- 7am-dusk Mar-Sep, from 7.30am Oct-Feb
Lonely Planet review for Richmond Park
At 1012 hectares (the largest urban parkland in Europe), this park offers everything from formal gardens and ancient oaks to unsurpassed views of central London 12 miles away. It’s easy to escape the several roads that slice up the rambling wilderness, making the park excellent for a quiet walk or a picnic with the kids, even in summer when Richmond’s riverside can be heaving. Herds of more than 600 red and fallow deer basking under the trees are part of its magic, but they can be less than docile in rutting season (May to July) and when the does bear young (September and October). Birdwatchers will love the diverse habitats, from neat gardens to woodland and assorted ponds. Flower-lovers should visit Isabella Plantation, a stunning woodland garden created after WWII, in April and May when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom.
Coming from Richmond, it’s easiest to enter via Richmond Gate or from Petersham Rd. Take a map with you and wander the grounds.
Pembroke Lodge, the childhood home of Bertrand Russell, is now a cafe set in a beautiful 13-hectare garden and affording great views of the city from the back terrace.
The pastoral view from Richmond Hill has inspired painters and poets for centuries and still beguiles. It’s the only view (which includes St Paul’s Cathedral 10 miles away) in the country to be protected by an act of Parliament.