Dulwich is not short of parks, open spaces or outdoor activities. Dulwich Park, in the heart of the village, offers boats, bikes, bowling and basketball! Together with nearby Belair Park, there are children’s playgrounds, sports facilities and a skate park.
On a hill overlooking Dulwich and with views across central London, Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Woods contain over 200 species of trees and wildlife and makes for a great family walk in the woods.
Dulwich Park covers 29 hectares of open space in the heart of Dulwich and is jampacked with amenities including:
- Recumbent bike hire for adults, children and people with special needs
- Pedalos and rowing boats for hire on the lake
- Tennis courts, outdoor table tennis tables, outdoor gym equipment, cricket nets, a bowling green and three football pitches – and all are free except for the football pitch.
There is a cafe overlooking the lake, perfect spots for picnics and a large children’s playground.
For up-to-date information on events and current attractions in the park please do visit the Friends of Dulwich Park
Interesting fact: Dulwich Park began its life as private gardens, farmland and a group of meadows known as "five fields". Queen Mary was a regular visitor to the park. She loved to view the American Garden, famous for its rhododendrons, which are spectacular when they're in bloom in May
An often-overlooked outdoor space is Belair Park. The park surrounds Belair House which is now a bar and restaurant - but you do not need to use the restaurant to visit the park. Belair House was built in the 1780’s.
The park became a public park in 1965. There is a children’s playground and sports facilities include tennis courts, a football and cricket pitch and a skate park.
If you are feeling more energetic, a walk-through Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Woods is a must. Looked after by the London Wildlife Trust and a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature it is the last remaining tract of the Great North Wood which used to cover several thousand acres stretching 7 miles from Deptford in the East to nearly as far as Croydon.
Following the well-marked trails makes for a great walk with more than 200 hundred species of trees, owls, woodpeckers, kestrels and hedgehogs to be seen.
Interesting fact: If you do take a walk to the woods, be sure to walk up College Road past Dulwich College. This one-mile stretch of road is private and has London’s only working toll gate. It has been in operation on and off since 1789. One of the original toll gate signs is well preserved giving the prices for “Beasts, Sheep and Lambs”!
Where to find (links to Google Maps):
- Dulwich Park
- Belair Park
- Dulwich & Sydenham Hill Woods (approach the woods via Grange Lane)
- Dulwich Toll Gate