With the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s first son. Described as “absolutely to die for” by Prince Harry, the baby boy was born at 5.26am on 6 May, weighing 7lb 3oz. Why not discover more about royal baby names and their meaning here, check out the best baby gifts fit for a royal, or discover why the Royal Parks are the ideal place to visit with the family – from new babies to grandparents and everyone in between.
From the delights of the Rose Garden to boating on the Serpentine, there’s something for everyone in Hyde Park. Covering 350 acres in the heart of London, the park stretches from the shopping mecca of Marble Arch, at the foot of Oxford Street, to the designer streets of Knightsbridge, making it the perfect afternoon foray following a spot of retail therapy. Home to the Diana Memorial Fountain, in honour of Princess Diana, the park is also the location of Speakers’ Corner. Decreed a designated location for public speaking and debate by an act of Parliament in 1872, the spot has been graced by the likes of Karl Marx and George Orwell and is open to anyone wishing to discuss issues old and new. Visitors looking to get active with the family can head to the playground or build up an appetite at the Tennis and Sports Centre, before grabbing a bite to eat at one of the pretty cafes. Home to many different species of wildlife, the park is also an ideal destination for nature lovers - from black swans to long tailed tits and friendly squirrels, it’s a haven of activity throughout the year.
Located just next door is Kensington Gardens. Formerly part of Hyde Park, the gardens offer art fans a hit of contemporary culture at the Serpentine Gallery and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, a new, 900-metre arts space. In addition to an ever-changing calendar of exhibitions, the galleries are home to Koenig Books and the Serpentine Shop, where keen collectors can discover and buy the latest works by new and established artists. Those looking to discover the history of the Royal Family can explore the King’s State Apartments and Queen’s State Apartments at Kensington Palace, the former home of Meghan and Harry and the current home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or visit the Albert Memorial. Designed to commemorate the death of Prince Albert in 1861, it is one of the most spectacular examples of Victorian architecture in the city. And for those travelling with children there’s a host of things to do – from wandering the park’s vegetable garden and meeting the chickens to discovering the world of Peter Pan at the Diana Memorial Playground, which is home to sculptures, a sensory train and even a giant pirate ship inspired by the life of J. M. Barrie’s fictional hero.
Covering an incredible 2,500 acres, Richmond Park boasts some of the most diverse wildlife and plant species in the city. In addition to beautiful herds of red deer, the park hosts some of our lesser-known species including the rare and endangered Stag Beetle. Native to Britain, this majestic endangered beetle has made the area its home, leading to the park’s designation as a National Nature Reserve. From animals to adventure, visitors can enjoy horse riding, cycling and power kiting and even tee off at Richmond Park Golf Course. Having recently undergone a £3 million improvement programme, the course features an eco-friendly clubhouse with an open-plan restaurant and bar offering incredible panoramic views of the golf course and sprawling park beyond.
Famous as the location of Camp Griffiss, the base from which General Eisenhower planned the D-Day Landings, today Bushy Park is perhaps best known for Chestnut Avenue and the Diana Fountain. Designed in 1637 for King Charles I’s wife Henriette Maria, in 1713 the magnificent bronze and marble fountain was relocated to Chestnut Avenue, a mile-long avenue lined by chestnut trees that was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. As awash with wildlife as it is with history, visitors can discover its red and fallow deer, water gardens and its mix of woodland, grassland and streams, all of which are home to an incredible number of bird and animal species, from woodpeckers and tawny owls to rare grassland butterflies.
St James’s Park
Nestled between Buckingham Palace and White Hall, St James’s Park is the ideal place to relax and enjoy a spot of sightseeing in the heart of the city. Visit the Horse Guards Parade, where the Trooping of the Colour is held each year to mark the Queen’s official birthday, explore the Mall or wander Buckingham Palace Memorial Gardens. Created in 1901 as a memorial to Queen Victoria, the gardens are a frequent backdrop to royal-related news reports and coverage. Stroll across the Blue Bridge and see ducks, geese and moorhens, or follow the lake towards Downing Street and discover the park’s resident pelicans. First introduced to the park by the Russian Ambassador in 1644, the sociable pale pink birds are free to wander and explore, but can generally be found relaxing on the lake or enjoying a bite to eat at feeding time (2.30pm – 3:00pm each day). If kicking back is the order of the day, why not enjoy a picnic amongst the flowers and watch the world go by, or perhaps try traditional dishes at St James’s Café, which offers a laid back vibe and beautiful views of the park from its floor-to-ceiling windows.
The Green Park
Located just a stone’s throw from St James’ Park, The Green Park is a beautiful spot to relax in, perhaps in one of the park’s traditional striped deck chairs. Rich in British heritage, it’s also a great destination to explore for those with an interest in war-time history. Visit the Canada Memorial, which commemorates the Canadian soldiers who fought alongside British troops in World War I and World War II, or check out Canada Gate, which serves as a memorial to Queen Victoria and an emblem of Canada’s contribution to the former British Empire. Alternatively, why not take a trip to see the Bomber Command Memorial, designed to honour the 55, 573 solders of the Bomber Command who perished during the war.
The Regent’s Park/Primrose Hill
With four children’s playgrounds, a tennis and netball centre, boat and pedalo hire and a sports centre, The Regent’s Park is brilliant for those looking for a place to get active and explore in the heart of the city. Culture vultures can enjoy comedy, music, theatre and film events from May to September at the Open Air Theatre, while green-fingered travellers can admire the formal flower bedding and tiered fountains of the Avenue Gardens or breathe in the heady floral scent of 12,000 roses as they wander Queen Mary’s Gardens. Lovers of wildlife can head to ZSL London Zoo, for a chance to meet exotic species and native wildlife alike, while those looking for breath-taking photo opportunities can get pictures galore from the top of Primrose Hill. Formerly used as a location for duels and battles of honour, the hill reaches 63 metres above sea level and offers staggering views of the city.
Famous for being the location of the Meridian Line, or Longitude Zero, from which every location in the world is measured, Greenwich Park is perhaps most recognisable for its incredible views across the City of London. Visitors keen to discover more about the home of Greenwich Mean Time and the origin of the universe can explore the Royal Observatory, with its Astronomy Centre and Planetarium, or take a visit to Flamsteed House, home of the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed. As the oldest deer park in London, it’s also great for nature lovers. Visit the red and fallow deer at the Wilderness Deer Park, explore the Rose Garden and wander the Queen’s Orchard, which is home to ancient fruit tree species dating back as far as the 1500s. Situated in the heart of Greenwich with its many shops, cafes and restaurants, the park is also ideally located for visits to nearby sites including the Queen’s House, the National Maritime Museum and the Old Royal Naval College, with its incredible Painted Hall.
Victoria Tower Gardens
Nestled between the Thames and the Houses of Parliament, this lesser-known royal park is a tiny oasis of green in the heart of the city. With memorials commemorating Emmeline Pankhurst, the abolition of slavery, and freedom from oppression during the Hundred Years War, the park is a celebration of civil rights and liberty. Enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, visit the monuments and relax under the flowering trees, or why not grab the family and enjoy the Horseferry Playground, with its sandpit, swings and water play installation.