The greenest cities in the United Kingdom
British towns and cities with the highest density of parks and green spaces
When you live in a city, you can often find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the many buildings, constant traffic and the generally fast-paced environment. So, where better to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy some fresh air and tranquillity than in a local park?
Holidu, the search engine for holiday rentals, has carried out a study to identify the British cities with the largest area of parks per person. We used the Open Street Maps database to obtain the surface area of each park in the UK’s main towns and cities. If you love to walk your dog or go for a run through the trees, have a cool drink with your friends sitting on the lawn, or read a good book under the sun, you’ve got miles of parks in these cities!
1. Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Milton Keynes, with an average of 15.42m² of parks per ten inhabitants, is officially crowned the greenest city (well, town) in Britain! Willen Lake is Milton Keynes’ most popular park and even attracts more than 750,000 visitors annually. The two lakes are surrounded by 180 acres of lush landscaped parkland. There are plenty of activities to do here, both on and around the water!
Milton Keynes credit Andrew Gustar via Flickr
2. Warrington, Cheshire
Warrington places second with 6.36m² of parks per ten inhabitants. This northwestern English town has plenty to see and do and its close proximity to big cities like Liverpool and Manchester and outdoor areas like the Peak District and the Lake District make it an ideal location. Sankey Valley Park covers over 1½ miles and is the perfect place to go a walk with your dog or hop on your bike and cycle.
Sankey Valley Park By Daniel Bagshaw (Dan1980) / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)
3. Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Completing the podium is the Cambridgeshire cathedral city of Peterborough, with 6.30m² of parks per ten inhabitants. Here you will find Nene Park, a country park which stretches to three and a half miles long. This is the perfect location for a family day out as it is one of the largest country parks in the region!
Nene Park credit Barry Skeates
4. Northampton, Northamptonshire
Next up is Northampton, a town located in the East Midlands, scoring 5.51 m² of green areas per ten inhabitants. Beckets Park is located close to the city centre and is the perfect place to go for walks along the River Nene. If you fancy something more sporty, there is even a tennis court and a skate park located inside the park.
5. Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Stoke-on-Trent, with an average of 5.44m² of parks per ten inhabitants, comes in at number five. The city’s beautiful parks and gardens are ideal for going out to bask in the sun and take a nap in the freshly mown grass. Hanley Park is a stunning Victorian park which boasts beautiful flower beds, many wild animals and a cafe where you can grab some refreshments.
6. Coventry, West Midlands
Coventry, with an average of 4.88m² per every ten inhabitants, is a small and cute cathedral city that sets a high standard for park lovers, with a wide and varied offer. Most impressive is The War Memorial Park, which is a large park of about 48.5 hectares in the south of the city.
7. Leeds, Yorkshire
Traditionally an industrial city, Leeds might not be an obvious entry into this ranking. But Leeds boasts 4.49m² of parks for ten inhabitants, which is impressive considering this is by far the most populated city in the ranking. Head to Roundhay Park, which is home to 700 acres of parkland, lakes, woodland and gardens actually holds the title of being one of the biggest city parks in Europe!
8. Wolverhampton, West Midlands
In eighth place we have Wolverhampton, with 3.95m² of parks for every ten inhabitants. This Staffordshire city is home to the Victorian-era West Park, which has been open to the public since 1881. Expect to find amazing wildlife here, such as swans and ducks swimming on the lake.
9. Exeter, Devon
Exeter is closely behind Wolverhampton, with 3.93m² of parks for ten inhabitants. A favourite here is Belmont Park is a public park which has a children’s play area, and also Riverside Valley Park which is made up of a long stretch of waterfront green space with paths for walking, running & cycling.
10. Dundee, Scotland
Heading up to our only city in Scotland now to round up the ranking we have Dundee, with 3.76m² of parks for ten inhabitants. Dundee is a small coastal city, but still has plenty of green spaces to offer. Baxter Park and Magdalen Green are two favourites which are easily accessible by foot from the city centre.
Ranking: 11 – 30
The ranking has been formed using data extracted from Open Street Maps in August 2020, considering the main British towns and cities. The total square meters of each park labelled as such (“leisure=park”) in the interior of each city and town, as they are drawn on the database, was calculated. All the results per city have been added together, and the ratio of square meters per 10 inhabitants has been calculated, based on which the cities have been ordered. Neither cities with less than 100,000 inhabitants nor green areas not labelled as “leisure=park” in the Open Street Maps database have been considered in the final ranking.