London is looking busy once more, the city is coming back to life. Today we talk about London, it’s green spaces and parks. Along the way you will learn a little more about the UK capital city and some pleasant ideas for a picnic if you're visiting, or a lunch if you're working in London. So today London and parks are the English listening topics for your English listening practice.
If you’ve never visited London, it might surprise you at how green it is. Although looking out of a Taxi, Train or bus might give you the impression London is all concrete and glass it’s actually 47% green space. With over 5,000 acres of parkland that you and I can visit and use.
If you visit London, one thing you often see at lunch time is all the office workers heading for a park to eat lunch and sit and lay on the grass on a sunny day. Or on a sunny bank holiday (England has 8 bank holidays a year, they are national public holidays) you will see many people who live in London out visiting the parks.
The parks be the lungs of London.
⭐ Charles Dickens
So in today’s English language listening practice I thought I’d talk about which parks I like most in London, and some inside tips for you should you ever be in London and want to eat your lunch in a green space.
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Hi there and welcome to this podcast from Adept English. We are here to help you learn English fluency through listening to spoken English – and we supply you with podcasts. And there are a lot of different topics that we cover.
Today I’m just going to talk about something which may interest you, if you ever intend to visit London. Listen to this podcast a number of times, until you understand it all. The unconscious part of your brain will be learning as you listen!
Well, the sun is finally out in the UK and we have some good weather at long last. It’s been difficult, still being locked down, after such a long winter and rainy and gloomy weather in May hasn’t been helping. Last month was the least sunny May for many years and actually the wettest May since records began in 1862, in some parts of the country!
This is not what we need for our spirits in the UK after a winter of being in lockdown. In case you’re not sure - that word ‘lockdown’, it’s what we call it when the government tells everyone to stay home and not go out.
But the good weather is here – and we are approaching the point, hopefully on 21st June when restrictions – the lockdown controls in the UK will be lifted. It’s not clear yet what is going to happen around international travel, so we still may not be easily able to travel abroad, but we can at least travel within the country.
Now people are allowed to meet – six people under the same roof, but what was really nice to see last weekend was all the people meeting up in London’s parks. There isn’t a restriction on meeting outdoors and finally the weather was warm and sunny enough to do that.
I went with my son and younger daughter into London to meet my elder daughter, who lives there and her boyfriend. We met up and because the weather was so nice – and because my daughter lives in a London flat, with no outside space - this means she doesn’t have a garden. She was really keen to spend time in one of London’s many parks.
A photograph of Londoners enjoying Hyde Park in London. In todays English lesson we discuss London being open for business again the parks are full on sunny days.
So we went to Green Park and St James’s’ Park, both of which were lovely. Both were quite full of people, but there was enough space to sit down without being near to anyone else and have a picnic. The first picnic of 2021! If you don’t know the word ‘picnic’, PICNIC – it means you spread a blanket or a cover on the ground and you eat your lunch outside. Very nice!
I’ve been to both these parks, Green Park and St James’s Park before, but not for a while – and I remember being there in August. The parks in London are not quite as nice in August, because there have usually been so many visitors and the weather can be quite dry in London in the summer, so the grass is a bit worn by August.
But in May, it was lovely! The trees were in leaf and the birds were singing and there were flowers in the green grass. ‘Lush’, LUSH isn’t just the name of a company in the UK that sells soap! It’s also a really nice adjective to describe green grass in these parks in May.
We’ve had a lot of rain and it shows. Green Park, if you’ve ever visited London, you’ll notice is a stop on the London Underground – a tube station. So if you get off the Piccadilly Line at Green Park, you can visit Buckingham Palace, the London home of the queen. To get to Green Park, you walk along the front of Buckingham Palace and the entrance to Green Park is on the right hand side. And St James’s Park is opposite Buckingham Palace.
This is more a traditional park, with a lake and ducks and geese and gardens. If you are in London and you just feel like getting away for a short time from the ‘hustle and bustle’ of the big city, London has lots of parks. ‘Hustle and bustle’ is a good English expression for when it’s busy, lots of people – in the parks you find a bit of nature and maybe some tranquillity.
Interesting that I automatically used that expression ‘hustle and bustle’ as being what you might want to escape for a bit, in a big city, the busy feel of a big city. I looked on the website for the London parks www.royalparks.org.uk and that’s exactly what they said too.
I quote from the website ‘Covering over 5,000 acres of historic parkland, the parks provide beautiful green spaces right in the heart of the capital where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city. They're a place for you to relax and unwind, exercise and clear your mind.’ And that’s certainly what a lot of Londoners and visitors were doing last weekend – stretched out on the grass, enjoying the sun, after a long winter. A bit like lizards, perhaps!
So 5,000 acres of parks are looked after by ‘Royal Parks’ – that’s a lot in the middle of a capital city, which is a good thing. It makes London feel more green. And the names of those London parks, so that you can remember if you visit? Well, of course there’s Green Park and St James’s Park, which I’ve mentioned, and these are next to Buckingham Palace. But there’s also Hyde Park, HYDE – and that has a lake in the middle too, called ‘The Serpentine’ and of course it’s near Hyde Park Corner – another tube station.
To the south west of the city, there is Richmond Park and Bushy Park. Richmond Park is big – 2,500 acres – and there are herds of deer, DEER living wild in Richmond Park. That one is not far from Kew Gardens – that’s KEW.
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Other parks? Well, there is Regents Park, near London Zoo and Kensington Gardens, which is right next to Hyde Park. And then over in the east of London is Greenwich Park, where the Greenwich Observatory is, which is the home of the Greenwich Meridian and the origin of Greenwich Mean Time or GMT – what we set our time by.
Anyway, these parks are really important to the feel of the city – it’s nice to go and sit on the grass under the trees and eat your lunch, eat a picnic or even an ice cream in the middle of your busy day in London.
If you’ve enjoyed this podcast – and if you’ve listened to it lots of times and found that it’s helped you learn some words and remember some new phrases, then you may want to listen to some more podcasts from Adept English. You can do this of course on the platform, the app that you’re currently using – there are quite a lot of current podcasts for you to listen to.
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So I hope that’s of interest – and especially so, if you get to come and visit London. Hopefully soon! Pick up some food, bring a blanket and spread it on the grass and sit and have a picnic in the middle of the day! I hope the sun is shining where you are and you can get outside wherever you are in the world!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.