Royal Parks of London

Last updated

Regent's Park c.1833 Regent's Park London from 1833 Schmollinger map.jpg
Regent's Park c.1833
Hyde Park and part of Kensington Gardens c.1833 Hyde Park London from 1833 Schmollinger map.jpg
Hyde Park and part of Kensington Gardens c.1833
Green Park and St. James's Park c.1833 Green Park and St. James's Park London from 1833 Schmollinger map.jpg
Green Park and St. James's Park c.1833

The Royal Parks of London are lands originally owned by the monarchy of the United Kingdom for the recreation, mostly hunting, of the royal family. [1] They are part of the hereditary possessions of The Crown.



With increasing urbanisation of London, some of these were preserved as freely accessible open space and became public parks with the introduction of the Crown Lands Act 1851. There are today eight parks formally described by this name and they cover almost 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) of land in Greater London.

Of these, Regent's Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens (which are adjacent), Green Park and St James's Park (also close to each other) are the largest green spaces in central London. Bushy Park, Greenwich Park and Richmond Park are in the outer boroughs.

The Royal Parks agency also manages other open spaces: the Brompton Cemetery, Grosvenor Square Gardens, Victoria Tower Gardens and the gardens of 10, 11 and 12 Downing Street. [11] Hampton Court Park is also a royal park within Greater London, but as it contains a palace, it is administered by the Historic Royal Palaces, unlike the eight Royal Parks. [12]

The public does not have any legal right to use the Parks, as public access depends on the grace and favour of The Crown, although there are public rights of way across the land. Until 2017, the Royal Parks Agency managed the Royal Parks under powers derived from section 22 of the Crown Lands Act 1851. As part of its statutory management function the Agency permitted the public to use the Parks for recreational purposes, subject to regulations issued under the Parks Regulation Acts 1872–1926 which were considered necessary to secure proper management, preserve order and prevent abuse within the Parks. The Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997 then came into effect until a separate charity took over the parks from the Royal Parks Agency. [13]


The parks were managed by The Royal Parks (an executive agency of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) until the agency joined with charity The Royal Parks Foundation to form a new charity - The Royal Parks - launched in July 2017. The parks are policed by the Royal Parks Operational Command Unit of the Metropolitan Police (the English section of the previous force policing the parks, the Royal Parks Constabulary, has been abolished). Some funding for the Royal Parks comes from a central government grant. This contrasts with most of London's other parks, which are funded by local borough councils. The Royal Parks charity generates the majority of its income from commercial activities such as catering and staging public events such as concerts.

Mayoral control

In 2010, Mayor of London Boris Johnson proposed that control over the Royal Parks should be devolved to the Greater London Authority [14] and the government put forward proposals for that to happen later on that year. [15] The plan was welcomed by Royal Parks but not implemented. [16]

See also

Related Research Articles

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Borough in United Kingdom

The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in southwest London forms part of Outer London and is the only London borough on both sides of the River Thames. It was created in 1965 when three smaller council areas amalgamated under the London Government Act 1963. It is governed by Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council and is divided into nineteen wards.

Richmond Park Royal Park in London, England

Richmond Park, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, was created by Charles I in the 17th century as a deer park. 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.

Richmond, London Suburb of London in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames

Richmond is a suburban town in south-west London, 8.2 miles (13.2 km) west-southwest of Charing Cross. It is on a meander of the River Thames, with many parks and open spaces, including Richmond Park, and many protected conservation areas, which include much of Richmond Hill. A specific Act of Parliament protects the scenic view of the River Thames from Richmond.

Hyde Park, London Royal Park in London, United Kingdom

Hyde Park is a Grade I-listed major park in Central London. It is the largest of four Royal Parks that form a chain from the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, via Hyde Park Corner and Green Park past the main entrance to Buckingham Palace. The park is divided by the Serpentine and the Long Water lakes.

Bushy Park Royal Park of London

Bushy Park in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames is the second largest of London's Royal Parks, at 445 hectares in area, after Richmond Park. The park, most of which is open to the public, is immediately north of Hampton Court Palace and Hampton Court Park and is a few minutes' walk from the west side of Kingston Bridge. It is surrounded by Teddington, Hampton, Hampton Hill and Hampton Wick and is mainly within the post towns of Hampton and Teddington, those of East Molesey and Kingston upon Thames taking the remainder.

Danson Park

Danson Park is a public park in the London Borough of Bexley, South East London, located between Welling and Bexleyheath. At 75 hectares, it is the second largest public park in the borough, and the most used by the community. Opened in 1925, it is often considered the finest green open space in the borough, and is Grade II listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. The park also gives its name to the electoral ward that covers the park and the surrounding area. The park is located at grid reference TQ472752. The southern boundary of both the park and the ward is delineated by Rochester Way, the A2 road.

