11 Apr

10 things to do in the Royal Parks this Spring

written by Sharon Donovan

Spring has sprung, and to celebrate we have hand picked ten things for you do in the Royal Parks this season. From listening to jazz musicians in Greenwich Park,watching theatre in Regent's Park, to discovering different species of bats in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, there is something to cater to every taste. 

1

Row row row your boat

Hire a rowing boat or a pedalo and glide through the picturesque surroundings of Greenwich Park, Hyde Park or Regent's Park.

In Hyde Park jump on the sun powered 'Solarshuttle' which will take you from the boathouse to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.

Dates vary, check locally with parks.

Boating on the serpentine

2

Guided walk of Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park

This Spring, come along to one of the free guided walks of Isabella Plantation, as it bursts with colour from the exotic rhododendrons and azaleas in bloom. Dates of walks are listed on our events calendar.

Every Wednesday from 23 April catch a free return minibus service to the Plantation. Stopping at all gates in Richmond Park the service will give the public, especially those without cars, a greater opportunity to visit this 40 acre woodland garden. Minibus service will operate every Wednesday, from 10:30 am - 3:30 pm in forty minute intervals, 23 April through to 26 August.

Isabella Plantation

3

Enjoy an evening of live jazz in Greenwich Park

Following a refurbishment, the popular Pavilion Cafe will reopen on the afternoon of 13 April.

Located a stone's throw from the Royal Observatory, the cafe will be hosting an evening of jazz with musicians from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, every Friday from May 9 until the end of August. Kids welcome.

Drinks at the Pavilion Cafe

4

Watch theatre in Regent's Park

Grab a glass of Pimms from the bar and take your seat in the award winning Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.

Opening on 15 May, Arthur Miller classic 'All My Sons' will be the first production of the season.

Open Air Theatre during the day

5

Play cricket in Greenwich Park

From the 1 May until 30 September play cricket in the Grade 1 listed Greenwich Park, which offers unparalleled views across the River Thames to St Pauls Cathedral and beyond.

Included in the price is use of the changing facilities in the Pavilion.

To enquire or book the pitch contact Christine Sheffield on 0300 061 2380.

Cricket

6

Become a bat detective

On 16 May, a bat expert will lead you through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park as you discover several different bat species - including common pipistrelles, soprano pipistrelles, and noctules.

Learn how they hunt and separate bat facts from bat fiction. Bat detectors are used so that bat echo-location calls are audible to the human ear.

Children over eight, accompanied by an adult, are welcome 8.30pm-10pm. Entry £5. Book in advance.

Common Pipistrelle

7

Spend the day at Richmond Park Golf Course

Following a multi million pound refurbishment by Glendale Golf, play in the glorious surroundings of Richmond Park from 1 June. A new eco-friendly clubhouse will offer refreshment opportunities in the form of a coffee shop, bar and restaurant. Membership not required.

Richmond Park Golf Course

8

Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens

Inspired by J.M. Barrie's stories of Peter Pan the commemorative Diana Memorial Playground, will fire up the imagination of any child as they navigate their way through a wooden pirate ship moored on a beach, share stories in real tepees, and explore the sensory trail. Time left? Seek out the bronze statue of Peter Pan on the stump of a tree blowing his pipe.

Pirate Ship in the Diana Memorial Playground

9

Experience Trooping the Colour on June 14

Once a year, to mark the Sovereign's official birthday, a military parade and march-past takes place in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen on Horse Guards Parade Ground in St James's Park from 10am.

On the same day at 12.52pm, spectators can watch the magnificent 41-Gun Royal Salute in The Green Park followed by a flypast over Buckingham Palace at 1pm.

Trooping the Colour

10

Enjoy a bike ride through Richmond Park

Soak up the sunshine and increase your fitness by hiring a bike from Parkcycle in Richmond Park.

Located at the Roehampton Car Park, both adult and children's bikes are available for hire by the hour.

Plan your cycle route in Richmond Park.

Parkcycle cycling in Richmond Park

28 Feb

Inspired by the Six Nations – head on over to Regent's Park and get training..

written by Phil Kemp, Sports Development Officer at The Hub

If you've been inspired by this year's Six Nations and fancy brushing up on your rugby skills or if you want to improve your fitness and fancy a kick around with friends then head over to The Hub in Regent's Park where you will find London's largest award winning outdoor sports facility.

Available throughout the year, The Hub offers a range of fantastic rugby pitches which are used by adult clubs, schools and universities.

For six to 14-years-olds The Regent's Park Royals Rugby Club , which has been running since 2012, gives children from all backgrounds the opportunity to play and improve their skills through structured and enjoyable coaching sessions. The club is managed by development officials from Regent's Park and run by qualified coaches and experienced volunteers every Sunday morning. They also compete in festivals, tournaments and friendly matches throughout the winter.

In the summer months, we have four touch rugby pitches which are primarily used by leagues and local schools. In the winter we have two full size rugby pitches available from September to April.


Rugby Club

Further to the fantastic rugby pitches, The Hub has top quality changing rooms and a cafe which offers iconic views over Grade I listed parkland. With central London on our doorstep you can easily step away from the city and enjoy the large array of sporting and recreational activities on offer such as a game of cricket, softball or football. We have many organised sports on offer for the local community to enjoy, whether you are 8 or 80 years of age there is something for everyone.

The summer sports programme commences on 21st April and this is a fantastic way of either playing competitive sport or a social game amongst friends in a pretty spectacular location. For cricket, we offer four standard adult pitches, a minor counties premier pitch, junior pitch and four cricket practice net lanes. We also have 17 softball pitches dotted around Regent's Park and Primrose Hill, all of which are open to the public to book and enjoy.

It's also good to know that any income raised from the use of sports pitches at The Hub is reinvested and used to maintain and improve the area.

Find out more about booking pitches or the sports facilities on offer.

5 Feb

The Royal Parks top 5 things to do on Valentine's Day

written by Sharon Donovan

From cosy films to romantic walks, read our suggestions on how to celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14.

1

Watch a romantic movie in the heart of Hyde Park

Grab a glass of prosecco and snuggle up in the cosy, treehouse inspired - LookOut - to watch fairytale romance The Princess Bride (PG) or the Valentine's classic Breakfast at Tiffany's (PG). 

