Image © supersum on flickr

Richmond Park

Richmond Park is the largest enclosed space in London, extending over an incredible 2,500 acres. Taking a walk here feels very much like you’re right out in the countryside, especially with the large herds of deer that call the park home. You’ll spot glimpses of the city here and there, like the view from the top of the park all the way to St Paul’s Cathedral in central London.

With numerous pathways, cycle routes, wide open spaces and thick grasslands, Richmond Park provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of London. It’s also the city’s largest designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and is home to a host of cute creatures and rare species, including beetles, bats, birds and wildflowers. Richmond Park is popular with both cyclists and runners, and you can hire a bike to tackle the Tamsin Trail, an off-road perimeter track around the park that covers more than seven miles.

One of London’s eight Royal Parks, it’s also a National Nature Reserve and includes a 40-acre woodland garden known as the Isabella Plantation – first planted in the 1830s. Striking evergreen azaleas line the ponds and streams, and you’ll also find rare and unusual shrubs in addition to large collections of Rhododendrons and Camellias.

The park’s highest point is home to the magnificent Georgian mansion Pembroke Lodge, which is surrounded by 13 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. You could also climb King Henry’s Mount, a steep hill with incredible views across to the city of London. A former burial chamber dating back to prehistoric times, rumour has it that the viewing spot was where King Henry VIII stood to see the rocket fired from the Tower of London in 1536, when wife Anne Boleyn was executed for treason!

Getting to Richmond Park

Richmond Station is served by the District line and National Rail services, with the 371 and 65 bus routes serving the park’s pedestrian gate at Petersham. The 190, 391, 491 and R68 routes all serve Richmond, while the 33, 337 and 485 routes serve the north side of the park. The 85, 265 and K3 routes serve the south side, the 72 and 493 the east side and the 65 and 371 the west side of the park.

What’s nearby?

The National Trust’s Ham House and Garden can be found to the south of Richmond on the banks of the River Thames, while Kew Gardens is one stop along the District line. This line provides a route into central London where you’ll find popular attractions including Hyde Park, the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria at Kensington Palace and the London Eye. Twickenham Stadium, the ‘home of English rugby’, is to the west of Richmond while Hampton Court Palace, once the home of King Henry VIII, can be reached on buses via Kingston.

Click here for Richmond Park opening times.