regents park

The Royal Parks of London

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London has 8 parks which belong to the Royal Family, in the past these were hunting grounds for the Royals Following a law in 1851 these parks were opened to the public.

Richmond Park and Bushy Park

Note that even now nobody has the right to use the parks, but we can go there because the queen is doing us the favour. The largest of the royal parks is Richmond Park , famous for the over 600 free deer that live there.

The park is on slightly hilly ground and contains large meadows and various woods. In addition to the famous deer there are also many squirrels and some badgers, the park is also a conservation place for lucanidae. The ponds found inside also attract geese, herons, cormorants and other wild birds.

Not far from Richmond Park is Bushy Park the second largest royal park. It is located near Hampton Court , but is rarely visited by tourists. The park has several artificial lakes and also an artificial river built by King Charles I. Free deer can also be seen in Bushy Park. General Dwight D. Eisenhower planned the Normandy landings in a tent in Bushy Park, now you can see the spot where the tent was.

The third largest royal park is also the largest in central London. It is in fact Regent’s Park which was an old hunting reserve converted from 1811 in the city park by the architect John Nash.

Of this architect you can still see the beautiful houses that line the park. The park has several gardens and a lake that is home to ducks, geese, herons and even cormorants.

The north east part of the park is occupied by the London Zoo and from the north side of the park passes the Regent’s Canal , a walk loved by many Londoners.

Soon after we have perhaps the most famous park in London: Hyde Park whch is divided in two by the Serpentine, an artificial lake created in 1730 from the Westbourne River. In the north east corner of Hyde Park is the famous Speakers Corner and in the park there is also the strange monument to remember Princess Diana and the one for the victims of the 7 July bombs 2005. Hyde Park is often used for concerts, it was also the site of a couple of sporting events during the 2012 Olympics.

Kensington Gardens instead were the private gardens of Kensington Palace, as they are next to Hyde Park many believe it is the same park, but they are entirely different. Indeed, Kensington Gardens closes as soon as it gets dark while Hyde Park is  open until midnight. However, it has a more sophisticated and landscaped look than Hyde Park, also for having gardens and fountains, instead of just lawns and trees.

A curiosity of Kensington Gardens is Elfin Oak, the trunk of an oak that has over 900 years that it has been worked to seem inhabited by many small men.

Greenwich Park UNESCO site

Greenwich Park is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Greenwich. Inside, on top of the hill, there is the Royal Observatory. Greenwich Park had a gate as early as 1400 and 1700 was opened to the public. Horseback riding events at the London Olympics were held in this park in 2012.

St. James’s Park is the oldest of the royal parks, the land was bought by Henry VIII from the college of Eton along with York Palace to make a mansion and gardens fit for a monarch. James I not only renovated the park but also put crocodiles, camels and an elephant in it. While Charles II wanted the park redone in French style. Finally, the architect John Nash who already renovated Regent’s Park designed the park as we see it now. Since 1664 a colony of pelicans lives in the park.

Green Park , the smallest of the royal parks, is located between Hyde Park and St James’s Park. Green Park is the only one of all the parks that does not have ponds, buildings and very few monuments. This park was also purchased by Henry VIII to make it part of the royal palace. In 1700 it was the favourite place to have duels.

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