Top 5 parks for dogs in South London

With over 8 million people living in London it’s easy to forget that there are many beautiful green spaces nestled within the hustle and bustle of the capital. We’ve sniffed out 5 of the best parks in South London perfect for you and your pooch to enjoy.

1. Dulwich Park

    Dulwich Park is a hidden gem south of the river. Out of all the parks on this list, Dulwich Park is the smallest but it makes up for this with its beauty.

    The variety of plants, flowers and scents in Dulwich Park will give your dog a plethora of interesting things to sniff and explore. If you fancy a stroll around the park, you can follow the perimeter path for a scenic dog walk that takes you through patches of woodland, large open green spaces and the American Garden with a plethora of beautiful flowers.

    To the north of the park there's a large open lawn where your dog can run around - the only no-go area in Dulwich Park is the children's play area. To the east of the park there’s a cafe where you can grab a drink or a snack. Dogs will need to relax outside, where there are a couple of rings to tie your dog to and some drinking bowls. This map will help you get your bearings.

    Is there parking - Yes and it’s free for 2 hours.

    Where’s the nearest station - West Dulwich Railway Station.

    Stuff to do nearby:

    • Visit the Horniman Museum towards Forest Hill, which has an aquarium, a nature walk, natural history museum and much more. Dogs are allowed in the gardens and should be kept on the lead except in the meadow field, which is close to the bandstand.
    • If you fancy something to drink or eat, try the dog-friendly Plough in Dulwich, which serves great food.

    2. Tooting Commons

    Tooting Commons are nestled between Tooting and Streatham. They have open lawns, long avenues of trees, scattered shrubbery, ponds, as well as patches of woodland and sports pitches. With a boundary stretching over 6 km, Tooting Commons are one of the best spots for dogs to stretch their legs in South West London.

    Tooting Commons have lots of interesting areas that will keep your pup entertained, from overgrown bushy and wooded areas, to a duck pond, and large green open spaces. On Saturday mornings there’s usually a Parkrun taking place so it can get crowded.

    If you’re feeling thirsty, pay a visit to the Common Cafe where you can pick up a coffee and snacks. This is a regular congregation point for dogs, particularly on a Sunday morning. Check out this map to see the Commons from above.

    Is there parking - Yes, there’s a free car park off Dr Johnson Avenue. Most streets surrounding the park require permits during the weekdays up until late afternoon.

    Where’s the nearest station - Tooting Bec (Northern Line), Streatham Station.

    Stuff to do nearby:

    • The Bedford is a dog friendly and popular pub in Balham. The Pub is a couple of minutes walk to the north of the Commons and is a well known comedy and music spot. The Pub serves traditional food and sources its ingredients carefully. They offer a wide range of beers both on tap and by the bottle.

    3. Richmond Park

    Richmond Park is the largest of the Royal Parks in London. Situated in West London, the park boasts over 2,500 acres of pristine land for you and your dog to enjoy. The first deer (there are now 600) were introduced to the park by Charles I in 1625 after relocating the royal court there to escape the plague.

    Due to the size of the park, you’re likely to encounter a variety of animals that call Richmond Park home. As such, dog walkers should take some extra precautions. It’s recommended you lead your dog, especially if they are prone to getting overexcited. Deer may feel threatened by other animals, even over a large distance. This is particularly important during the rutting season (September to October) and during the birthing seasons (May to July).

    Be extra careful as you can land yourself in legal trouble if your dog is found to be chasing wildlife. But don’t let this put you off. Every day many dogs enjoy the park as much as their humans do. See this official map of the park.

    Is there parking - Yes, there are several car parks across the park.

    Where’s the nearest station - Richmond Station (National Rail / District Line), you’ll then need to get the 371 or 65 bus, which will take you to the Petersham pedestrian gate to the west of the park.

    Stuff to do nearby:

    • The Roehampton Cafe is situated near Roehampton Gate to the east of the park. They’re a humans only establishment and offer a range of drinks, snacks and ice creams. However, your dog won’t be short of friends as they take in some water outside the cafe.


    4. Greenwich Park

    Greenwich Park is one of the largest open green spaces in South East London. Like Richmond Park, it is one of the eight Royal Parks and dates back to Roman times. Greenwich Park and the surrounding area symbolise English artistic and scientific endeavour from the 17th and 18th centuries and offers some of the best panoramic views of the London skyline.

    With such an expansive space, the park is a perfect place for dogs that love to run. As the park is a social meeting place for dogs it’s definitely a good choice if your pup likes making new friends. See this Greenwich Park map for more information.

    Is there parking - Yes.

    Where’s the nearest station - North Greenwich (jubilee), Cutty Sark station, Greenwich station.

    Stuff to do nearby:

    • Greenwich Park hosts the Prime Meridian Line and Royal Observatory as well as being part of the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site which is home to The National Maritime Museum and Old Royal Naval College. In other words, if you want to immerse yourself in culture, you're spoilt for choice.
    • The Greenwich Tavern to the north west of the park welcomes dogs of all shapes and sizes and has a great reputation. 

    5. Chiswick House and Gardens

    A historic jewel hidden off a busy thoroughfare in West London. The 18th century gardens have provided inspiration for some of the world’s most famous outdoor spaces, such as New York’s Central Park.

    It’s a great spot for a dog day out and the grounds of the house are regularly used by dog walkers. A short walk will take you through floral gardens, lakes, streams, woodland areas and open green spaces. The park is built around a magnificent neo-palladian mansion to the south east, which is adorned with history. Although dogs aren’t allowed inside, the inside is worth a visit if you can.

    The estate works closely with CHOW (Chiswick House Organised Dog Walkers) and have agreed rules, which dog walkers should follow. There are a couple of areas where dogs shouldn’t go, such as the cricket pitch and walled gardens, but on the whole there’s a great deal of space to explore on and off the lead.

    Is there parking - Yes.

    Where’s the nearest station - Chiswick Station, Turnham Green (District Line).

    Stuff to do nearby:

    • The dog-friendly Copper Cow on Fauconberg Rd is about a 5-10 minute walk from Chiswick House and Gardens. The Copper Cow is a relaxed bar restaurant that serves gastro style seasonal grub. This place is perfect if you fancy a spot of lunch or just a coffee.

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