Just a stone’s throw away from the heart of the city, a serene nature escape set in glorious grasslands awaits. Here you’ll be surrounded by rare birds and wildlife as well as reindeer freely roaming inside the park.
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Richmond Park is a great place for avid runners, I have completed the Richmond half-marathon and a few of the Richmond Parks Christmas 10k races. And can tell you that there is nothing like it!
Richmond Park is one of London’s eight Royal Parks. Richmond Park is also the largest royal park in London. The park covers an area of 2500 acres and has no shortage of sights and activities to enthral.
Read on for the top things to do in Richmond Park London
With everything from wildlife spotting, biking, running, horse riding, kiddies entertainment, and more, you’ll find something for everyone to enjoy.
Not to mention, if you’re hoping to see magical Autumn colours in London, this is the place to visit. This post will cover the top activities, sights and tours available in Richmond Park.
This huge park is great for getting sporty, enjoying a picnic with loved ones, or simply meandering through for hours.
There are many historic sites and landmarks to marvel at as well as excellent opportunities for nature or photography enthusiasts. You’ll also find several excellent dining options in the park.
In a city that can get pricey, it’s delightful that there are a bunch of free activities in Richmond Park for an enjoyable experience.
There’s so much to see and soak up that you could easily lose track of time in this idyllic retreat from the city. Before diving into the sights and activities, it may be handy to find out more about the history of this special park.
These beginnings go back as far as 1272, around the time of King Edward’s reign. However, the park was known as the Manor of Sheen during this time. During King Henry VII’s time on the throne, it became Richmond Park.
Around 1625, King Charles initiated the park to be a place of refuge from the plague that was consuming London at the time. He also decided to turn it into a sanctuary for the red and fallow deer that still call this area home today.
To this day, the park is considered a Site of Special Scientific Interest as well as a National Nature Reserve.
It’s handy to note that this popular spot is busy throughout the week, not just on weekends. So, if you’re looking to visit at less crowded times, then your best bet would be an early morning visit. Particularly before 10:00 or after 19:00 once folks begin to filter away.
September and October are particularly special times of the year to experience the area in all its glory. If you’re looking for Autumn activities in London, this is a winner.
Fall is a magical time to see the park dressed in red, orange, and yellow hues. And springtime, of course, brings budding flowers, which creates a canvas of colours to admire.
Without a doubt, this park is a must-visit if you are in London. This gem offers so much to see and do for visitors of all ages. And it’s also an iconic piece of history.
Visitors come from afar to experience it all, and locals make it their regular stomping ground or running trail.
This spot is a great choice to plan a day outing for sightseeing or enjoy a leisurely picnic with the family. You can also opt to spend your lunch break here for some fresh air before heading back to the office if you work nearby.
It’s no secret there’s a substantial amount of ground to cover in this impressive park. It may be overwhelming navigating the area or knowing what to look out for in Richmond Park. These are some of the most worthwhile attractions to see and activities to enjoy.
During your visit to Richmond Park, in Poet’s Corner, it’s well worth taking a moment to sit back and relax on this iconic bench.
This seat commemorates the life of famous rock star Ian Dury. For avid music lovers, you may know him for his hits Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick and What a Waste. One of his other famous songs, Reasons to be Cheerful, is inscribed on the bench.
This bench pays tribute to the musician as it was a spot that he and his children frequented. His family donated the bench to the park in 2002 – two years after he passed away.
If you fancy standing in King Henry VII’s footsteps, then this is the attraction for you. It was previously used as a burial chamber in the Bronze Age around 3,300 to 1,200 BC. However, Henry later used it as a vantage point for hunting falcons and such.
Visitors can stand on the mound and admire the view. Where you’ll see landmarks like Windsor Castle and St Paul’s Cathedral.
This National Nature Reserve has so much to offer, but arguably one of its main drawing points is its resident deer. Here, 630 Red and Fallow deer have been roaming freely since the 1600s.
These animals have not only helped shape the landscape into what you see today with their diligent grazing, but they are also an important part of the Park’s history.
When encountering these majestic creatures, you should maintain a safe distance from the deer – at least 50 meters. This is particularly important during their breeding season around autumn.
This forty-acre woodland sits in the gorgeous Victorian garden plantation established in the 1830s. Here you’ll find an impressive collection of rare trees and shrubbery, from Rhododendrons to Camellias. It’s a plant lover’s happy place for sure.
Evergreen Azaleas line picturesque ponds creating an enchanting feel for visitors. This charming spot offers more than meets the eye too. It’s also home to various amphibians and invertebrates.
In fact, the entire plantation is a well-run ecosystem that flourishes on the organic practices used and results in thriving fauna and flora.
Here you’ll find the National Collection of Wilson 50 Kurume Azaleas. Plant enthusiast Ernest Wilson brought these beauties from Japan to the west. They now stand proudly in these ancient gardens for all to admire.
This former Royal residence is a Grade I listed Georgian house located in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.
