Richmond Park is definitely one of my favourite spots in London. It’s a refreshing surprise from the city living and commuting nightmares that London can epitomise at times. It’s also massive so I thought I’d put together a post on some of the key sights to add to your list when planning a visit:
1. The Deer
Ok it’s not so much a place of interest but you can’t come to Richmond Park and not see the deer. And unless you are very unlucky chances are you will see them, and lots of them at that (630 live in the park apparently!)
2. The view of the London skyline
It’s worth the walk for this view. If you’re entering through Sheen Gate then go straight down the road and turn right at the roundabout. Keep walking and once you’ve reached the top of the hill take a look back to see a brilliant view of the skyline of London from afar.
3. The ponds
There’s quite a few ponds in the park but the largest are Pens ponds. There’s various ways to get to the ponds so have a look at the maps dotted around the gates. This area is picturesque (as is the rest of the park) and worth a stroll around or a sit down nearby with a picnic.
4. The view and gardens at Pembroke Lodge
Head for Pembroke Lodge, a listed Georgian mansion, and it’s beautiful 13 acres of landscaped gardens. Stop here for a coffee if you want a break from the walk. As well as taking in the gardens make sure you look at the view over the Thames towards Twickenham and beyond into Surrey.
5. The Royal Ballet School
Near the Pen ponds you’ll find White Lodge, part of the Royal Ballet School. You can’t visit but I think it’s worth a peek through the gates to see the impressive building and surroundings and imagine the future stars in training practising here daily.
6. King Henry’s Mound (telescope)
Although this is located in Pembroke Lodge gardens it needs a mention in its own right. This is definitely my favourite spot in the park and one of the biggest surprises. The telescope provides a direct view to St. Paul’s Cathedral and this sight line is protected meaning that no buildings can be built that block this view which is pretty impressive given the distance between the spot and St Paul’s as well as the number of buildings that have been constructed in London over the years.
7. Isabella plantations
I need to be honest – I still haven’t visited here! It’s on mine and my mum’s wish list whenever she visits but we still haven’t made it there yet! A 40 acre woodland garden with lots of rare and unusual trees and shrubs, the ideal time to go is during late April or early May to see the Azaleas in bloom.