Before the film begins enjoy a raft of activities which include sketching silhouette portraits of your partner, toasting marshmallows, and putting your love to the test with a couples quiz. 

Purchase tickets here

The LookOut

2

Show your canine some love in Greenwich Park

Let the special dog in your life know you care by taking him for a lengthy walk in Greenwich Park followed by a treat of a heart-shaped cookie.

Baked with love, this dog cookie will be sold at Wolfe Statue Kiosk (located on the top of the hill at Greenwich Park) from Friday 14 February through to Sunday 17 February, alongside the usual human treats.

Valentine's Day for puppies

3

Walk hand in hand along Lover's Walk in Hyde Park

Take a romantic stroll along the tree lined pathway of Lover's Walk in Hyde Park.

Then at Serpentine Lake marvel at the most romantic of all the birds, the swan, who commit to their partner for life.

View the map of Hyde Park

Two swans in the shape of a heart

4

Emulate Bridget Jones and Darcy on top of Primrose Hill

In the opening credits of the sequel to Bridget Jones' Diary, Bridget (Renee Zwelleger) and Darcy (Colin Firth) become Captain Von Trapp and Maria as they re-enact a scene from  The Sound of Music on Primrose Hill.

Primrose Hill Summit

5

Treat your loved one to the hottest tickets in town!

Looking for the perfect Valentine's gift? Well look no further, McBusted plus special guests Backstreet Boys will be performing their hit songs on July 6 at this year's Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park – tickets available from www.bst-hydepark.com  

McBusted at Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park

31 Jan

Cleaning up after the storms

written by Ray Brodie, Park Manager of Kensington Gardens

St Jude took Britain by storm in October 2013 and Kensington Gardens Manager Ray Brodie was on hand to aid the clean-up operation in the Royal Parks.

"The storm in October led to around fifty tree fatalities of the 130,000-plus trees we have across all eight parks.

"Having started my garden apprenticeship for the Royal Parks in 1981, I was around for the storm of 1987 where winds reached over 100mph. The impact was devastating, killing over 4,500 trees and forcing us to close all eight of our parks for many weeks. St Jude by comparison only closed our parks for one morning.

Two herons in a nest

"The removal of windblown trees in '87 was a painstaking task as trees had blown into other trees, fallen against buildings, onto vehicles and across roads. When clearing up, safety is always paramount and it's important that all involved are aware of the issues windblown trees can cause.

"Most of the tree trunks removed from the parks were sent to factories for pulp and paper which raised the question why we didn't use the timber for other purposes. Quite simply, there is not a saw mill in the country that will touch a tree trunk from London. This is because many of our trees are embedded with shrapnel from the London bombings in WW2.

"Lime trees lining The Jubilee Walk in Kensington Gardens were particularly devastated by the impact of the 1987 storm. On a visit to London, upon witnessing the devastation caused, The Mayor of Berlin donated 100 lime trees. These 3-4 metre trees were flown in from Germany by the Royal Air Force to the former RAF station - Lyneham.

"Wildlife in our parks can also be disturbed by the storms. Grey herons in The Regent's Park are now rebuilding their homes after recent high winds savaged their nests. A recent count showed that there are currently only 11 heron nests compared to 29 recorded last year."

 

Heron on the ground Two herons in a nest

13 Dec

Mandela's special connection to the Royal Parks

written by Sharon Donovan

Following the news of Nelson Mandela passing on 5 December, we look back at his special connection with the Royal Parks.

Nelson Mandela first visited the Royal Parks on a bright summer's morning in July 1996. At 7.30am a crowd gathered to watch Nelson Mandela make the walk from Buckingham Palace to St James's Park, to plant a London Plane tree.

The tree was officially named 'The Mandela Tree' and Neville Labovitch, Chairman of the Prince of Wales' Royal Parks Tree Appeal at the time, said, "It's special in a world of pollution. It thrives, it's strong, and it's dependable. It will live for a very long time. It is a Mandela tree."

The Mandela Tree in St James's Park  The Mandela Tree Plaque

Addressing the crowd which included dancers and singers from the South African Music Village, Nelson Mandela called the tree 'symbolic' and added, "I wish I had the resources to come and water it every week."

Nelson Mandela in St James's Park

Nelson Mandela later visited another Royal Park - Hyde Park - in June 2008 to celebrate his 90th birthday at the 46664 concert. The gig was attended by 46,664 (his prison number) people including royalty, politicians and leading names in the sport, film and entertainment world. The concert proceeds went to the 46664 campaign to raise awareness about the impact of AIDS and promote effective HIV prevention measures throughout the world.

 

21 Nov

10 things to do this Christmas in London’s Royal Parks

written by David Brownlie-Marshall

Go ice skating with friends, choose your Christmas tree and cheer-on the intrepid Serpentine Swimmers on Christmas morning - here are 10 of the best things you can do in The Royal Parks this festive season:

1. Winter Wonderland Hyde Park

Returning from November 22, 2013 to January 5, 2014 for six exciting weeks of winter festivities with free admission and even more entertainment and over 100 rides and attractions.  The UK's largest outdoor Ice Rink will return, located around the picturesque Victorian Band Stand, from which live music will be played throughout the day and night.  For those who want to gaze at the action from above, the iconic Giant Observation Wheel will illuminate the skyline.  There will also be over 200 chalets in the beautiful Angels Christmas & Yuletide Markets and the ever-popular Bavarian Village will be ready to serve bratwurst and mulled wine. Admission to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is free, but booking in advance is strongly recommended as attractions sell out quickly.

01 - Winter Wonderland

2. Choose your own real Christmas tree

Nothing beats choosing your own real Christmas tree. For the fourth year running, Pines and Needles will be selling a fine selection of fresh cut, sustainably grown Highland Christmas trees within Bushy Park, Richmond Park and Greenwich Park.  Lights and decorations will also be available, so you can get everything you need to make your tree sparkle.  Open the weekend of 23 – 24 November, before opening every day from Friday 29 November – Sunday 22 December.  Money from the sales of Christmas trees goes towards supporting the work of The Royal Parks. 

