Welcome to Greenwich Park
This charming landscape has watched over the ever-changing city of London for hundreds of years.
Greenwich Park has welcomed generations of visitors – from ancient Romans and Anglo-Saxons to Tudor monarchs and Victorian sailors. All of them have prized its dramatic scenery and famous views over the capital. Come on in and find out why…
Discover the park’s most popular spot, at the top of its highest hill. From here, admire sweeping views over London’s skyline. How many landmarks you can spot? Spectacular views can also be enjoyed away from the crowds, at the summit of peaceful One Tree Hill. You’ll see why it’s long been a magnet for artists and writers.
Sitting in the middle of the park is the world-famous Royal Observatory, where the Greenwich Prime Meridian begins. This is the line that divides the world into Eastern and Western hemispheres – in the park, you can hop from one side of the world to the other, then buy a ticket to discover more inside the Observatory itself.
As you enjoy the shade of historic tree avenues, you might come across traces of earlier visitors to the park – from the remains of a Roman Temple in the south, to the distinctive mounds of the Anglo-Saxon cemetery to the east. Don’t forget to saunter around the picturesque Flower Garden while you’re here – its stately trees and bright beds of flowers are a sensory delight.
Frequently asked questions
Please find some of Greenwich Park’s most frequently asked questions below. If you can’t find the information you need then you can get in touch by using our contact form.
The pedestrian gates open from 6am each day with the vehicle gates opening an hour later from 7am for car parking. Both close at dusk each day, which varies throughout the year. This week's opening hours, and any public notices relating to temporary closures (due to park events or maintenance, for example) can be found on the Greenwich Park web page.
Greenwich Park is well served by a range of different public transport services:
The closest mainline stations are Maze Hill and Greenwich. Both stations are served by services from Thameslink and Southeastern. In addition, the Docklands Light Railway also stops at Greenwich and nearby Cutty Sark stations.
There is no underground station within easy reach of the park, so we would recommend using the mainline rail services shown above.
Cycling to Greenwich Park has never been easier. There are a wealth of marked cycleways passing through and around the park. Full details can be found on the TfL website.
Greenwich Park is approximately 74 hectares (182 acres) in size - the equivalent of six O2 arenas! The park's perimeter is approximately 2 miles long. You can view or download the park map here.
There has been a settlement on this site since Roman times, but Greenwich has always been strongly associated with royalty. Since the land was inherited in 1427 by the Duke of Gloucester, brother of Henry V, generations of monarchs have taken this magnificent park to their hearts. Greenwich was the birthplace of Henry VIII who introduced deer to the park. In the early 1600s, the park was laid out in the French style with many trees planted, some of which remain today. Under the reign of Charles II Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to build The Royal Observatory, named Flamsteed House after the first Royal Astronomer John Flamsteed.
More information on the park's history can be found here.
Greenwich Park has an extensive main car park located along either side of Blackheath Avenue at the southern end of the park. It is accessible from Charlton Way as shown on our park map. Vehicle parking is available from 7:00am to park closing times, as shown on the park web page.
There are several disabled parking spaces along Blackheath Avenue. In addition, there is a small disabled-only car park located further north, at the junction with Great Cross Avenue - next to the Pavillion Café. Parking is free of charge for Blue Badge holders, but is subject to a 4-hour time limit.
Car parking in Greenwich Park is chargeable from 9am to 6pm, every day of the week - including Bank Holidays.
The parking machines in our car parks accept both cash and cashless payments.
Monday to Saturday: 35p per 15 mins / £1.40 per hour / £5.60 for the maximum stay of 4 hours.
Sunday (and Bank Holidays): 50p per 15 mins / £2.00 per hour.
Motorcycles can be parked for free, up to the maximum stay of 4 hours.
Yes, cycling is permitted within Greenwich Park, but only where stated (e.g. The Avenue, Blackheath Avenue, Great Cross Avenue etc.). Smaller paths across the park where cycling is not allowed have clear 'no cycling' signage at ground level. Please be considerate and give space to other park users and the park's wildlife. Pedestrians have priority at all times.
You can check permitted cycleways on OpenStreetMap.
There is a 20p charge to use the public toilets in the parks. We have recently installed a contactless system which accepts credit/debit cards, prepaid cards and mobile wallet payments like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Cash is no longer accepted.
Greenwich Park is perfect for a wide range of sports activities including running, roller-skating, personal fitness, cricket or football. At Park Sports Greenwich Park you can practice your serves and volleys on the tennis courts. Or if you'd prefer to take to the water, boating is also available in the park.
Discover more here.
Generally, dogs do not need to be kept on a lead in Greenwich Park. However there are several exceptions to this, such as The Flower Garden, The Wilderness deer park and the Royal Observatory garden. Other areas where dogs are not allowed are listed in our Dogs in The Royal Parks policy document.
Commercial dog walkers
Please note, that if you want to use the Royal Parks for commercial dog walking purposes, you must have a Commercial Dog Walking Licence issued by The Royal Parks charity.
