London Parks: Greenwich Park
The oldest of the Royal Parks, Greenwich Park is full of history, attractions and wildlife. Situated at the top of a huge hill, it also offers some of the city’s finest views over all of London.
While Roman remains of a temple and several ancient objects were found in the east side of the park in 1902, the modern history of the park begins closer to the 15th century.
In 1427, the 183 acres of land here were royally decreed as home to Greenwich Castle, residence of Henry VI’s uncle, the Duke of Gloucester. By the time of Henry VIII’s reign, they were enclosed as a hawking and deer hunting ground, and James I formalized them with a high brick wall. Descendants of the deer and much of the original wall still remain.
The huge park is now home to the National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory and Queen’s House, as well as a statue of the British founder of Canada, a series of popular tennis courts, a children’s boating lake, and at its heart, the lovely Pavilion Tea House (open 7 days a week; 9am-8pm in the summer, 9am-4pm in the winter). On a warm, sunny day, sit outside here and enjoy a spot of tea, some uniquely British treats, and stunning views over the city.
In the northeast corner of the park, you’ll find the Wilderness Park (home to most of the park’s deer) running adjacent to the large green space of Blackheath, as well as the Flower Garden Lake, full of small fountain displays and waterfowl. In the northwest corner, a community orchard that was first planted in 1666 has been revived and re-planted with apple trees. In the southwest and southeast corners, you’ll find a small herb garden and a 100-variety rose garden.
Weather permitting, free guided walks are given by Friends of Greenwich Park; be sure to check their website for an updated schedule.
Greenwich Park is open from 6am-dusk, year round. You can get to Greenwich Park by boat, bus Tube or Docklands Light Railway. Click here for a complete rundown on your transportation options.