It may come as some surprise to those familiar with Hong Kong’s famously frenetic bustle, but Hong Kong is home to some truly exceptional public parks. Perfect for whiling away a few hours, we’ve picked out ten of our favourite spots – all of which offering something a little bit different. So, whether you’re looking for a dose of urban chill, some fascinating history or space for sports, read on for Hong Kong Greeters’ guide to the city’s top ten parks.
Stretching across eight hectares of prime Central real estate, Hong Kong Park sits on the site of the colonial-era Victoria Barracks garrison. Its colonial past is evidenced in its buildings, which include ex-married quarters residence Cassels Block, now accommodating the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre, and the picturesque Museum of Teaware at Flagstaff House. Aside from its colonial-era architecture, you’ll find a well-equipped multi-level children’s playground, a pretty central lake teeming with koi, a tropical plant conservatory, and the Edward Youde Aviary. This 3,000 square metre netted space is home to 70 bird species, and is guaranteed to charm the entire family, from excitable toddlers to surly teens.
Getting there: Admiralty MTR, C1 exit
Nestled in Central’s upper slopes across Garden Road, the Hong Kong Zoological and
Botanical Gardens has been a firm favourite since 1864. Spilt in half by Albany Road, the Old Garden’s main draws are is its grand central fountain garden, flamingos and painstakingly grown hothouse flowers. Meanwhile, the New Garden features both mammal and reptile houses, where you’ll find playful gibbons, industrious meercats and sleepy sloths enjoying stunning cityscape views. A great hop-off point from the Peak Tram is heading out for a full day of adventure.
Address: Albany Road, Central, Hong Kong
Getting there: Peak Tram, MacDonnell Road station
Already the site of some of Hong Kong’s most breath-taking views, The Peak also boasts some truly lovely parks – ideal for a breather to escape the crowds! The prettily-lawned Victoria Peak Gardens was once the grounds of the Hong Kong Governor’s summer home and has since been reclaimed as a public park, offering sweeping views over Hong Kong’s southwestern side. Meanwhile, Mount Austin Playground is an attractive British-style garden with plenty to offer the younger members of the family. Another picnic-friendly lawn opens to a large play space complete with climbing frames for kids to enjoy while parents relax on the Victorian-style wrought-iron benches nearby. A little closer to the action, the revamped Peak Galleria Playground offers children with energy to burn plenty to keep them busy! Climbing frames, balance beams and puzzle walls keep kids busy – look up to enjoy the stained-glass effect from the shadow roofs above.
Address: 118 Peak Road, The Peak, Hong Kong
Getting there: Peak Tram, Peak Tower Station or Bus 15 from Central Star Ferry pier
Head east along the Island Line to enjoy a wide-open waterfront space with plenty of play equipment and some Hong Kong history thrown in for good measure! This two-zone park features basketball and tennis courts, a rare-in-HK cycle track, and well-maintained changing facilities. It also features one of Hong Kong Island’s biggest and best playgrounds,packed with ramps, frames, beams, swings, slides… you name it and they have it. The Park also has an extra-special attraction in the form of the Fireboat Alexander Grantham. This retired fire service vessel patrolled Victoria Harbour for 50 years, keeping the city’s busy shipping port safe and operational before its eventual retirement in 2002. It was permanently relocated to Quarry Bay Park in 2006 to act as an exhibition venue, and now offers a fascinating – and free of charge – insight into Hong Kong’s 20th century maritime history.
Getting there: Tai Koo MTR Station, exit E1 or Quarry Bay MTR Station, exit B1
For something completely different, how about a day exploring what was once considered
one of the world’s most challenging airport runways? Designed by Foster+ Partners and
built on the site of the old Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong’s shiny new cruise terminal building runs the length of the old runway, jutting into Victoria Harbour and offering a whole new perspective on this city from its rooftop park. As well as those showstopping views across Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, this quirky park has plenty of space for kids to run, along with large lawns, a splash-pad water play area in which to cool off, and comfy benches – arrive later in the day to enjoy the sunset before grabbing a bite downstairs at one of the cruise terminal’s restaurants.
Address: 33 Shing Fung Road, Kai Tak, Kowloon
Getting there: Minibus 86 from Kowloon Bay MTR station (Telford Plaza)
Kowloon Walled City Park was opened in 1995 on the site of what was once a walled
garrison-city but that was later to gain infamy as Hong Kong’s hotbed of crime. In the period following World War Two, this lawless former tenement area became known for its drug dens, organised crime and thriving unlicensed dentistry industry. Happily, these days the former no-go district is a delightful Qing Dynasty-inspired park that features eight themed floral walks, pretty pavilions and fascinating indoor and outdoor exhibition areas that breathe colour into the park’s darker side.
Address: Kowloon City, Kowloon
Getting there: Sun Wong Hoi MTR station (2021), bus 1 from Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry pier
Part of the landmark West Kowloon Cultural District development, the two-kilometre-long West Kowloon Art Park will eventually link up to Tsim Sha Tsui to create a world-class
waterfront walkway. For now, the park offers a pet- and family-friendly harbourfront space with plenty of space for families to cycle, scoot and run unhindered. The lawned Nursery Park and Art Park are ideal for ball games and picnics, while a good selection of cafes and restaurants are on hand to keep peckish families happy. Hire a SmartBike from the kiosks near the entrance, and explore the entire site, which includes the striking M+ Pavilion exhibition space, Freespace, the city’s largest black box theatre venue, and of course those iconic Hong Kong harbour views.
Getting there: Kowloon MTR Station, Exit E4
Anyone who has spent time in Hong Kong’s parks will already be familiar with the litany of
rules that specify no cycling, skating or scooting… in fact, it can sometimes feel as though
the city’s parks are designed to be as fun-free as possible! Happily, Po Kong Village Road
Park is designed for families who love freewheeling, with a generous kilometre-long elevated cycle track, separate learner-friendly cycle area for kids who are still a little wobbly on wheels, and a skatepark complete with ramps, dips and kerbs galore for practicing those tricks and flips. And that’s not all – three separate areas are jam-packed with play equipment, while you’ll also find excellent football, rugby and cricket facilities here, including practice nets. Add in a shady amphitheatre and a fascinating exhibition of photovoltaic power, complete with wind turbine, and you have a full day out to enjoy here.
Getting there: Diamond Hill MTR station, then minibus 19M
Located along the edge of the Tolo Harbour, this five-and-a-half-hectare park features an interesting display that details the Ma On Shan’s history as a mining town. Entering the park, there is a pleasant circular lawn bordered by a spacious picnic area, floral garden and a number of shaded pavilions that are ideal for escaping the mid-day sun. One of the park’s main attractions is its fun maze garden, which along with the well-designed playground, is an enduring hit with children. For a full day of fun, combine with a visit to the adjacent Ma On Shan public pool, a sprawling complex of pools, slides, fountains. On the opposite side of the park, there is even a small paddling beach, known as Wu Kai Sha Pebbles beach, the choice is yours!
Getting there: Ma On Shan MTR station, exit A
Another one that’s ideal for keen cyclists, Sha Tin’s Siu Lek Yuen Road Playground offers an adventure cycling course for proficient bikers, along with a children’s cycling track for beginners to cut their teeth. The course is packed with ramps, loops, twists and turns that promise to sharpen skills while fulfilling the need for speed – you can even cycle at night as the course is floodlit. Those not wishing to join the two-wheeled revolution can opt for a more sedate day enjoying the bowling green, and you’ll also find tennis courts, play equipment and plenty of plant life to explore.
Getting there: Shek Man MTR station, exit B
If there are any you think we have missed that are worthy of a mention, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.