No. Feeding birds and animals in the parks does more harm than good. You can learn more about why this is, and how you can help us in caring for their wellbeing here.
Getting in touch with park offices is quick and easy and all enquiries are handled by our dedicated Visitor & Park Support team.
Simply complete the short online enquiry form and your question(s) will be passed to the most appropriate staff member. To ensure an efficient service, please check that you have provided the following information:
- Your name
- Your email address
- Your enquiry
You can also contact the park offices by telephone using the following numbers:
- Hyde Park 0300 061 2000
- Kensington Gardens 0300 061 2000
- St. James's Park and The Green Park 0300 061 2350
- The Regent's Park 0300 061 2300
- Greenwich Park 0300 061 2380
- Richmond Park 0300 061 2200
- Bushy Park 0300 061 2250
To report lost property, please contact our Visitor and Park Support Team via their online contact form with the following information:
- Your contact details
- A description of the item
- Date and time when the item was lost
- Location (if known) where the item was lost
If the property has been found by staff or handed in to us we'll let you know.
Yes. You can use Greenwich Park as a location for personal training or group fitness sessions - providing you have a current fitness training licence issued by The Royal Parks charity.
Fitness training licences are also available for Hyde Park, The Regent's Park, The Green Park, Richmond Park and Bushy Park. They are not available for St. James's Park, Kensington Gardens, Victoria Tower Gardens or Brompton Cemetery.
To apply for a fitness training licence please read the information here and complete the online application form.
If you are filming/photographing by yourself on a mobile phone or action camera for purely personal use then no you don't need a permit to film/photograph in the park. However, for all other purposes you will need to obtain a filming or photography permit from The Royal Parks charity. Full information and online application forms can be found here.
Yes, we welcome informal picnics in the Royal Parks. Please read our guidance document for maximum group sizes and what is and isn't permitted. Please note that barbecues are not allowed.
Every year, we welcome hundreds of small and medium events to the Royal Parks, including walks and runs, large picnics, concerts and community sports. Applications for such events are considered by our dedicated Parks Events team. To find out more, and submit an application click here. At least six weeks’ notice is required.
We welcome the use of our park bandstands for small public events such as music festivals, dance or group fitness workshops or theatrical performances. Applications for such events are considered by our dedicated Parks Events team. To find out more, and submit an application click here. At least six weeks’ notice is required.
For the safety of visitors and protection of park wildlife, public swimming is not allowed in any of the lakes and ponds of the Royal Parks. The only exception is the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park which is manned by lifeguards and open during summer months.
It won’t be possible to buy a Christmas tree in Greenwich Park this year because we have decided to pause sales in the park for this season. This decision is part of an ongoing evaluation of our retail offerings and may be revisited in the future.
We are delivering the final phase of this four-year project, which began in 2021, with an investment of £12 million into Greenwich Park in order to reveal, restore, protect, and share its unique heritage – now, and for future generations.
Restoring Greenwich Park's disappearing 17th century landscape
Reviving a unique landscape fit for a king
In the 16th century, Greenwich Park was the hunting ground of Henry VIII, but in the late 17th century, Charles II transformed this wild terrain into a formal Baroque landscape, designed by André Le Nôtre - the renowned landscape architect behind the gardens at the Palace of Versailles.
The landscape comprises the Grand Ascent (giant grass steps), and a formal banked layout (parterres) lined with sweeping tree avenues. It provides a symmetrical formal layout linking the Thames to Blackheath Gate and beyond.
However, over time, the original sharp landscape features have eroded and slumped, accelerated by footfall from 5 million annual visitors.
The avenues were originally planted with elm trees that were wiped out by Dutch elm disease. They were re-planted with Turkey oak trees in the 1970s, but these are a poor-quality species and today the trees are severely squirrel damaged and in decline. The Turkey oak trees in the park are often infected by Oak Processionary Moth and Knopper Gall wasp (a pest of our native oak tree). Several avenue trees have already died, leaving gaps.
Embarking on the final phase of restoration
The final phase of Greenwich Park Revealed this winter will restore and protect this historic landscape as well as delivering exciting community facilities across the wider park:
• We will reintroduce features of the park’s historic 17th-century layout which has been eroded. Cutting-edge landscape design will redefine terraced steps and formal banking.
• We will restore the declining and damaged tree avenues in front of the Queen’s House. We will plant new, semi-mature, native flowering lime trees, and elm trees providing habitats for wildlife including the protected white letter hairstreak butterfly.
• We will transform the public space around the General Wolfe Statue, creating an improved viewing platform, new catering kiosk, and space for seating and cultural events.
• We will transform part of a contractors’ yard by Vanbrugh Yard to open up new parkland to visitors, with community facilities, including a new café and accessible toilets.
• We will create a new learning space in The Wilderness to inspire outdoor learning for schools and community groups.
Explore our plans this winter:
Please excuse the park’s appearance during the final phase of works being delivered to restore and future-proof the park.
There will be some temporary path closures, which will be signposted with alternative routes in place, but we will do our best to keep any disturbances to a minimum.
