Trips into London aren’t what they used to be. During a pandemic, it’s not as simple as hopping on a train from Watford, High Wycombe, or Baldock to London King’s Cross and seeing where the day takes you. But the capital is slowly starting to open back up – and there are plenty of places you can visit safely.

Perhaps you fancy somewhere new for your daily exercise, or a serene open space to catch up with a friend. You could simply want to get to know the city better. Whatever your intentions, why not give these five spots a look?

Box Hill

Have you been saddling up more than usual in lockdown? Then consider riding out to Surrey and taking in Box Hill, part of the 2012 Olympic road-cycling route. You’ll undertake challenging climbs and hairpin bends before enjoying stunning views of the North Downs.

You can plan your own route or follow someone else’s on Strava. Just make sure to pack enough snacks (and a puncture repair kit!) to keep you going.

Walpole Park

Walpole Park spans 28 acres in Ealing, west London. It would usually be playing host to Ealing Summer Festival events round about now – but instead you’ll have to settle for admiring its elegant landscaping, two ponds, and recently restored 18th Century manor house.

Much of the park will currently be in the bloom, so you may want to pack your camera.

Bushy Park

Bushy Park is relatively nearby but considerably larger, covering some 1,100 acres in total. Whether you’re walking or running, the park’s many paths head off in all directions and are ripe for exploration.

On your travels you can expect to spot fishing ponds, wildlife conservation areas, and even herds of deer.

Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath has long been one of London’s most popular green spaces. Whilst you’re unlikely to be alone – and may need to take extra care to maintain social distance – the site offers some of the best views found anywhere in the capital.

There are a variety of sports facilities here as well if you fancy a game of tennis or croquet.

Epping Forest

The largest site on the list, Epping Forest spans over 6,000 acres in London’s north-east. It’s made up of distinct areas of woodland, grassland, and many other habitats, and due to its size, you may want to plan several trips here to enjoy its full potential.

Is it time you got off London’s beaten track?