Richmond Park is the largest of London’s prestigious royal parks, spanning 1000 hectares. Located within leafy Richmond this is one of the most popular London attractions among locals as well as tourists taking a break from big city life.
Things to do in the park
- Richmond Park is most famous for its wonderful roaming deer, with 300 Red deer and 350 Fallow deer roaming this beautiful park.
- King Henry’s Mound, from where you have a fantastic view towards the Thames Valley
- A full, 18-hole golf course
- The Isabella Plantation, which is a gorgeous ornamental woodland garden
- Kingston Gate and Petersham Gate Playgrounds
- The Georgian mansion, Pembroke Lodge & Gardens.
The park is also popular for kite-flying enthusiasts and offers bike hire so that you can enjoy the full length and breadth of these stunning gardens.
King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park
A big highlight of Richmond Park is King Henry’s Mound, which offers one of London’s greatest views. For 300 years, visitors have been able to have a clear view of the City of London and St Paul’s Cathedral as far as ten miles away.
So spectacular is this view that it has been awarded special protected status. Actually, there are as many as 13 protected views of St Pauls Cathedral limiting developers to build high rise buildings. Other protected sightlines include views from Greenwich Park, Alexandra Palace and Hampstead Heath.
Plan a Cycling Day Out in Richmond Park
On a nice day, cycling in Richmond Park is one of the best afternoons in London. Here are five things you need to know for your cycling day out at Richmond Park:
1) Rent bikes at Richmond Station
Chances are, you’re coming in by train to Richmond. In which case, you can pick up your rental bikes right at the station! Richmond Station Cycle Centre do bikes for half a day for £16. The bikes are good quality, multi-geared ones that will handle both the hills and straight sections with ease. They come with locks so you can un-mount and explore where-ever you are.
2) Plan for a route taking in all the Richmond sights
Here’s a really good map that shows a short 6.5 miles cycling route that starts from Kingston station, goes along the river pathway, takes in Ham House and Petersham Meadows. Then the trail enters the park, goes past Pembroke Lodge and hopefully some deer along the way, and then back to the station. All of it within 90 minutes!
3) Spot the deer – and you’ll see the herd!
The herd of deer at Richmond Park is what makes it so special – it is the only park in London with wild deer roaming amongst dogs, joggers, and cyclists. They’re not afraid of humans, but do keep your distance. At certain times of the year like the mating season or when the young have just been born, they can get a bit defensive and you don’t want a pair of antlers chasing you.
4) Soft serve ice cream – a must
What cycling day out doesn’t have soft serve ice cream – the traditional 99 Flake? Luckily, on a nice day, there is no shortage of ice cream vans and refreshment stands waiting to lighten your wallet (significantly) for this simple treat. One place you can stop at is the Pen Folds Cafe, located deep in the middle of Richmond Park, about halfway through the cycling route. The soft-serve ice cream is sufficiently good, although slightly exorbitant at £1.80!
5) Hang out on Richmond Green
Finally, when you’re back at the station, take a short stroll down Richmond High Street and Brewers Lane alleyway. If you didn’t have enough ice-cream already, treat yourself to the locally famous Danieli Gelateria where they serve some wicked flavours. There might be a queue out the door, but it moves fast, so don’t be afraid to join in! Once you have your gelato, head a few steps more to Richmond Green, where the locals hang out on sunny weekends.