You don’t have to live in the middle of the countryside to enjoy the great outdoors. Even in the most concrete of jungles, you can find green spaces to escape the stress of the city.
Offering benefits for both the environment and your health, urban green spaces help to offset the carbon footprint of all those cars, trains and planes whirring away around them, plus provide homes for plants and wildlife by preserving ecosystems.
As for your well-being, studies suggest that people who regularly visit green spaces are less likely to experience mental health issues and are more likely to meet the recommended amount of daily exercise - in fact, they are said to be all-round happier!
Find out more about how the getting outdoors can improve your mental health with the Winfields Walk & Talk campaign.
No matter where you live, there are plenty of places to get your fix of nature. Read on to find out where you can find some of the UK’s best inner city green spaces and be sure to add some green-time to your week.
Birmingham Green Spaces
The second-most populated city in the UK, the busy streets of Birmingham were once a manufacturing powerhouse. However, there are plenty of pockets of green where you can escape the concrete crush.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses boasts 15-acres of of stunning gardens featuring thousands of plants and a butterfly house, where you can feel your worries flutter away. Alternatively, Winterbourne House and Garden offers beautiful gardens to explore, and also hosts events and workshops for those with green fingers.
Worcester Green Spaces
Buried in the West Midlands, the pretty city of Worcester has plenty of budding green spaces to discover. Put your walking boots to use at Perry Wood Local Nature Reserve and follow the trail to admire the woodland and wildlife. You can also head to Worcester Woods Country Park to wander along the Woodland Trail to see ancient trees and stunning bluebell displays during spring. And, while it may not strictly be inner city, the spectacular Malvern Hills are just a short drive away, putting a sprawling natural wonderland on your doorstep.
Cardiff Green Spaces
The coastal capital city of Wales has transformed itself from an industrial city to a modern metropolis. Luckily for those who live there, there is also a brilliant offering of green spaces to enjoy, too. Long Wood Nature Reserve and Forest Farm are just a 15 minute drive, or 20 minute train journey, from the centre of the city, where you can soak up the splendour of wild flowers and the River Taff, which flows through its centre. Head a little further along and you will find Fforest Fawr and Castell Coch to explore, too.
Manchester Green Spaces
It may be known for its canals, culture and football stadium, but Manchester will surprise you with the number of green spaces it has tucked away. Heaton Park is known by many for hosting the Park Life music festival, but we love it for its 18th century Grade 1 listed country house and the Manchester Beekeepers Association that calls it home.
Blackley Forest is also nearby, where you can take walks, go fishing or enjoy the peace with bird watching, while Alexandra Park and Platt Fields Park also offer lovely spots to unwind amid nature. Don’t forget to take a waterproof jacket incase you get caught in the infamous Manchester drizzle!
London Green Spaces
It may surprise you that just under 47% of Greater London is actually green. With over 3,000 parks across the area, there are plenty of places for you to find your favourite green space. Richmond Park is the largest Royal Park in London and is home to the 40-acre Isabella Plantation; known for its vibrant azaleas that bloom among the ponds and streams, this is an idyllic little green space to visit if you want to admire floral displays.
Alternatively, dive into Phoenix Garden, Barnsbury Wood Nature Reserve or Holland Park, which houses a serene Japanese-style Kyoto Garden, to get your green fix on the go. Parks are a great place to get active, too, so see our range of running gear if you fancy a few laps.
Liverpool Green Spaces
There are plenty of reasons to get out and about in Liverpool including to admire some of the UK’s best green spaces. The 235-acre Sefton Park offers the perfect antidote to inner city fatigue with its Green Flag and Green Heritage-awarded site, where you can stroll among caves, waterfalls and statues, plus boat on the lake.
Just outside of the city, you will find Speke Hall, which sits next to the airport - though you wouldn’t know it, thanks to the natural escape these beautiful gardens offer. Follow the trail to see picturesque orchids, stables and borders bursting with flora and fauna or take the whole family to explore - see our range of kids walking boots to make sure they are prepared.
Sheffield Green Spaces
Sheffield boasts one of the UK’s more unusual green spaces. Bringing a Victorian idea up to date, the impressive structure of the Winter Garden stands out in the very heart of the city, offering a shelter both from the rain and the stresses of urban life.
Inside one of the country’s largest greenhouses, over 2,500 plants flourish year-round, meaning you can embrace the beauty of nature at any time of year. Just two miles outside of the city centre, you can also escape to Endcliffe Park, or visit Sheffield Botanical Gardens which date back to 1836.
Let us know what your favourite green space in the UK is in the comments below - and, if you are planning to add an outdoor activity to your plans this week, don’t forget to check out our full range of walking and hiking gear before you go!