With the climate crisis more urgent than ever, The Royal Parks’ Learning team and partners are playing a vital role in raising awareness and encouraging individuals to do all they can to be a hero for nature.
In the UK, evidence shows that many children spend as little as 16 minutes in nature a day. By spending less and less time outdoors, children are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature, despite the huge number of benefits of nature for children.
"Nature creates a calmer, quieter, and safer setting for learning; fosters warmer, more cooperative relations among students; and affords more creative, more exploratory forms of play." (Ming Kuo)
Learn about nature
People of all ages, abilities and backgrounds come to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and learn about the wildlife and natural environment of the Royal Parks through hands-on experiences.
We believe that getting children and adults outside and interacting with the environment helps build respect and appreciation for the natural world.
We have a wide range of educational opportunities for all ages at our learning centres throughout the Royal Parks, including Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, The Regent’s Park, Greenwich Park , Bushy Park, Richmond Park, St James’s Park, The Green Park and Brompton Cemetery.
Along with our own learning team based in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, we work closely with our partners the Holly Lodge Centre and the Field Studies Council to offer inspiring courses and events that give learners the opportunity to experience the magic of the Royal Parks and discover fascinating wildlife and nature on their doorstep.
We endeavour to take people on a journey from exploring and understanding to ultimately valuing and caring for the parks and, more broadly, nature. This incredible journey of discovery can start at any age.
Learning about nature at Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
During the week, the cheers from primary students gathered around the pond at The LookOut Discovery Centre can be heard throughout Hyde Park. They are busy using nets to explore the biodiversity that lives beneath the surface, from tadpoles to getting up close to prehistoric-looking dragonfly nymphs and gravity-defying freshwater snails. It is no wonder that the air is buzzing with excitement and questions.
Sharing stories of predatory leeches and ingeniously camouflaged cased-caddis flies, the learners are drawn into the wonder of nature. Many of these young people do not readily have access to green space; their wide eyes as a brightly bellied newt are scooped from the water prove that these moments have a lasting impression.
That same sense of wonderment is tapped at any age. With green spaces that have been here for over 500 years, visitors are given a new perspective on the word ‘ancient.’ On a walking tour through Kensington Gardens, visitors can uncover the incredible history of nature in the parks, unearthing clues like how the size of a tree’s trunk can give away its age, or the majestic horse chestnut tree with its swooping pendulous branches and colour-coded flowers guiding the bumble bee’s way to the sweet reward of nectar.
Our Discovery Days take place during school holidays and provide an invaluable opportunity for family time outdoors. Families from near and far descend onto The LookOut for a full day of fun, facts, and friendly faces. Taking the chance to escape London while still in the heart of the city, families get up close and personal with the creatures that call Hyde Park home. Getting their hands dirty takes on a whole new meaning with our most popular activity, the mud kitchen. Slippery and squelchy with a rich earthy scent, it’s a sensory explosion - no wonder it goes down a storm with the little ones.
After experiencing a Royal Park, we want people to have a better understanding of the importance of these urban green spaces, but also a deeper appreciation of the role they can play in protecting and promoting wildlife, wherever they may find it.
We know that the more positive experiences they have interacting with nature, the more likely they will want to protect it in the future.
As David Attenborough once said, “No one will protect what they don't care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced”.
Find out more about the learning opportunities in the eight Royal Parks.