Days out with the family in London are guaranteed to be a success if they involve animals.
Here is a guide to where you can get up close and personal with all creatures, great and small, in the city, and they are all great places to get away from the hustle and bustle of London.
- London Wetland Centre
This is a 105-acre city wildlife area. Along the peaceful paths there are bird hides where you can gaze at all manner of birds up close through binoculars. These birds include kingfishers, falcons, herons, sand martins and sparrow hawks. There are other entertainment activities for all ages at the centre including guided walks and courses for those who wish to learn more about the wildlife. Other activities include bat-spotting walks, wildlife photography courses and pond dipping sessions. The London Wetlands are around a 40 minute drive from the London City Suites by Montcalm accommodation.
- Hyde Park
The trees, shrub beds and herbaceous plantings in Hyde Park provide rich habitats for songbirds such as robins, dunnocks and tits. The Serpentine attracts many wildfowl into the park. Look out for the exotic looking great crested grebes and their spectacular mating rituals. The lake also attracts many insects which provides a feeding ground for bats. There are also many ‘mini beasts’ in Hyde Park such as beetles, bees and ground foraging insects. Other recent exotic and unusual visitors to Hyde Park have included a black swan, a buzzard and Egyptian geese, so you never know what you will see on a trip to the park. Hyde Park is right on the doorstep of The Montcalm London Marble Arch hotel.
- James’s Park
Although the park has foxes, wood mice and brown rats are active here at n night. The Grey Squirrels are commonly seen by visitors, these replaced the Red Squirrels throughout the UK. The squirrels provide constant entertainment to visitors of St James’s Park with their athletic antics and the way they beg for food. About 20 minutes after sunset, dozens of Common Pipistrelles begin to forage for insects. The secluded shrubberies and the woodlands are important refuges for birds such as long-tailed tits, blue tits, robins, blackbirds, wrens, woodpeckers and the tawny owl. And all this is only a half an hour walk from the Montcalm Marble Arch hotel.
- Kensington Roof Gardens
The Roof Gardens is a roof garden covering 1.5 acres on top of the former Derry and Toms building on Kensington High Street in Central London and definitely worth the 20 minute drive from The Montcalm at the Brewery London City hotel. The roof garden is owned by Sir Richard Branson and has been listed as a Grade II site by the English Heritage since 1978.
The garden is divided into 3 themed gardens:
- A Spanish Garden – with fountains, vine-covered walkways and Chusan Palms,
- A Tudor Style Garden – with archways, secret corners and hanging wisteria. Roses, lilies and lavender contribute to the rich summer scent of this garden,
- An English Woodland – there are over 100 species of trees, a stream and a garden pond. The pond is home to pintail ducks and four flamingos called Bill, Ben, Splosh and Pecks.