03 - Christmas Tree

3. A Lunchtime Ramble in the Park: Christmas with Victoria and Albert

As the year's shortest day approaches, join The Royal Parks Foundation Education team for a Lunchtime Ramble in the Park: Christmas with Victoria and Albert to look at the seasonal folklore, traditions and feasts that have developed to sustain us through winter's darkest days.  Meeting at the Statue of Queen Victoria in Kensington Gardens, we'll explore some of the Christmas traditions introduced by Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert, and still practiced today. Friday 13th December (12noon – 1:30pm, £4-£8)

03 - Queen Victoria Statue

4. Walk the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk

Wrap up and wander through four of The Royal Parks, following the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk through St. James's Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. The seven-mile-long walk, charted by 90 plaques set in the ground, takes you within sight of famous buildings and locations associated with the Princess during her life. Download The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk route map

04 - Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk Plaque © Greg McErlean

5. Have a winter's day out in Greenwich Park

For a winter's day out, take the train to Blackheath, walk through Greenwich Park and visit the deer enclosure, stop at the newly refurbished Pavilion Tea House, open from Saturday 7th December for a cream tea, and take in the magnificent panoramic views of London skyline, before strolling down the hill to Greenwich Village.

05 - Deer Enclosure, Greenwich Park

6. Watch the Serpentine swimmers on Christmas morning

For lovers of the Christmas morning walk, Hyde Park is a great place to take an invigorating stroll and cheer on the participants in The Serpentine Swimming Club Christmas morning race, which has been held every year since 1864.  Author J M Barrie became associated with the 100 yard Christmas Day race in 1903 and donated the first Peter Pan Cup.  This is a race strictly for Serpentine Swimming Club members only (people cannot just turn up on the day and swim) but spectators are welcome.  The race starts at 9am sharp at The Serpentine Lido 

06 - Christmas Day swim © Serpentine Swimming Club

7. Walk off the turkey on Boxing Day with a guided tour of Richmond Park

Meet the Friends of Richmond Park at Roehampton Gate car park at 10am for a free guided walk (approx 2 hours.) Everyone is welcome. Guided walks will also be held on 7 December and 4 January.  

07 - Deer in Richmond Park

8. Visit Kensington Gardens and take a close up tour of the Albert Memorial

Treat yourself to a hot chocolate from The Broadwalk Cafe in Kensington Gardens and stroll past the Palace over to the Albert Memorial, one of London's most ornate monuments. Guided tours take place on the first Sunday of every month, offering exclusive access inside the memorial railings, so you can appreciate up close the craftsmanship and marble carvings.

08 - Albert Memorial

9. Take a horse drawn carriage ride in Richmond Park

Enjoy a Christmas experience to remember in Richmond Park in December with a timeless winter carriage ride, drawn by elegant grey horses, enjoy warm refreshments and a unique behind-the-scenes visit to the stables.  All the while raising money for a very worthwhile cause: Equine Assisted Learning courses to help local children living with learning difficulties and autism, at The Holly Lodge Centre.  Tickets cost £50 per person or you can book an elegant landau carriage for up to 5 people for £195.  Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays in December at 12.30pm and 2pm.  Book early to avoid disappointment: hlcevents@thehollylodgecentre.org.uk

10 - Winter Rides

10. Sign up for a New Year's Day run in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

For anyone who's over-indulged over Christmas, why not sign up for the Serpentine Running Club's New Year's Day run in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens? There is a 10k and a 3k run on offer and they are both open now for registrations.

09 - Serpentine Running Club © sussexsportphotography dot com 

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About the blog

Linda Lennon CBE, Chief Executive of The Royal Parks

I’m Linda Lennon, Chief Executive of The Royal Parks.

We manage the eight parks to protect, conserve and enhance their wonderful features for future generations.

To give an insight into how we do that, colleagues and I are writing a blog.

About The Royal Parks

The Royal Parks manages London's eight Royal Parks. They are: Hyde Park, Richmond Park, The Regent's Park and Primrose Hill, The Green Park, St James's Park, Bushy Park, Kensington Gardens and Greenwich Park.


Blog

11 Apr

10 things to do in the Royal Parks this Spring

written by Sharon Donovan

Spring has sprung, and to celebrate we have hand picked ten things for you do in the Royal Parks this season. From listening to jazz musicians in Greenwich Park,watching theatre in Regent's Park, to discovering different species of bats in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, there is something to cater to every taste. 

1

Row row row your boat

Hire a rowing boat or a pedalo and glide through the picturesque surroundings of Greenwich Park, Hyde Park or Regent's Park.

In Hyde Park jump on the sun powered 'Solarshuttle' which will take you from the boathouse to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.

Dates vary, check locally with parks.

Boating on the serpentine

2

Guided walk of Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park

This Spring, come along to one of the free guided walks of Isabella Plantation, as it bursts with colour from the exotic rhododendrons and azaleas in bloom. Dates of walks are listed on our events calendar.

Every Wednesday from 23 April catch a free return minibus service to the Plantation. Stopping at all gates in Richmond Park the service will give the public, especially those without cars, a greater opportunity to visit this 40 acre woodland garden. Minibus service will operate every Wednesday, from 10:30 am - 3:30 pm in forty minute intervals, 23 April through to 26 August.

Isabella Plantation

3

Enjoy an evening of live jazz in Greenwich Park

Following a refurbishment, the popular Pavilion Cafe will reopen on the afternoon of 13 April.

Located a stone's throw from the Royal Observatory, the cafe will be hosting an evening of jazz with musicians from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, every Friday from May 9 until the end of August. Kids welcome.

Drinks at the Pavilion Cafe

4

Watch theatre in Regent's Park

Grab a glass of Pimms from the bar and take your seat in the award winning Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.

Opening on 15 May, Arthur Miller classic 'All My Sons' will be the first production of the season.

Open Air Theatre during the day

5

Play cricket in Greenwich Park

From the 1 May until 30 September play cricket in the Grade 1 listed Greenwich Park, which offers unparalleled views across the River Thames to St Pauls Cathedral and beyond.

Included in the price is use of the changing facilities in the Pavilion.

To enquire or book the pitch contact Christine Sheffield on 0300 061 2380.

Cricket

6

Become a bat detective

On 16 May, a bat expert will lead you through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park as you discover several different bat species - including common pipistrelles, soprano pipistrelles, and noctules.

Learn how they hunt and separate bat facts from bat fiction. Bat detectors are used so that bat echo-location calls are audible to the human ear.

Children over eight, accompanied by an adult, are welcome 8.30pm-10pm. Entry £5. Book in advance.

