I couldn't believe that I could be in the beating heart of the British Countryside so close to the throbbing metopolis
Home to London`s biggest deer herd
Every year millions of Londoners and tourists visit Richmond Park, the largest of the capital`s eight Royal Parks and the biggest enclosed space in London. The park is a National Nature Reserve, London`s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation. It is home to the beautiful Isabella Plantation, Pembroke Lodge and herds of Red and Fallow deer.
The largest of London`s Royal Parks, it is of national and international importance for wildlife conservation. The park is a national nature reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation and is included, at Grade I, on Historic England`s Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England. Its landscapes have inspired many famous artists and it has been a location for several films and TV series.
The park is a national nature reserve and includes many buildings of architectural or historic interest. The Grade I-listed White Lodge was formerly a royal residence and is now home to the Royal Ballet School. The park`s boundary walls and ten other buildings are listed at Grade II, including Pembroke Lodge, the home of 19th-century British Prime Minister Lord John Russell and his grandson, the philosopher Bertrand Russell.
History and Architecture
Richmond Park is the largest Royal Park in London covering an area of 2,500 acres. From its heights there is an uninterrupted view of St Paul's Cathedral, 12 miles away.
Richmond Park has changed little over the centuries and although it is surrounded by human habitation, the varied landscape of hills, woodland gardens and grasslands set among ancient trees abound in wild life.
The royal connections to this park probably go back further than any of the others, beginning with Edward (1272-1307), when the area was known as the Manor of Sheen. The name was changed to Richmond during Henry VII's reign. In 1625 Charles I brought his court to Richmond Palace to escape the plague in London and turned it into a park for red and fallow deer. His decision, in 1637, to enclose the land was not popular with the local residents, but he did allow pedestrians the right of way. To this day the walls remain, although they have been partially rebuilt and reinforced.
In 1847 Pembroke Lodge became the home of the then Prime Minister, Lord John Russell and was later the childhood home of his grandson, Bertrand Russell. It is now a popular restaurant with glorious views across the Thames Valley.
Now I'm here what do I do
It is a great place to see ancient trees, especially oaks, endangered species of fungi, and a number of scarce beetles! It is free to visit, and open throughout the year, offering differing natural splendours depending on the season.
Visitors can walk, bike (you can rent bikes here), or even a horse ride. It is also a good spot for fishing, and Power Kiting! Bests of all, it has 2 playgrounds to entertain and amuse the kids.
The Kingston Gate Playground has been designed with children under 5 in mind and is a popular playground for small children. It is located adjacent to the Kingston Gate Car Park, and features timber play sculptures including a fairy pergola and a tractor and trailer, plus multi use play equipment, a bark pit, a hammock, and a children's picnic area.
The other playground, Petersham Gate, has been designed to be used by children of all ages, and it features a sandpit, bark pit with a climbing frame and jumping lily pads, balancing blocks and a hammock, an elephant piano (xylophone), a see-saw and a water play feature. There is a timber pergola next to the sand pit that is great if you want to sit in the shade, and there are plenty of wide steps and boulders to use as seats.
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