Cities with the best green spaces

Tuesday 01st August 2023

5 cities from across our network with the best parks and gardens

Whether you’re looking for beautiful gardens, leafy woodland or a lake to relax next to, many of the cities across the North of England and Scotland are home to wonderful green open spaces.

Here we’re sharing the best of them across five of the biggest cities in our network. Which will you choose to relax in?

  1. Best green spaces in Edinburgh

    There are so many green open spaces to enjoy in Edinburgh. Top of our list is Arthur’s Seat, an easy climb through Holyrood Park up an extinct volcano - the ideal place to take in the city from some high ground. The Meadows is also an extremely popular urban oasis in the city. It promises well-kept lawns for relaxing on or throwing around a frisbee.

    You’ll also find plenty of paths for cycling and walking. If you head here on a sunny day, you can enjoy a vibrant atmosphere as many locals will be out enjoying the fresh air.

    To really get away from it all and find a secret garden in the centre of the city, head to Dunbar’s Close. Just off the Royal Mile and through the cobbles of the Old Town, it’s a real hidden gem where you can’t help but relax for hours. We also love Calton Hill and its unfinished Athenian acropolis. It’s no wonder it has UNESCO World Heritage status.

    Other great options not to be missed in Edinburgh include Princes Street Gardens and the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden.

    Best views: Arthur’s Seat
    Best for some quiet time: Dunbar’s Close
    Best for history: Calton Hill

  2. Best green spaces in York

    Aside from its Roman walls, fascinating streets and intriguing history, there are plenty of wide open spaces in York to clear your head and breathe in fresh air.

    One of our favourites is Museum Gardens. Here you can take in the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey and enjoy a relaxing sit on one of the benches along the River Ouse. Plus, it’s always fun to watch the gardens’ many squirrels as they go about their daily business. Dean’s Park is nearby, with its fantastic views of York Minster.

    If you head a little further down the river, you’ll find Rowntree Park and Gardens. Take a stroll around the majestic gardens, relax by the ornamental lake or let the kids burn off some energy in the play park.

    Best for some quiet time: Museum Gardens
    Best for views: Dean’s Park
    Best for families: Rowntree Park and Gardens

  3. Best green spaces in Durham

    Durham is such a green city, it’s the perfect place to relax and recharge. The pick of the bunch of the vibrant open spaces in Durham is the Durham University Botanic Garden. The 10-hectare botanic garden features beautiful mature woodlands, native species and glasshouses with tropical rainforests and desert cacti. You’ll also spot several sculptures in amongst the trees as you stroll around. It’s all just a 30-minute walk from Durham train station too.

    The city’s riverbanks also promise tranquil walks with lots of wildlife to see along the way. And just above the train station is Wharton Park, a wonderful park for families that has stunning views of Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle.

    Best for relaxing: Durham University Botanic Garden
    Best for families: Wharton Park
    Best for views: Wharton Park

  4. Best green spaces in Glasgow

    Kelvingrove Park offers peace and tranquillity in Glasgow. Set on the banks of the River Kelvin, it’s a Victorian park with two of the city’s grandest buildings at either end – the University of Glasgow and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. There’s an open air bandstand and amphitheatre, as well as a skatepark and two play parks. And if the weather’s playing up, you can head inside the art gallery to see one of Europe’s best art collections.

    Also on the River Kelvin and a 25-minute walk from Kelvingrove Park, you’ll find the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. You can enjoy woodland walks and riverside strolls right in the heart of the city’s West End. The two glasshouses with their tropical plants and statues are not to be missed either.

    Other fantastic green spaces in Glasgow include Pollok Country Park, Victoria Park and Glasgow Green.

    Best for relaxing: Kelvingrove Park
    Closest to the West End: Glasgow Botanic Gardens
    Prettiest park: Victoria Park

  5. Best green spaces in Newcastle

    Exhibition Park is one of the best city parks in Newcastle. You can stroll down tree-lined paths and relax by the lake. If you want to recharge after a long walk, you can head to Wylam Brewery at the Palace of Arts to enjoy a craft beer and small bites of traditional British fayre. Or you could pick up a coffee and a cake at the café. As well as being a great option for dog walking and a summer stroll, there are plenty of festivals and events held here in the warmer months too.

    Leafy Leazes Park is also a real treasure in the city centre. Again, you’ll find tree-lined paths and a central lake, as well as spots for a leisurely summer picnic. If you head a little further out of Newcastle city centre, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts at the stunning Ouseburn Park or Jesmond Dene.

    Best for craft beer and food: Exhibition Park
    Best for a picnic: Leazes Park
    Best for peace and quiet: Jesmond Dene

If you fancy heading to one of these cities this summer and making the most of their relaxing green open spaces, you can simply hop on a train. You can book your tickets in advance either online or on our TPExpress app.

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