Common Pipistrelle

7

Spend the day at Richmond Park Golf Course

Following a multi million pound refurbishment by Glendale Golf, play in the glorious surroundings of Richmond Park from 1 June. A new eco-friendly clubhouse will offer refreshment opportunities in the form of a coffee shop, bar and restaurant. Membership not required.

Richmond Park Golf Course

8

Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens

Inspired by J.M. Barrie's stories of Peter Pan the commemorative Diana Memorial Playground, will fire up the imagination of any child as they navigate their way through a wooden pirate ship moored on a beach, share stories in real tepees, and explore the sensory trail. Time left? Seek out the bronze statue of Peter Pan on the stump of a tree blowing his pipe.

Pirate Ship in the Diana Memorial Playground

9

Experience Trooping the Colour on June 14

Once a year, to mark the Sovereign's official birthday, a military parade and march-past takes place in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen on Horse Guards Parade Ground in St James's Park from 10am.

On the same day at 12.52pm, spectators can watch the magnificent 41-Gun Royal Salute in The Green Park followed by a flypast over Buckingham Palace at 1pm.

Trooping the Colour

10

Enjoy a bike ride through Richmond Park

Soak up the sunshine and increase your fitness by hiring a bike from Parkcycle in Richmond Park.

Located at the Roehampton Car Park, both adult and children's bikes are available for hire by the hour.

Plan your cycle route in Richmond Park.

Parkcycle cycling in Richmond Park

28 Feb

Inspired by the Six Nations – head on over to Regent's Park and get training..

written by Phil Kemp, Sports Development Officer at The Hub

If you've been inspired by this year's Six Nations and fancy brushing up on your rugby skills or if you want to improve your fitness and fancy a kick around with friends then head over to The Hub in Regent's Park where you will find London's largest award winning outdoor sports facility.

Available throughout the year, The Hub offers a range of fantastic rugby pitches which are used by adult clubs, schools and universities.

For six to 14-years-olds The Regent's Park Royals Rugby Club , which has been running since 2012, gives children from all backgrounds the opportunity to play and improve their skills through structured and enjoyable coaching sessions. The club is managed by development officials from Regent's Park and run by qualified coaches and experienced volunteers every Sunday morning. They also compete in festivals, tournaments and friendly matches throughout the winter.

In the summer months, we have four touch rugby pitches which are primarily used by leagues and local schools. In the winter we have two full size rugby pitches available from September to April.


Rugby Club

Further to the fantastic rugby pitches, The Hub has top quality changing rooms and a cafe which offers iconic views over Grade I listed parkland. With central London on our doorstep you can easily step away from the city and enjoy the large array of sporting and recreational activities on offer such as a game of cricket, softball or football. We have many organised sports on offer for the local community to enjoy, whether you are 8 or 80 years of age there is something for everyone.

The summer sports programme commences on 21st April and this is a fantastic way of either playing competitive sport or a social game amongst friends in a pretty spectacular location. For cricket, we offer four standard adult pitches, a minor counties premier pitch, junior pitch and four cricket practice net lanes. We also have 17 softball pitches dotted around Regent's Park and Primrose Hill, all of which are open to the public to book and enjoy.

It's also good to know that any income raised from the use of sports pitches at The Hub is reinvested and used to maintain and improve the area.

Find out more about booking pitches or the sports facilities on offer.

5 Feb

The Royal Parks top 5 things to do on Valentine's Day

written by Sharon Donovan

From cosy films to romantic walks, read our suggestions on how to celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14.

1

Watch a romantic movie in the heart of Hyde Park

Grab a glass of prosecco and snuggle up in the cosy, treehouse inspired - LookOut - to watch fairytale romance The Princess Bride (PG) or the Valentine's classic Breakfast at Tiffany's (PG). 

Before the film begins enjoy a raft of activities which include sketching silhouette portraits of your partner, toasting marshmallows, and putting your love to the test with a couples quiz. 

Purchase tickets here

The LookOut

2

Show your canine some love in Greenwich Park

Let the special dog in your life know you care by taking him for a lengthy walk in Greenwich Park followed by a treat of a heart-shaped cookie.

Baked with love, this dog cookie will be sold at Wolfe Statue Kiosk (located on the top of the hill at Greenwich Park) from Friday 14 February through to Sunday 17 February, alongside the usual human treats.

Valentine's Day for puppies

3

Walk hand in hand along Lover's Walk in Hyde Park

Take a romantic stroll along the tree lined pathway of Lover's Walk in Hyde Park.

Then at Serpentine Lake marvel at the most romantic of all the birds, the swan, who commit to their partner for life.

View the map of Hyde Park

Two swans in the shape of a heart

4

Emulate Bridget Jones and Darcy on top of Primrose Hill

In the opening credits of the sequel to Bridget Jones' Diary, Bridget (Renee Zwelleger) and Darcy (Colin Firth) become Captain Von Trapp and Maria as they re-enact a scene from  The Sound of Music on Primrose Hill.

Primrose Hill Summit

5

Treat your loved one to the hottest tickets in town!

Looking for the perfect Valentine's gift? Well look no further, McBusted plus special guests Backstreet Boys will be performing their hit songs on July 6 at this year's Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park – tickets available from www.bst-hydepark.com  

McBusted at Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park

31 Jan

Cleaning up after the storms

written by Ray Brodie, Park Manager of Kensington Gardens

St Jude took Britain by storm in October 2013 and Kensington Gardens Manager Ray Brodie was on hand to aid the clean-up operation in the Royal Parks.

"The storm in October led to around fifty tree fatalities of the 130,000-plus trees we have across all eight parks.

"Having started my garden apprenticeship for the Royal Parks in 1981, I was around for the storm of 1987 where winds reached over 100mph. The impact was devastating, killing over 4,500 trees and forcing us to close all eight of our parks for many weeks. St Jude by comparison only closed our parks for one morning.

Two herons in a nest

"The removal of windblown trees in '87 was a painstaking task as trees had blown into other trees, fallen against buildings, onto vehicles and across roads. When clearing up, safety is always paramount and it's important that all involved are aware of the issues windblown trees can cause.

"Most of the tree trunks removed from the parks were sent to factories for pulp and paper which raised the question why we didn't use the timber for other purposes. Quite simply, there is not a saw mill in the country that will touch a tree trunk from London. This is because many of our trees are embedded with shrapnel from the London bombings in WW2.

