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Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.Government Guidelines
If you’re looking to escape the city for a while and get back to nature, Richmond’s Old Deer Park is the place for you. Just a short journey from central London, this large park has plenty of interesting things to do, including lots of natural landscape to explore. Whether you’re looking to visit in the height of summer or the middle of winter, the park has lots to offer.
Although there are no longer any deer in Old Deer Park, the park is a haven for local wildlife. The River Thames borders the park on its western edge, and attracts many different species of bird and other important wildlife for the local ecosystem.
The park spans an impressive 360 acres, with plenty of semi-wild areas where you can find small mammals, insects, and birds. A walk in the wilds of Old Deer Park can really feel like a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of London, despite only being a half-hour’s drive away.
To the north of the park is the beautiful Kew Gardens, which is one of London’s best destinations for incredible plant life. However, Kew Gardens does not have areas for sports or other activities, which is where Old Deer Park comes in. Old Deer Park is home to tennis courts, an outdoor gym, and all-weather sports pitches in London for football and rugby.
The park’s history dates back to Tudor times, when Queen Elizabeth I spent much of her time at the nearby royal palaces of Richmond Palace and Hampton Court Palace. After her death in 1603, the new king James I turned the park into a place for hunting deer, which is how it got its name.
Today, the park is well known for hosting sports events. The cricket stadium at Old Deer Park has been used for cricket matches for over 150 years, and continues to host County Cricket games, with Middlesex often playing here. It’s also the home ground of Richmond Cricket Club. The stadium was also the home of the now defunct rugby union team London Welsh.
One of the park’s most popular attractions is the Pools on the Park leisure centre. This large indoor pool can be found inside the park, and is very popular with visitors, especially in the summer months. With brilliant views of the park through the floor-to-ceiling windows in the building, it’s a lovely place to spend time during a visit to the area.
In the park, you’ll also find the beautiful King’s Observatory, now a Grade I-listed private residence. This fantastic building was created 1769 on the orders of King George III. The observatory was built to mark the transit of Venus, and was the site of many important astronomical discoveries during its time as a working observatory.
The park has plenty of space to relax and enjoy, with large open recreation areas that are always popular on a warm summer’s afternoon. There are two play areas at the park, both with lots of swings, slides, and climbing equipment for kids to explore. One playground is aimed at older kids whilst the other caters for younger children, meaning there’s something for everyone at Old Deer Park.
Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.Government Guidelines