There are 8 Royal Parks and all together they make up over 5000 acres of parkland. Kensington Gardens flows into Hyde Park and then close by is Green Park and St James Park. A bit north of these is Regent’s Park. To the East is Greenwich Park. In West London are Richmond and Bushy Parks.
There are these lovely expansive green spaces in London because they are part of the hereditary possessions of the Crown. There is a palace in Kensington Palace now which continues to be lived in by members of the Royal Family. Green Park leads to Buckingham Palace and St James Park incorporates the Mall and the Horse Guards Parade all close to Buckingham Palace. There was once a palace in Richmond where Queen Elizabeth the 1st resided and there was also once a palace in Greenwich. Bushy Park is next to Hampton Court Palace. These lands were all used by the Kings and Queens of yesteryear mostly for hunting.
Today the general public makes good use of these parks. On a sunny day you will see people laying on the grass enjoying the sun. People generally enjoy the beautifully tended gardens. Picnics take place. Many jog or cycle on the many paths. Children play in the playgrounds. In some parks there is boating available and horse riding as well. Regent Park has an outdoor theatre. Hyde Park has been historically known for Speaker’s Corner where one can go and give a point of view on any matter. In Winter, Hyde Park has a skating rink and Christmas market. And all of these parks have a cafe.
As well, the Royal Parks host many events. There is the Royal Park half marathon, the ’Swim Serpentine,’ the 'Prudential Ride' (cycling) and the Duathlon in the Parks calendar for 2019. Hyde Park has hosted many very large music concerts and is the site of Proms in the Park at the end of the BBC Prom Season every September.
Wildlife is coveted in the Royal Parks. There are deer herds in both Richmond and Bushy Parks which seems amazing right in the middle of a large city such as London. Richmond Park is the largest site of Special Scientific Interest and us a National Nature Reserve. There have been pelicans in St. James Park for over 400 years. There is a breeding program for hedgehogs in Regent’s Park.
Many of the parks feature monuments to important and beloved persons. In Hyde Park there is the Diana Fountain, constructed following the death of Princess Diana. You will also find a small statue of Peter Pan there. At the edge of Hyde Park across the street from the Royal Albert Hall stands the very large monument built to honour Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, following his death.
There is a Royal Parks charity which has been in existence since 2017. it hires volunteers, hosts school programs, has a horticultural apprenticeship scheme and generally maintains and conserves these parks. The charity has also taken on looking after other areas in London of historic interest. These include The Brompton Cemetery, the Victoria Tower Gardens, Canning Green and Poet’s Corner. Brompton Cemetery is a resting place for 200,00 people and you will find gravestones there since 1840. In Victoria Tower Gardens is a memorial to Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the suffragettes.
Spring is coming so make a point of enjoying these parks to the full this year!