"Lime trees lining The Jubilee Walk in Kensington Gardens were particularly devastated by the impact of the 1987 storm. On a visit to London, upon witnessing the devastation caused, The Mayor of Berlin donated 100 lime trees. These 3-4 metre trees were flown in from Germany by the Royal Air Force to the former RAF station - Lyneham.

"Wildlife in our parks can also be disturbed by the storms. Grey herons in The Regent's Park are now rebuilding their homes after recent high winds savaged their nests. A recent count showed that there are currently only 11 heron nests compared to 29 recorded last year."

 

Heron on the ground Two herons in a nest

13 Dec

Mandela's special connection to the Royal Parks

written by Sharon Donovan

Following the news of Nelson Mandela passing on 5 December, we look back at his special connection with the Royal Parks.

Nelson Mandela first visited the Royal Parks on a bright summer's morning in July 1996. At 7.30am a crowd gathered to watch Nelson Mandela make the walk from Buckingham Palace to St James's Park, to plant a London Plane tree.

The tree was officially named 'The Mandela Tree' and Neville Labovitch, Chairman of the Prince of Wales' Royal Parks Tree Appeal at the time, said, "It's special in a world of pollution. It thrives, it's strong, and it's dependable. It will live for a very long time. It is a Mandela tree."

The Mandela Tree in St James's Park  The Mandela Tree Plaque

Addressing the crowd which included dancers and singers from the South African Music Village, Nelson Mandela called the tree 'symbolic' and added, "I wish I had the resources to come and water it every week."

Nelson Mandela in St James's Park

Nelson Mandela later visited another Royal Park - Hyde Park - in June 2008 to celebrate his 90th birthday at the 46664 concert. The gig was attended by 46,664 (his prison number) people including royalty, politicians and leading names in the sport, film and entertainment world. The concert proceeds went to the 46664 campaign to raise awareness about the impact of AIDS and promote effective HIV prevention measures throughout the world.

 

21 Nov

10 things to do this Christmas in London’s Royal Parks

written by David Brownlie-Marshall

Go ice skating with friends, choose your Christmas tree and cheer-on the intrepid Serpentine Swimmers on Christmas morning - here are 10 of the best things you can do in The Royal Parks this festive season:

1. Winter Wonderland Hyde Park

Returning from November 22, 2013 to January 5, 2014 for six exciting weeks of winter festivities with free admission and even more entertainment and over 100 rides and attractions.  The UK's largest outdoor Ice Rink will return, located around the picturesque Victorian Band Stand, from which live music will be played throughout the day and night.  For those who want to gaze at the action from above, the iconic Giant Observation Wheel will illuminate the skyline.  There will also be over 200 chalets in the beautiful Angels Christmas & Yuletide Markets and the ever-popular Bavarian Village will be ready to serve bratwurst and mulled wine. Admission to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is free, but booking in advance is strongly recommended as attractions sell out quickly.

01 - Winter Wonderland

2. Choose your own real Christmas tree

Nothing beats choosing your own real Christmas tree. For the fourth year running, Pines and Needles will be selling a fine selection of fresh cut, sustainably grown Highland Christmas trees within Bushy Park, Richmond Park and Greenwich Park.  Lights and decorations will also be available, so you can get everything you need to make your tree sparkle.  Open the weekend of 23 – 24 November, before opening every day from Friday 29 November – Sunday 22 December.  Money from the sales of Christmas trees goes towards supporting the work of The Royal Parks. 

03 - Christmas Tree

3. A Lunchtime Ramble in the Park: Christmas with Victoria and Albert

As the year's shortest day approaches, join The Royal Parks Foundation Education team for a Lunchtime Ramble in the Park: Christmas with Victoria and Albert to look at the seasonal folklore, traditions and feasts that have developed to sustain us through winter's darkest days.  Meeting at the Statue of Queen Victoria in Kensington Gardens, we'll explore some of the Christmas traditions introduced by Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert, and still practiced today. Friday 13th December (12noon – 1:30pm, £4-£8)

03 - Queen Victoria Statue

4. Walk the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk

Wrap up and wander through four of The Royal Parks, following the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk through St. James's Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. The seven-mile-long walk, charted by 90 plaques set in the ground, takes you within sight of famous buildings and locations associated with the Princess during her life. Download The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk route map

04 - Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk Plaque © Greg McErlean

5. Have a winter's day out in Greenwich Park

For a winter's day out, take the train to Blackheath, walk through Greenwich Park and visit the deer enclosure, stop at the newly refurbished Pavilion Tea House, open from Saturday 7th December for a cream tea, and take in the magnificent panoramic views of London skyline, before strolling down the hill to Greenwich Village.

05 - Deer Enclosure, Greenwich Park

6. Watch the Serpentine swimmers on Christmas morning

For lovers of the Christmas morning walk, Hyde Park is a great place to take an invigorating stroll and cheer on the participants in The Serpentine Swimming Club Christmas morning race, which has been held every year since 1864.  Author J M Barrie became associated with the 100 yard Christmas Day race in 1903 and donated the first Peter Pan Cup.  This is a race strictly for Serpentine Swimming Club members only (people cannot just turn up on the day and swim) but spectators are welcome.  The race starts at 9am sharp at The Serpentine Lido 

06 - Christmas Day swim © Serpentine Swimming Club

7. Walk off the turkey on Boxing Day with a guided tour of Richmond Park

Meet the Friends of Richmond Park at Roehampton Gate car park at 10am for a free guided walk (approx 2 hours.) Everyone is welcome. Guided walks will also be held on 7 December and 4 January.  

07 - Deer in Richmond Park

8. Visit Kensington Gardens and take a close up tour of the Albert Memorial

Treat yourself to a hot chocolate from The Broadwalk Cafe in Kensington Gardens and stroll past the Palace over to the Albert Memorial, one of London's most ornate monuments. Guided tours take place on the first Sunday of every month, offering exclusive access inside the memorial railings, so you can appreciate up close the craftsmanship and marble carvings.

