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Centrally located and bordered by the Bayswater, Kensington and Mayfair areas, Hyde Park is the one of the biggest and most well-known of the city’s parks (www.royalparks.gov. uk/Hyde-Park). Famous for housing the celebrated speaker’s corner, this huge open space can provide hours of peacefulness and tranquillity in the heart of the capital. Another of London’s royal parks, Regent’s Park (www.royalparks.gov. uk/The-Regents-Park), is the location of Queen Mary’s Rose Gardens, making springtime here a truly memorable site. It’s also ideal for duck-feeding and playground sessions for the little ones, a pleasurable boat ride on the lake or a visit to London Zoo. Slightly smaller than Hyde Park, its summertime rush of picnickers takes away some of the stillness and calm that can be found at other times of the year. At the Northern edge of central London lies Hampstead Heath, a haven of English countryside teeming with wildlife. This spectacular stretch of secluded woods, open fields and swimming ponds has an amazing atmosphere created by the multitude of appreciative visitors, youths and happy families. Richmond Park (www.royalparks.gov. uk/Richmond-Park) is the city’s largest park, situated 30 minutes south west of central London. This truly amazing spread of land encompasses dense forest, century-old oaks, grassy plains and scenic hills. From here you can enjoy unique panoramic views of the

city and find yourself surrounded by the famous red and fallow deer introduced by Charles I. Virtually unchanged since the 17th century, this is the perfect destination for a family day-trip or picturesque get-away.

Sports and leisure

If you want to make sure you’re keeping active while living in the capital, there are luckily many options to choose from. There are many gyms and leisure centres you can join as a member or casual visitor, all of them varying in quality and price. Most have pools and gym equipment while some also include spa and other facilities such as climbingwalls. Here you can also find a variety of group courses, and these exercise clubs are often available in colleges and centres for adult learning.

If you prefer independent work-outs, there are plenty of parks to go running in, and since the cycle hire scheme (www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling) was introduced cycling has also become a very popular way for Londoners to keep in shape. Londoners are also encouraged to walk as much as possible, which should be relatively easy in such a compact city as you can usually find

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Moving to London; A Practical Companion for Irish People  
Moving to London; A Practical Companion for Irish People  

A helpful, practical and comprehensive guide to Moving to London for Irish people. Published by the London Irish Centre in May 2012.

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