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Richmond Park, London

Richmond Park is located in London’s borough of Richmond upon Thames, which is a stone’s throw from Central London. The park covers 955 hectares (2,360 acres) making it the largest of the Royal Parks of London. Richmond Park is a national nature reserve and designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation.

Little has changed of Richmond Park since the time of King Charles I (reigned from 1625 to 1649), who acquired and closed the land for use as a royal hunting ground. The park has a pastoral landscape featuring green covered hills, open grasslands, woodlands, streams, ponds and walking trails. It’s home to a rich diversity of wildlife living in various habitats including the herds of red and fallow deer that have grazed here for centuries.

 Richmond Park by AxaxaxaxMlö

About

King Charles I brought his court to Richmond Palace to escape the plague in London. He transformed the surrounding area into a park for hunting the red and fallow deer that roamed freely. While Charles I closed the park to the public, he gave them the right of way to pass through. An Act of Parliament in 1872 finally gave the public access to the park. In the early 20th century, King Edward developed the park as a public facility by opening all the areas that were previously private.

See & Do

Richmond Park is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Wildlife supported here includes foxes, rabbits, bats, squirrels, snakes, frogs, toads, various species of birds and insects. Originally created for deer hunting, there are now over 600 red and fallow deer roaming freely across the park. The Isabella Plantation is a 16-hectare (40 acres) woodland garden and best known for its evergreen azaleas lining the ponds and streams as well as a large collection of camellias and rhododendrons. The rich humus soil also supports various woodland trees, shrubs and wildflowers.

Deer at Richmond Park by Keven Law

Several streams cross through Richmond Park and most drain into Beverley Brook. There are around 30 scenic ponds dotted across the park and the largest of the ponds are the upper and lower Pen Ponds, which were once used to rear carp for food. Pen Ponds dates back to 1746 and draws water from streams flowing from higher ground. Others include Barn Wood, White Ash, Peg, Gallows, Ham Dip and Leg of Mutton Ponds. Water from the upper Pen Pond supplies water to Still Pond, Thomson's Pond and Peg's Pond for the Isabella Plantation.

Stream through Isabella Plantation by David Iliff

King Henry’s Mound is the highest point at Richmond Park and located within the gardens of Pembroke Lodge. Legend has it that King Henry VIII stood at the mound waiting for the firing of a rocket to signal the execution of his wife Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London. There is no evidence to support the legend and most probably untrue but the mound retains his name. However, King Henry’s Mound does offer superb views of the Thames Valley and St Paul's Cathedral over a distance of 16 km (10 miles).

Cycling is popular at Richmond Park and you can rent a bike at the Parkcycle Centre near Roehampton Gate. Horse riding is also popular with a number horse stables offering rides at the park. Keen anglers can purchase a fishing permit at Holly Lodge to fish at Pen Ponds from 16th June to 14th March. There are two children’s playgrounds with the Kingston Gate Playground designed for children below 5 years and Petersham Gate Playground for children of all ages. Pembroke Lodge and Roehampton Cafe offer light meals and snacks while there are refreshment points near Broomfield Hill, Pen Pond and Pembroke Lodge car parks.

Pen Pond by steve

Visiting Richmond Park

Richmond Park opens to the public 24 hours but during the deer-culling season in November and February, the gates open from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Richmond Station is the nearest train station and serves the Waterloo to Reading Line operated by South Western Railway, District Line by the London Underground and the North London Line by the London Overground. From Richmond Station, take the 371 or 65 bus to the pedestrian gate at Petersham.

Richmond Park on the Map

Richmond, London TW10 5HZ, UK

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