08 - Albert Memorial

9. Take a horse drawn carriage ride in Richmond Park

Enjoy a Christmas experience to remember in Richmond Park in December with a timeless winter carriage ride, drawn by elegant grey horses, enjoy warm refreshments and a unique behind-the-scenes visit to the stables.  All the while raising money for a very worthwhile cause: Equine Assisted Learning courses to help local children living with learning difficulties and autism, at The Holly Lodge Centre.  Tickets cost £50 per person or you can book an elegant landau carriage for up to 5 people for £195.  Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays in December at 12.30pm and 2pm.  Book early to avoid disappointment: hlcevents@thehollylodgecentre.org.uk

10 - Winter Rides

10. Sign up for a New Year's Day run in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

For anyone who's over-indulged over Christmas, why not sign up for the Serpentine Running Club's New Year's Day run in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens? There is a 10k and a 3k run on offer and they are both open now for registrations.

09 - Serpentine Running Club © sussexsportphotography dot com 

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About the blog

Linda Lennon CBE, Chief Executive of The Royal Parks

I’m Linda Lennon, Chief Executive of The Royal Parks.

We manage the eight parks to protect, conserve and enhance their wonderful features for future generations.

To give an insight into how we do that, colleagues and I are writing a blog.

About The Royal Parks

The Royal Parks manages London's eight Royal Parks. They are: Hyde Park, Richmond Park, The Regent's Park and Primrose Hill, The Green Park, St James's Park, Bushy Park, Kensington Gardens and Greenwich Park.

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Things to see

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  • Barclaycard presents British Summer Time  Hyde Park

    Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park

    Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park, a 10-day summer extravaganza from Friday 4 July - Sunday 13 July 2014.

    More things to do...
  • 7 July Memorial

    7 July Memorial

    A permanent memorial to honour the victims of the 7 July 2005 London Bombings was unveiled in Hyde Park by Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.

    More things to do...
  • Diana Memorial Fountain

    Diana Memorial Fountain

    This unique Memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales was opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 6th July 2004 and was built with the best materials, talent and technology.

    More things to do...
  • Royal Gun Salutes

    Royal Gun Salutes

    Royal Gun Salutes mark special royal occasions. On these days salutes are fired from locations in London including Hyde Park and Green Park.

    More things to do...
  • Serpentine Lido

    Serpentine Lido

    Daily public swimming in The Serpentine from June - September. Serpentine Swimming Club swims every day, including the famous race on Christmas day.

    More things to do...
  • Boating in Hyde Park

    Boating in Hyde Park

    Rowing and pedal boats are available to hire on the Serpentine in Hyde Park. You can also take a ride on the UK's first Solarshuttle, powered only by the sun.

    More things to do...
  • The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk

    The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk

    The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk is a seven-mile-long walk, charted by 90 plaques set in the ground, that takes you within sight of famous buildings and locations associated with the Princess during her life.

    More things to do...

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11 Apr

10 things to do in the Royal Parks this Spring

written by Sharon Donovan

Spring has sprung, and to celebrate we have hand picked ten things for you do in the Royal Parks this season. From listening to jazz musicians in Greenwich Park,watching theatre in Regent's Park, to discovering different species of bats in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, there is something to cater to every taste. 

1

Row row row your boat

Hire a rowing boat or a pedalo and glide through the picturesque surroundings of Greenwich Park, Hyde Park or Regent's Park.

In Hyde Park jump on the sun powered 'Solarshuttle' which will take you from the boathouse to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.

Dates vary, check locally with parks.

Boating on the serpentine

2

Guided walk of Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park

This Spring, come along to one of the free guided walks of Isabella Plantation, as it bursts with colour from the exotic rhododendrons and azaleas in bloom. Dates of walks are listed on our events calendar.

Every Wednesday from 23 April catch a free return minibus service to the Plantation. Stopping at all gates in Richmond Park the service will give the public, especially those without cars, a greater opportunity to visit this 40 acre woodland garden. Minibus service will operate every Wednesday, from 10:30 am - 3:30 pm in forty minute intervals, 23 April through to 26 August.

Isabella Plantation

3

Enjoy an evening of live jazz in Greenwich Park

Following a refurbishment, the popular Pavilion Cafe will reopen on the afternoon of 13 April.

Located a stone's throw from the Royal Observatory, the cafe will be hosting an evening of jazz with musicians from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, every Friday from May 9 until the end of August. Kids welcome.

Drinks at the Pavilion Cafe

4

Watch theatre in Regent's Park

Grab a glass of Pimms from the bar and take your seat in the award winning Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.

Opening on 15 May, Arthur Miller classic 'All My Sons' will be the first production of the season.

Open Air Theatre during the day

5

Play cricket in Greenwich Park

From the 1 May until 30 September play cricket in the Grade 1 listed Greenwich Park, which offers unparalleled views across the River Thames to St Pauls Cathedral and beyond.

Included in the price is use of the changing facilities in the Pavilion.

To enquire or book the pitch contact Christine Sheffield on 0300 061 2380.

Cricket

6

Become a bat detective

On 16 May, a bat expert will lead you through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park as you discover several different bat species - including common pipistrelles, soprano pipistrelles, and noctules.

Learn how they hunt and separate bat facts from bat fiction. Bat detectors are used so that bat echo-location calls are audible to the human ear.

Children over eight, accompanied by an adult, are welcome 8.30pm-10pm. Entry £5. Book in advance.

Common Pipistrelle

7

Spend the day at Richmond Park Golf Course

Following a multi million pound refurbishment by Glendale Golf, play in the glorious surroundings of Richmond Park from 1 June. A new eco-friendly clubhouse will offer refreshment opportunities in the form of a coffee shop, bar and restaurant. Membership not required.

Richmond Park Golf Course

8

Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens

Inspired by J.M. Barrie's stories of Peter Pan the commemorative Diana Memorial Playground, will fire up the imagination of any child as they navigate their way through a wooden pirate ship moored on a beach, share stories in real tepees, and explore the sensory trail. Time left? Seek out the bronze statue of Peter Pan on the stump of a tree blowing his pipe.

Pirate Ship in the Diana Memorial Playground

9

Experience Trooping the Colour on June 14

Once a year, to mark the Sovereign's official birthday, a military parade and march-past takes place in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen on Horse Guards Parade Ground in St James's Park from 10am.

On the same day at 12.52pm, spectators can watch the magnificent 41-Gun Royal Salute in The Green Park followed by a flypast over Buckingham Palace at 1pm.

Trooping the Colour

10

Enjoy a bike ride through Richmond Park

Soak up the sunshine and increase your fitness by hiring a bike from Parkcycle in Richmond Park.

