Richmond Park

Richmond Park (13)

We can safely say with our hands on our heart that Richmond Park, the largest park in London, is paradise on earth. Situated in the outskirts, but accessible thanks to public transport, this massive stretch of natural land covers an area measuring 1,000 hectares and is a National Natural Reserve. The bucolic landscape of green hills, ponds and oak, chestnut and birch tree woods will calm the most stressed person. 

Richmond Park is also known for being the home of a many and varied fauna, among which feature some 650 deer that live and graze on its meadows in freedom. 

We have to go back to the 17th century to find the origins of the park. In 1625, King Charles I moved his Court to the nearby Richmond Palace to escape from the plague that was punishing the city of London and decided to fence off this royal park with a wall of 13 kilometres to turn it into private hunting grounds. The decision was not very popular with the locals of the area, so the king allowed public access. In this way, the local people were able to, for example, walk and collect wood for the fire.

One of the most beautiful corners of Richmond Park is, without doubt, Queen Elizabeth’s Plantation, a tree-filled garden created after the Second World War. This garden is cared for organically, and that is why its flora, particularly the azaleas, is really spectacular.

Another two points stand out; the first is Pen Ponds, a lake divided into two by a pavement in which you will be able to fish and observe the many aquatic birds from the area. The second is King Henry’s Mound, a hillock from which it is said that Henry VIII observed the hunting and from where, through an avenue that crosses the forest of Sidmouth Wood, one can see the dome of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, which is nearly 20 kilometres away.

As well as the marvellous views and the actual setting, the park has interesting activities on offer, from guided routes to see the deer to hiring horses and bicycles. You can even play golf if you want.

Richmond Park is often the setting for film and television shooting. Perhaps you remember the film Billy Elliot. Some of the sequences of this film that tell the story of a boy in a mining town who wants to be a dancer were filmed in  the Royal Ballet School, which has facilities in the park.  

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