If you had told me a year ago that the best place for a little peace and quiet on a Saturday afternoon in London would likely be Oxford Street or Tottenham Court Road, I wouldn’t have believed you. (Though if you had told me that a pandemic would have confined us to our homes for over half of the year, I wouldn’t have believed that either).
London is made up of over 3,000 parks of varying sizes, making up almost 18% of the city. With pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, shops and other people’s houses out of the question, the city has shifted and redefined its boundaries, with parks becoming the new social hubs of the capital.
On any usual late-November weekend, grey skies, rainy weather and a sun that feels like it sets almost immediately after it comes up, would have made standing outside low on most weekend to-do lists. But, in these strange times, like moths to a light, every weekend hordes of people take to parks and outdoor spaces, coffee cups or takeaway beers in hand, desperately seeking out some sort of social interaction. Hampstead Heath on a Sunday, one Twitter user reflected, is the new Oxford Street on a Saturday.