Outdoor spaces

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BA Sociology student Michael shares his tips for enjoying the greener parts of the city.

Park in Forest Hill
Photos by Annie Kruntcheva

Although Goldsmiths is in inner London, you don’t have to spend your time here surrounded by buildings and traffic. The city is full of beautiful parks and opportunities to enjoy the outdoors – and South London is one of the best parts with 34% green space, according to Time Out.

You are truly spoilt for choice for open spaces in the city – there around 3,000! So there are different options depending on what you love doing. You might want to watch deer in Richmond Park, hire a boat at Regent’s Park, or enjoy some open-air swimming in the lido in Herne Hill or Tooting Bec.

Michael's favourite outdoor spaces

Michael is in the third year of a Sociology degree. He loves the outdoor life and travels in to Goldsmiths from across town on his bike. Here are his tips for enjoying the greener parts of the city.

"It’s no good for your mind, body or soul to spend excessive amounts of time in the library or in lectures – London’s parks and outdoor spaces offer much-needed opportunities to step outside the city, without actually having to leave it.

Nearby Telegraph Hill is a Goldsmiths student fave to chill in, where you can look over the city, but when you fancy a longer walk Greenwich Park and Blackheath are great places. There are fantastic views of the river from the Observatory, and it’s only a short bus journey away. Alternatively, walk along the Thames Pathways. I’d recommend joining the river in Deptford and finishing off at the Cutty Sark at sunset.

In terms of outdoor escapes local to Goldsmiths, the unsung hero of the bunch has to be Mudchute Farm. Walking round the 32 acres of farm and seeing the llamas and other animals with the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf in the background is a brilliant and slightly surreal experience. The café does a good fry-up, which means the whole day can be a great hangover cure. From Deptford it’s six minutes on the Dockland Light Railway. Come on people – show those llamas some love!

My favourite outdoor place in London has to be Hampstead Heath – it’s amazing! It’s a bit further than the previous options but once you’re there you can quickly lose yourself in the hilly woodlands, visit Rembrandt’s portraits in Kenwood House or walk up Parliament Hill. It’s one of the nicest places to look onto the city... especially at night."

Cycling in London

A lot of cyclists not familiar with the city are worried about getting on a bike in London. Keeping safe wth lights, reflective wear and a helmet is a must, but cycling in London doesn’t have to mean busy highroads and non-stop traffic. Plan your journey to avoid such routes and make the most of cycle super ways, quiet ways and bike paths.

As well as keeping safe, it’s more relaxing and a good way to see parts of the city that get missed as people move primarily along bus routes and underground. You can even join the Goldsmiths Cycling Club to meet other cyclists and get support, training and bike maintenance help.

Don’t worry if you’re not bringing a bike to London with you in September. Some parks, such as Dulwich Park, include bike rental shops, or you can score yourself a Boris Bike (officially called Santander Cycles) from places across central London, and the first hour is only £2.

Tina, a second year Media and Communications student, takes us to three of her favourite green spaces around Goldsmiths.

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