Located at the Roehampton Car Park, both adult and children's bikes are available for hire by the hour.

Plan your cycle route in Richmond Park.

Parkcycle cycling in Richmond Park

28 Feb

Inspired by the Six Nations – head on over to Regent's Park and get training..

written by Phil Kemp, Sports Development Officer at The Hub

If you've been inspired by this year's Six Nations and fancy brushing up on your rugby skills or if you want to improve your fitness and fancy a kick around with friends then head over to The Hub in Regent's Park where you will find London's largest award winning outdoor sports facility.

Available throughout the year, The Hub offers a range of fantastic rugby pitches which are used by adult clubs, schools and universities.

For six to 14-years-olds The Regent's Park Royals Rugby Club , which has been running since 2012, gives children from all backgrounds the opportunity to play and improve their skills through structured and enjoyable coaching sessions. The club is managed by development officials from Regent's Park and run by qualified coaches and experienced volunteers every Sunday morning. They also compete in festivals, tournaments and friendly matches throughout the winter.

In the summer months, we have four touch rugby pitches which are primarily used by leagues and local schools. In the winter we have two full size rugby pitches available from September to April.


Rugby Club

Further to the fantastic rugby pitches, The Hub has top quality changing rooms and a cafe which offers iconic views over Grade I listed parkland. With central London on our doorstep you can easily step away from the city and enjoy the large array of sporting and recreational activities on offer such as a game of cricket, softball or football. We have many organised sports on offer for the local community to enjoy, whether you are 8 or 80 years of age there is something for everyone.

The summer sports programme commences on 21st April and this is a fantastic way of either playing competitive sport or a social game amongst friends in a pretty spectacular location. For cricket, we offer four standard adult pitches, a minor counties premier pitch, junior pitch and four cricket practice net lanes. We also have 17 softball pitches dotted around Regent's Park and Primrose Hill, all of which are open to the public to book and enjoy.

It's also good to know that any income raised from the use of sports pitches at The Hub is reinvested and used to maintain and improve the area.

Find out more about booking pitches or the sports facilities on offer.

5 Feb

The Royal Parks top 5 things to do on Valentine's Day

written by Sharon Donovan

From cosy films to romantic walks, read our suggestions on how to celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14.

1

Watch a romantic movie in the heart of Hyde Park

Grab a glass of prosecco and snuggle up in the cosy, treehouse inspired - LookOut - to watch fairytale romance The Princess Bride (PG) or the Valentine's classic Breakfast at Tiffany's (PG). 

Before the film begins enjoy a raft of activities which include sketching silhouette portraits of your partner, toasting marshmallows, and putting your love to the test with a couples quiz. 

Purchase tickets here

The LookOut

2

Show your canine some love in Greenwich Park

Let the special dog in your life know you care by taking him for a lengthy walk in Greenwich Park followed by a treat of a heart-shaped cookie.

Baked with love, this dog cookie will be sold at Wolfe Statue Kiosk (located on the top of the hill at Greenwich Park) from Friday 14 February through to Sunday 17 February, alongside the usual human treats.

Valentine's Day for puppies

3

Walk hand in hand along Lover's Walk in Hyde Park

Take a romantic stroll along the tree lined pathway of Lover's Walk in Hyde Park.

Then at Serpentine Lake marvel at the most romantic of all the birds, the swan, who commit to their partner for life.

View the map of Hyde Park

Two swans in the shape of a heart

4

Emulate Bridget Jones and Darcy on top of Primrose Hill

In the opening credits of the sequel to Bridget Jones' Diary, Bridget (Renee Zwelleger) and Darcy (Colin Firth) become Captain Von Trapp and Maria as they re-enact a scene from  The Sound of Music on Primrose Hill.

Primrose Hill Summit

5

Treat your loved one to the hottest tickets in town!

Looking for the perfect Valentine's gift? Well look no further, McBusted plus special guests Backstreet Boys will be performing their hit songs on July 6 at this year's Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park – tickets available from www.bst-hydepark.com  

McBusted at Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park

31 Jan

Cleaning up after the storms

written by Ray Brodie, Park Manager of Kensington Gardens

St Jude took Britain by storm in October 2013 and Kensington Gardens Manager Ray Brodie was on hand to aid the clean-up operation in the Royal Parks.

"The storm in October led to around fifty tree fatalities of the 130,000-plus trees we have across all eight parks.

"Having started my garden apprenticeship for the Royal Parks in 1981, I was around for the storm of 1987 where winds reached over 100mph. The impact was devastating, killing over 4,500 trees and forcing us to close all eight of our parks for many weeks. St Jude by comparison only closed our parks for one morning.

Two herons in a nest

"The removal of windblown trees in '87 was a painstaking task as trees had blown into other trees, fallen against buildings, onto vehicles and across roads. When clearing up, safety is always paramount and it's important that all involved are aware of the issues windblown trees can cause.

"Most of the tree trunks removed from the parks were sent to factories for pulp and paper which raised the question why we didn't use the timber for other purposes. Quite simply, there is not a saw mill in the country that will touch a tree trunk from London. This is because many of our trees are embedded with shrapnel from the London bombings in WW2.

"Lime trees lining The Jubilee Walk in Kensington Gardens were particularly devastated by the impact of the 1987 storm. On a visit to London, upon witnessing the devastation caused, The Mayor of Berlin donated 100 lime trees. These 3-4 metre trees were flown in from Germany by the Royal Air Force to the former RAF station - Lyneham.

"Wildlife in our parks can also be disturbed by the storms. Grey herons in The Regent's Park are now rebuilding their homes after recent high winds savaged their nests. A recent count showed that there are currently only 11 heron nests compared to 29 recorded last year."

 

Heron on the ground Two herons in a nest

13 Dec

Mandela's special connection to the Royal Parks

written by Sharon Donovan

Following the news of Nelson Mandela passing on 5 December, we look back at his special connection with the Royal Parks.

Nelson Mandela first visited the Royal Parks on a bright summer's morning in July 1996. At 7.30am a crowd gathered to watch Nelson Mandela make the walk from Buckingham Palace to St James's Park, to plant a London Plane tree.

The tree was officially named 'The Mandela Tree' and Neville Labovitch, Chairman of the Prince of Wales' Royal Parks Tree Appeal at the time, said, "It's special in a world of pollution. It thrives, it's strong, and it's dependable. It will live for a very long time. It is a Mandela tree."

