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest, so dog owners will need to be aware of the precious wildlife here. There are some restrictions in certain areas, and owners are advised to avoid the park during the deer rutting (September to October) and birthing (May to July) seasons to help prevent any potential problems.

Nearest station? Richmond (National Rail and District Line)

Is there a car park? Yes, there are several.

Find out more and plan your visit here.

#4 Regents Park – Central

Designed by John Nash, Regent’s Park covers 395 acres and is perhaps the most picturesque of central London’s parks with glorious flower beds and the famous Queen Mary’s rose garden with over 1000 varieties. There are plenty of places to let your pooch run free (especially on Primrose Hill) but dogs should be kept on leads in the formal gardens and sports areas.

Nearest station: Regent’s Park (Bakerloo line), Great Portland Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle & Metropolitan lines), Baker Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle, Jubilee, Metropolitan & Bakerloo lines), St John’s Wood (Jubilee line)

Plan your dog walk at Regents Park here

#5 Peckam Rye Park – South

This Victorian Park has recently been restored to its former Victorian glory with lottery money. At 113 acres, it is south east London’s biggest green zone and it has loads to offer: woodlands, a lake, formal garden and the Café on the Rye.

The arboretum is a canine-free zone but the lovely Japanese garden isn’t, and there are plenty of other trails to take: Southwark council even provides a handy trail map.

Nearest station? Denmark Hill Station (Overground)

Plan your dog walk in Peckham Rye Park here.

#6 Hampstead Heath – North

As far as views of London go, they don’t get much better than when perched atop Parliament Hill, the summit of hilly Hampstead Heath. Sometimes known as ‘kite hill’ due to its popularity among kite flyers. Spanning a huge 320 hectares (790 acres), this wildlife-rich parkland is among the biggest in London and features woodlands, vast heaths and swimming ponds, including one dedicated to dogs that enjoy a dip in the water. As you’d expect from an ancient heathland, there’s plenty of history, too – there are at least 55 historical features, monuments and archaeological sites to explore.

Nearest station? Golders Green, Hampstead or Kentish Town (Northern Line) and Hampstead Heath or Gospel Oak (London Overground).

Is there a car park? Yes, several.

Find out more and plan your visit here

#7 Battersea Park – Central

This Thames-side gem spans 200 acres with lakes, woodland areas, designated nature spots and open space. The park, which opened in 1858 on reclaimed Thames marshland, has a colourful history – including that of The Brown Dog affair. A statue of the same name was placed in the park in memory of dogs used in research experiments at the turn of the last century and was the subject of huge political controversy. The terrier figurine sits on a plinth in the park’s woodland, beside the Old English Garden.

Nearest station? Battersea Park (National Rail)

Is there car park? Yes

Find out more and plan your visit here.

#8 Lee Valley Park – East

This enormous 10,000 acre, 46 mile long linear park along the leafy banks of the River Lee runs from the East India Dock Basin on the River Thames in east London and up through Essex and Hertfordshire to Ware.

The park’s towpath through London takes in Walthamstow Marsh Nature Reserve, one of the few remaining pieces of the capital’s once widespread river valley grasslands. There’s also Coppermill Fields, Leyton Marsh and Tottenham Marshes, as well as plenty of reservoirs, as the park makes its way out of London. Once the park hits Waltham Cross, it opens up to the vast expanse of open spaces and lakes of the River Lee Country Park, which even has a free 500 metre dog agility course located just north of Cheshunt Railway station.

Nearest Station? There are many, it depends on where in the park you want to go.

Find out more and plan your visit here.

#9 Wimbledon Common – South West

Who wouldn’t want to romp around on Wimbledon Common, the largest expanse of heathland in London? Encompassing Putney Lower Common and Putney Heath, the conversation area covers 1,140 acres and supports a variety of wildlife, areas of mature woodland, ponds and bogland. You’ll cross paths with horse riders here as well as school children on nature trails and foragers in the autumn. If you start out from Putney, there’s a lovely walk to Wimbledon windmill with dog-friendly tea rooms to reward the foot-sore.