Hampton Court Park park in South London, England

Hampton Court Park is a walled royal park managed by the Historic Royal Palaces.. The park lies between the gardens of Hampton Court Palace and Kingston upon Thames and Surbiton in south west London, England, mostly within the post town of East Molesey, but with its eastern extremity within the post town of Kingston. In 2014, part of the park was designated a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest. It takes up most of the final (lowest) meander of the non-tidal reaches of the River Thames and is mainly divided between a golf course, meadows interspersed with trees used for deer, seasonal horse grazing and wildlife. A corner of the park is used annually for the Hampton Court Flower Show and the part nearest to the palace has the Long Water — an early set of hydro-engineered ponds or lakes, fed by water from the distant River Colne, as are the bodies of water in the neighbouring park, Bushy Park.

Walking in London popular recreational activity in London

Walking is a popular recreational activity in London, despite traffic congestion. There are many areas that provide space for interesting walks, including commons, parks, canals, and disused railway tracks. This includes Wimbledon Common, Epping Forest, Hampstead Heath, and the eight Royal Parks: Hyde Park, Regents Park, Richmond Park, etc. In recent years access to canals and rivers, including the Regent's Canal, and the River Thames has been greatly improved, and as well a number of long-distance walking routes have been created that link green spaces.

Parks and open spaces in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets, in spite of being close to the centre of London and perhaps retaining the idea of it being the docklands area, has over 100 areas of parks and open spaces within its boundaries. These range from the huge to small gardens and squares. In common with all the London boroughs, these green spaces provide "lungs" for the leisure pursuits of the inhabitants.

Parks and open spaces in the London Borough of Islington

The London Borough of Islington is short of large parks and open spaces, given its status in recent decades as a desirable place of residence. In fact, Islington has the lowest ratio of open space to built-up areas of any London borough. The largest continuous open space in the borough, at 11.75 hectares, is Highbury Fields.

Parks, open spaces and nature reserves in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames

Richmond upon Thames in the south west of Greater London has more parks, open spaces and nature reserves than any other London borough.

Parks and open spaces in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames

The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames is located along a stretch of the River Thames where the Hogsmill River joins the former at the town of Kingston. The Borough contains over 30 parks, 24 playgrounds, sports grounds and open spaces. There are also over 20 allotments sites which are either self-managed or run by the local council. An assessment conducted in 2006 identified 165 hectares of park and 340 hectares of other open spaces in the borough.

Old Deer Park park in the United Kingdom

Old Deer Park is an area of open space within Richmond, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, England. It covers 147 hectares of which 90.4 hectares is not in public ownership, largely sports grounds for the sports of rugby and golf.

Parks and open spaces in London parks and open spaces in London, England

There are many parks and open spaces in Greater London, England. Green space in central London consists of five of the capital's eight Royal Parks, supplemented by a number of small garden squares scattered throughout the city centre. Open space in the rest of the region is dominated by the remaining three Royal Parks and many other parks and open spaces of a range of sizes, run mainly by the local London boroughs, although other owners include the National Trust and the City of London Corporation.

The Royal Parks organisation within the UK Government

The Royal Parks is a charity which manages the eight Royal Parks in London. The Royal Parks also manage certain other areas of garden and parkland in London.

York House, Twickenham house and town hall of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in Twickenham, South West London

York House is a historic stately home in Twickenham, England, and currently serves as the Town Hall of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It is situated in Richmond Road, near the centre of Twickenham, close to St Mary's Church. It is a Grade II* listed building which is situated in a large park, which is also listed.

The Royal Parks Operational Command Unit is a unit of the Metropolitan Police which has responsibility for policing the Royal Parks found in central London.

William Goldring was a landscape architect, and naturalist. Goldring arrived in Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (1875) where he was in charge of the Herbaceous Department at the world-famous botanical garden. He served as the Assistant Editor of The Garden (1879), and the Editor of Woods and Forests (1883-1886). He was also President of the Kew Guild, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, England (1913). Goldring's work included many private houses, hospitals, asylums and public parks in England, Wales, India, and the United States of America. He is responsible for work on nearly 700 different garden landscape projects in England alone.

Boston Manor Park

Boston Manor Park is a large public park in the London Borough of Hounslow. A combination of woodland and open space, with an area adjoining the Grand Union Canal, it was created in 1924 from part of the historic estate of the 17th-century stately home Boston Manor.


  1. Thurston, Hazel. Royal Parks for the People: London's Ten. UK and USA: David and Charles. Vancouver: Douglas, David and Charles. 1974. ISBN   0-7153-6454-5. Includes listing of the Parks with black-and-white photographic plates.
  2. Archived 19 May 2011 at WebCite
  3. Archived 1 February 2010 at WebCite
  4. Archived 19 May 2011 at WebCite
  5. "Hyde Park". The Royal Parks.
  6. Archived 19 May 2011 at WebCite
  7. Archived 16 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  8. "Written answer to the House of Commons from the Head of the Royal Parks Service". 7 February 2002.
  9. "". Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2011.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  10. Archived 7 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  11. "What we do".
  12. Richmond Borough Council Archived 26 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  13. "Who we are". The Royal Parks.
  14. Mayor's Proposals for Devolution Archived 26 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  15. "Responsibility for London's Royal Parks to pass to London's Mayor".
  16. Royal Parks sees merger with the mayor's office as opportunity to boost sponsorship [ dead link ]

Coordinates: 51°30′29″N0°09′55″W / 51.5081°N 0.1654°W / 51.5081; -0.1654