Today it is the site of the Royal Ballet Lower School and instructs youngsters between the ages of 11 and 16. However, this iconic spot has housed many royals over the years, making it well worth a visit for any history buffs.
For cyclists or runners, this is the ultimate escape into nature. Not only will you get wide-open spaces to explore, but beautiful views to keep you motivated and inspired too. There is also a weekly friendly 5 km park run and regular half-marathons that pass through the park.
The Tamsin Trail is a popular spot for outdoor sports enthusiasts like runners, cyclists, and dogs. Whether you choose to complete the trail once or do a few laps, you will get a peaceful backdrop for your outdoor fitness.
And after you’ve worked up an appetite, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes around the park at which you can indulge in a well-deserved post-workout meal.
For those who aren’t keen bikers but would like to cycle through the park for the experience, it may be fun to do a cycle tour. This way you’ll get to see the popular attractions, including the wildlife, from a different perspective.
One of the famous sights you can see from the heights of Richmond Park is the regal St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound.
From this vantage point, you will also see the beautiful Thames Valley to the West and an iconic view of St Paul’s Cathedral to the distant East. There is a plaque that tells you are 10 miles from St Paul’s Cathedral, when standing on the King Henry’s Mound.
In fact, special efforts have been made to preserve this awe-inspiring view over the years.
Landscapers created a tree-framed view of the cathedral from the Mound and obstructing the view with buildings is prohibited.
Things to do near Richmond Park London
This 17th-century treasure is must-see. Ham House is not managed by Richmond Park, but it is certainly well worth a visit while you’re in the area.
Ham House is situated only 10 miles from central London, south of Richmond in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It’s gorgeous formal gardens and historic architecture are simply magnificent to behold.
The Ham House is not directly in Richmond Park, but it is around 15 – 20 minutes from the American University. Which is one of the bus stops near the Richmond Gate entrance of Richmond Park.
Hampton Court Palace
You can’t visit Richmond Park without visiting Hampton Court Palace. This royal palace, built in 1514, is situated in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.
It is open to the public for guided tours of its impressive halls, where extravagant royal banquets and balls were held. You can even join a bike tour of Richmond Park and Hampton Court Palace for something unique.
There is also the famous garden maze which offers thrilling adventures. The unique character and natural beauty make it clear to see why it was the first Queen Elizabeth’s favourite home, along with King Henry VIII’s.
While there is no direct bus from Richmond Park to Hampton Court Palace, there are bus connections or taxis. You will likely make the trip in well under an hour.
Richmond Park is nestled in the South-West side of London, close to popular spots like Petersham, North Sheen, and Roehampton, and is easily accessible by car. Alternatively, there are a few other ways to get to Richmond Park, depending on your preference.
These are some of the common ways to reach this popular spot:
- You can catch the National Rail or District Line of the train, and from there, either the 371 or 65 bus will take you to the pedestrian gate of the park. These buses will stop at the American University bus stop, which is a 3 minutes’ walk to the Richmond Gate entrance of the park.
- If you are travelling via bus, you’ll have several options from each side. There are busses from Hammersmith, Richmond Train Station, Putney, Roehampton, and Kingston.
All of these routes have more than one connecting bus before reaching Richmond Park, so be sure to check the route carefully.
You may have a few burning questions when it comes to Richmond Park. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions.
If you’re wondering whether your little ones will have fun at Richmond Park, the answer is a big yes.
They will be thrilled to spot the famous deer roaming about, enjoy the kid’s play areas, ride their bikes, and indulge in some ice cream. There is a plethora of exciting things for kids to do in Richmond Park.
If you’re looking to get your step count in, this is the perfect spot to get in a substantial walk with gorgeous scenery.
The most popular walking route around the park’s perimeter is known as the Tamsin Trail. It will take you around 2 – 2.5 hours to walk the trail. But be sure to factor in time for photos and leisurely sightseeing – this may extend the time to 3 – 4 hours.
Yes, you’ll be happy to know that parking is completely free at this incredible park. If you’re arriving by vehicle, Richmond Park opens from 07:00 during the summertime and 07:30 in the winter. Year-round, closing time is around dusk.
Cyclists will be in their element here, especially on the Tamsin Trail. This is the best spot to get in a good off-road ride.
The trail spans about 11km around the edge of the park and takes around 40 minutes to an hour to complete. Most cyclists opt to do more than one lap to get a solid workout.
For avid mountain bikers looking to extend their ride, there is the opportunity to link in a nice loop of Wimbledon Common for some extra distance and a nice climb. You’ll also find great single-track and bike jumps if you fancy something different.
Note: This path is shared with pedestrians, so keep an eye out for speed limits.
Whether you’re a visitor in search of the best London spots to explore or you’re a local looking for a serene escape from life’s busyness, you’re in luck.
Richmond Park boasts stunning views, riveting wildlife sightings, and an unforgettable historical immersion, all from London’s backyard. There is something for every taste.
Whether you want to stroll and grab a bite to eat or satisfy your appetite for adventure instead, you will find that time spent in Richmond Park is always time well-spent.