The Mandela Tree in St James's Park  The Mandela Tree Plaque

Addressing the crowd which included dancers and singers from the South African Music Village, Nelson Mandela called the tree 'symbolic' and added, "I wish I had the resources to come and water it every week."

Nelson Mandela in St James's Park

Nelson Mandela later visited another Royal Park - Hyde Park - in June 2008 to celebrate his 90th birthday at the 46664 concert. The gig was attended by 46,664 (his prison number) people including royalty, politicians and leading names in the sport, film and entertainment world. The concert proceeds went to the 46664 campaign to raise awareness about the impact of AIDS and promote effective HIV prevention measures throughout the world.

 

21 Nov

10 things to do this Christmas in London’s Royal Parks

written by David Brownlie-Marshall

Go ice skating with friends, choose your Christmas tree and cheer-on the intrepid Serpentine Swimmers on Christmas morning - here are 10 of the best things you can do in The Royal Parks this festive season:

1. Winter Wonderland Hyde Park

Returning from November 22, 2013 to January 5, 2014 for six exciting weeks of winter festivities with free admission and even more entertainment and over 100 rides and attractions.  The UK's largest outdoor Ice Rink will return, located around the picturesque Victorian Band Stand, from which live music will be played throughout the day and night.  For those who want to gaze at the action from above, the iconic Giant Observation Wheel will illuminate the skyline.  There will also be over 200 chalets in the beautiful Angels Christmas & Yuletide Markets and the ever-popular Bavarian Village will be ready to serve bratwurst and mulled wine. Admission to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is free, but booking in advance is strongly recommended as attractions sell out quickly.

01 - Winter Wonderland

2. Choose your own real Christmas tree

Nothing beats choosing your own real Christmas tree. For the fourth year running, Pines and Needles will be selling a fine selection of fresh cut, sustainably grown Highland Christmas trees within Bushy Park, Richmond Park and Greenwich Park.  Lights and decorations will also be available, so you can get everything you need to make your tree sparkle.  Open the weekend of 23 – 24 November, before opening every day from Friday 29 November – Sunday 22 December.  Money from the sales of Christmas trees goes towards supporting the work of The Royal Parks. 

03 - Christmas Tree

3. A Lunchtime Ramble in the Park: Christmas with Victoria and Albert

As the year's shortest day approaches, join The Royal Parks Foundation Education team for a Lunchtime Ramble in the Park: Christmas with Victoria and Albert to look at the seasonal folklore, traditions and feasts that have developed to sustain us through winter's darkest days.  Meeting at the Statue of Queen Victoria in Kensington Gardens, we'll explore some of the Christmas traditions introduced by Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert, and still practiced today. Friday 13th December (12noon – 1:30pm, £4-£8)

03 - Queen Victoria Statue

4. Walk the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk

Wrap up and wander through four of The Royal Parks, following the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk through St. James's Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. The seven-mile-long walk, charted by 90 plaques set in the ground, takes you within sight of famous buildings and locations associated with the Princess during her life. Download The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk route map

04 - Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk Plaque © Greg McErlean

5. Have a winter's day out in Greenwich Park

For a winter's day out, take the train to Blackheath, walk through Greenwich Park and visit the deer enclosure, stop at the newly refurbished Pavilion Tea House, open from Saturday 7th December for a cream tea, and take in the magnificent panoramic views of London skyline, before strolling down the hill to Greenwich Village.

05 - Deer Enclosure, Greenwich Park

6. Watch the Serpentine swimmers on Christmas morning

For lovers of the Christmas morning walk, Hyde Park is a great place to take an invigorating stroll and cheer on the participants in The Serpentine Swimming Club Christmas morning race, which has been held every year since 1864.  Author J M Barrie became associated with the 100 yard Christmas Day race in 1903 and donated the first Peter Pan Cup.  This is a race strictly for Serpentine Swimming Club members only (people cannot just turn up on the day and swim) but spectators are welcome.  The race starts at 9am sharp at The Serpentine Lido 

06 - Christmas Day swim © Serpentine Swimming Club

7. Walk off the turkey on Boxing Day with a guided tour of Richmond Park

Meet the Friends of Richmond Park at Roehampton Gate car park at 10am for a free guided walk (approx 2 hours.) Everyone is welcome. Guided walks will also be held on 7 December and 4 January.  

07 - Deer in Richmond Park

8. Visit Kensington Gardens and take a close up tour of the Albert Memorial

Treat yourself to a hot chocolate from The Broadwalk Cafe in Kensington Gardens and stroll past the Palace over to the Albert Memorial, one of London's most ornate monuments. Guided tours take place on the first Sunday of every month, offering exclusive access inside the memorial railings, so you can appreciate up close the craftsmanship and marble carvings.

08 - Albert Memorial

9. Take a horse drawn carriage ride in Richmond Park

Enjoy a Christmas experience to remember in Richmond Park in December with a timeless winter carriage ride, drawn by elegant grey horses, enjoy warm refreshments and a unique behind-the-scenes visit to the stables.  All the while raising money for a very worthwhile cause: Equine Assisted Learning courses to help local children living with learning difficulties and autism, at The Holly Lodge Centre.  Tickets cost £50 per person or you can book an elegant landau carriage for up to 5 people for £195.  Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays in December at 12.30pm and 2pm.  Book early to avoid disappointment: hlcevents@thehollylodgecentre.org.uk

10 - Winter Rides

10. Sign up for a New Year's Day run in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

For anyone who's over-indulged over Christmas, why not sign up for the Serpentine Running Club's New Year's Day run in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens? There is a 10k and a 3k run on offer and they are both open now for registrations.

09 - Serpentine Running Club © sussexsportphotography dot com 

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About the blog

Linda Lennon CBE, Chief Executive of The Royal Parks

I’m Linda Lennon, Chief Executive of The Royal Parks.

We manage the eight parks to protect, conserve and enhance their wonderful features for future generations.

To give an insight into how we do that, colleagues and I are writing a blog.

About The Royal Parks

The Royal Parks manages London's eight Royal Parks. They are: Hyde Park, Richmond Park, The Regent's Park and Primrose Hill, The Green Park, St James's Park, Bushy Park, Kensington Gardens and Greenwich Park.