Nearest station? Wimbledon Park or Southfield Station (District Line)

Plan your dog walk on Wimbledon Common here

#10 Thames Path – South West

A well-trodden path by well-heeled dog owners who live locally but little known about outside the postcode. The walk offers the most pleasant, leafy views of the river, and is lined with fabulous trees which have grown huge due to the abundance of water. If you’re feeling energetic you can walk all the way from Hammersmith to Twickenham, – there are plenty of riverside pubs to stop at, several of which allow dogs on the lead.

Nearest Station? It depends where you want to start.

More info on dog walking on the Thames Path from Barnes

#11 Highgate Wood – North

A short walk from Hampstead Heath will bring you to this 70 acre ancient woodland. It’s a haven for wildlife and accessible scenic walks and, come spring, you’ll find a beautiful carpet of bluebells there. Evidence of its history dates back to prehistoric times. There are good facilities here, including a cafe, on the edges of the woodland’s central field.

Nearest train station: Highgate (Northern Line).

Is there a car park? Yes.

Find out more and plan your visit here.

What’s your favourite walk in or around London? And your favourite HBB to take with you?

We’d love to know in the comments section below.

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8 interesting, alternative yoga options to try out

traditional yoga

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Eight Alternative Yoga Classes to try out

Yoga – the word holds connotations of deep breathing, stillness, meditation and the silent surrounds of India’s mountain tops or colourful Mandalas. Well, this isn’t for everyone. Some people need something a little more fast-paced or intense.

So we asked ourselves, just how strange do yoga practices get?

We did a little digging and found 8 alternative yoga options that you might like to try if traditional yoga isn’t doing it for you.

  1. Rocket Yoga

Trending amongst yoga aficionados, it’s a cross between ashtanga and vinyasa, and is often thought of as the original ‘power yoga’. Developed by Larry Schultz in 1980s San Francisco, the style is meant to be more intense than traditional yoga, with faster more fluid movements and transitions.

Teachers insist that you will quickly catch on and be running through the sequences at full speed in no time at all. APart of the appeal we think is that you don’t have to master each pose before moving onto the next. It breaks a few of the traditional rules making yoga more accessible to everyone.

 

  1. Hot Pod Yoga

This takes place in what is essentially an inflatable tent (patented by Hot Pod Yoga), the space is dark, cosy, and heated to a warming 37°C. The class is an hour long and combines vinyasa flow and pilates core exercises.

Stretching and strengthening at the same time. Based in Brixton, Notting Hill and London Fields, the portable studios are also fully equipped to pop up at any requested location, be that at your birthday or at work.

Credit: Hot Pod Yoga 

  1. Barre

We’ve mentioned Barre class before, as Nancy is a big fan. These classes involve techniques from dance, yoga and fitness. The specific sequences will encourage muscles to stretch and strengthen, leaving you calm and relaxed.

Be prepared to entangle yourself in long and twisting positions.

  1. Boxing Yoga

Boxing turned to yoga, or yoga turned into boxing. Whichever way round it is the aim is to give yoga a more athletic spin.

For boxers, it is a chance to practice breathing techniques and work on balance, flexibility and stretches. For yogis, it is a chance to learn a few boxing techniques and stances.

Total Boxer now train a variety of sporting clubs.

  1. Laughter Yoga

Studies show that the actual act of laughing can make you happy. We know that sounds obvious and silly but bear with us here.

Laughter yoga is designed to be a laugh, it is designed to make you smile, to be good fun. But it still works your core muscles and combines some of the meditative ideologies from traditional yoga. The School of Laughter Yoga has regular meet-ups near the Southbank.

  1. AcroYoga

Acroyoga combines partner acrobatics with yoga techniques. It is much more than a flashy form of yoga though. It’s main purpose is to help build real human connection and trust in others.

The positions require a base, a flyer, and perhaps most importantly the spotter. It s more about technique than strength, meaning you don’t need to be a professional gymnast to do these moves.

You can trial the classes with Jaqui Wan at Gogo Yoga near Columbia Road, British School of Shiatsu in Finsbury Park and The Place near Euston.

