Richmond Park is one of the last
vestiges of the great oak forests that surrounded London until
In 1657 Charles I, then Prince
of Wales, built a wall 8 miles long to enclose the royal park
as a hunting ground. Today the royal park covers 2,500
acres, 13 miles round the boundaries.
The capital's largest royal park,
it has superb views over London and Surrey. Richmond
Park has hardly changed and is so well preserved that in parts
it remains more natural than many areas of British countryside.
It is home to wildlife, most
famously the herds of fallow and red deer that can be seen
grazing beneath the trees. The woodlands, lakes, hills,
heath and grasslands are also home to badges and foxes.
A highlight of the park is the
Isabella Plantation, woodland landscaped with a stream, ponds
and magnificent floral displays.
Richmond Gate, in the northwest
corner, was designed by 'Capability' Brown in 1798, and nearby
is Henry VIII Mound. It was here in 1536 that the king, staying
at Richmond Palace, awaited the signal that Anne Boleyn, his
former queen, had been executed at the Tower of London.
White Lodge at the centre of
the park, built in 1729 for George II, a Palladian building
is now home to the Royal Ballet School.
Pembroke Lodge, the childhood
home of the philosopher Betrand Russell, is used as a café
and a venue for light music in the summer months.
The park is ideal for rambling,
cycling and riding, as well as fishing on the Pen Ponds, and
there are two golf courses.
Adam's Ponds is a favourite spot
for model boat enthusiasts.
There is also cafeteria, refreshment
kiosks, a playground and organised summer events for children.