  1. Antigravity Yoga

Antigravity yoga is exactly what it sounds like. Learn to fly at your yoga class. Dangle from silk ropes hanging from the ceiling, whilst moving through a variety of positions and holds that are sure to work your core to the limits.

It may sound daunting to swing from the ceiling doing yoga, but as with anything, the more you do the better you’ll become, and the more you’ll begin to enjoy the sense of freedom that comes from defying gravity.

  1. Stand-Up Paddle Yoga

Yoga is about balance, what better way to advance your balancing skills than by decreasing the stability of the surface you are on.

In the summer months you can try this out in Paddington Basin. The surf board that becomes your new floating yoga mat? Participants can feel free to wear their usual yoga clothing, however wetsuits are available on request, and people who are not entirely comfortable on water can also wear buoyancy aids. Private lessons are available however, in London this one is a seasonal yoga class. No one wants to be taking a tumble in the Thames during winter.

 

Tell us what you think of these… Have we missed any alternative yogas that you love? Let us know in the comment section below!

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7 Amazing London Walks

Seven Amazing London Walks

You don’t have to travel to the Yorkshire Dales, or the Brecon Beacons for a nice walk.

Sometimes you simply don’t have time to take the weekend to get out of the city. If you live in London, there are loads of great walking routes, from abandoned railway lines to some of the biggest parks you can find inside a city.

Whilst a walk in the city won’t give you the raw savage beauty of the cornish coast or the stunning views over rolling hills that you might find on the South Downs it does offer views, forestry, cityscapes, parks and a rich, full history.

So, for all of you who can’t get out of the city, grab your HBB, pack it with all your essentials, and have an explore of one of these walks we’ve shortlisted for you!

Don’t have a Healthy Back Bag yet? Shop Now

1) The Capital Ring

The Capital Ring Walk offers you the chance to see some of London’s finest scenery. Divided into 15, easy-to-walk sections, it covers 78 miles (126KM) of open space, nature reserves, Sites of Specific Scientific Interest and more.

Find out more and download maps

2) Green Chain Walk

Stretching from the River Thames to Nunhead Cemetery, the Green Chain Walk spans the fields, parks and woodlands across 50 miles of the area. Split into 11, easy-to-follow sections, this guide allows you to explore as much, or as little as you like, at your leisure.

Find out more and download maps

3) Jubilee Greenway

The most recent addition to the Walk London routes, the Jubilee Greenway is 60km long – one km for each year of the Queen’s reign, to link together all the major Games sites.

Find out more and download maps

Our Bags are great for walking with. The clever design makes your bag feel lighter, and the clever pocketing means no more rummaging around lost at the bottom of your bag.

Don’t just belive us though!

“I actually use this bag for dog walking, it has a pocket for me to put a bottle of water, the bag itself holds an ice-cream tub that i give the dogs water in. The side pockets are great for storing dog treats and poop bags and i have room for my keys, a spare lead, somewhere to put my purse/phone etc too. It might be small but it has been so useful and it’s even weather resistant so if it rains the things inside don’t get drenched!”

– Emily

“Just wanted to say I’ve now recieved my two HBBs and am loving them! Now able to walk with both arms free, love the clever deisgn… and how it can be easily opened while wearing. Thanks!”

– Sylvia

Get yours here

4) Jubilee Walkway

The Jubilee Walkway may only be 15 miles long but it contains some of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Find out more and download maps

5) Lea Valley Walkway

The Lea Valley Walk follows the route along the Lee Navigation towpath, from Waltham Abbey to the Thames at Limehouse Basin.

Find out more and download maps

6) The London Loop

Taking the London LOOP is a great way to get to know London better. Made up of 24, mostly flat or gently sloping sections, its combination of beautiful open spaces like Hainault Forest Country Park and Bushy Park, historic buildings (Hall Place and Black Jack’s Lock & Mill), makes this an enjoyable walk.

Find out more and download maps

7) Thames Path

Stretching from the lost floodplains of Richmond to the Dickensian stretches of the eastern marshes, the Thames Path offers walkers lots to see and do.

Find out more and download maps