We look forward to welcoming everyone to enjoy these spaces when works are complete in spring 2024.
To learn about specific elements of Greenwich Park Revealed, please click on the images below.
The Royal Park’s park restoration project, Greenwich Park Revealed, will restore the park’s historic landscape and bring its unique history to life.
Take a closer look at the project's key locations and explore the timeline of what's happening when.
There are more than 3,000 trees in Greenwich Park including ancient chestnuts, veteran oaks, majestic planes and evergreen cedars.
Greenwich Park Revealed has the local community at its heart. The project offers opportunities for people to engage with, enjoy and learn about the park.
Greenwich Park Revealed, the Royal Parks’ four year park restoration project, aims to boost biodiversity in the park and restore habitats for wildlife.
Our team will deliver the £8 million project to restore the parks’ historic landscape, protect the natural environment, and reveal the park’s history.
Things to see and do in Greenwich Park
Stand at the centre of world time. Sit in the shade of a sweet chestnut tree from 1660. Stroll the length of London’s longest herbaceous border.
There’s no rush. Take time to discover Greenwich Park.
The park where time was reinvented
Greenwich Park has a record-making history. It’s the place where east meets west at Longitude 0° on the Meridian Line, part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. It’s the site of the city’s longest herbaceous border, and over 3,000 trees, including the Queen Elizabeth Oak, dated to 1290. It’s under this oak that Henry VIII is said to have romanced Anne Boleyn.
Celebrating the spirit of discovery, adventure and invention
Most visitors know of The Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park. It’s the place where Greenwich Mean Time was born – where you can stand with one foot in the eastern hemisphere and one in the west. And if you’re here at 1pm, you can set your watch or phone the way Londoners have done since 1833 – by the dropping of the bright red Time Ball. This historical timekeeping tradition hasn’t missed a day.
Greenwich Park is also intimately connected to the sea and Britain’s naval history. The park makes a great base to explore the other attractions of Greenwich, including the Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark, St Alphege Church and the Old Royal Naval College with its amazing riverside architecture.
Beside The Royal Observatory is the famous statue of General Woolfe. You can’t quite see the sea from here, but you can see across the whole of the London skyline. It’s a commanding view of the capital.
In the garden of The Maritime Museum is another must-see for art lovers. The Queen’s House is a hidden gem, with a rare collection of Royal portraits, Hogarths, Gainsboroughs and other Turners, as well as cutting edge contemporary works.
A heaven for garden lovers
England is known for its apples, but The Queen’s Orchard reminds us that you can grow peaches, apricots, and nectarines here, as well as traditional English fruits such as quinces and plums. And if you just want a quiet moment to yourself to sit in the sunshine – seek out The Herb Garden, another of Greenwich’s hidden gems.
Take time out from sightseeing – escape into nature
Greenwich Park covers 183 acres. It’s a mosaic of wildlife habitats, some quite rare, and it’s home to an extraordinary variety of wildlife and a small herd of wild deer. The park is known for the number of ancient or ‘veteran’ trees, some of which are over 400 years old and one, the Queen Elizabeth Oak, dates back 750 years. For a real escape into the wilder areas of the park, head to Croom’s Hill or One Tree Hill. In summer, the meadows and grasslands are alive with bees, butterflies and crickets.
Let the children run wild in nature’s playground for a while. In a park that’s world-renowned for timekeeping, you’ll easily lose track of time.
The Greenwich Park Playground - a modern, natural play area
Nearly half a million children make new friends and play together here every year – so we’ve made Greenwich Park Playground even more accessible to everyone. We’ve put the different activities and equipment at ground level or in raised channels, for children who need a little more help to get around. The new playground has a maritime theme (always good for a pirate mini adventure) and it has been designed to encourage free, imaginative play and discovery.
The gardens of Greenwich Park
Linger among classic English roses in full bloom. Look for inspirational ideas for your own garden. Or just lie in our meadows, watching the clouds drift by.
Escape to the gardens of Greenwich Park.
The Flower Garden, the Rose Garden and a record-breaking herbaceous border
Greenwich Park is paradise for garden lovers, with a magnificent landscape of trees, wildernesses and formal gardens created by some of the leading garden designers of the past three centuries.
The Flower Garden is an Edwardian showpiece with fine lawns and island beds framed by cedar and tulip trees, and the Rose Garden is the ‘destination garden’ for many locals. Greenwich Park has some of the best panoramic views of the London skyline, but in spring and summer, the Flower Garden steals the show.
Our horticultural team creates two dazzling seasonal displays, using over 60,000 plants, in these gardens. Visit us in spring and you’ll be rewarded in the Flower Garden with drifts of daffodils and the heady scent of hyacinths. And come back in summer, when the Rose Garden is in full bloom, and the Flower Garden a tropical paradise with red bananas and giant tree ferns.
At 400m long, the famous herbaceous border is hard to miss – it’s the longest in London. Combining shapely yew hedges with wave upon wave of herbaceous planting, the border was recently redesigned by award winning garden designer Chris Beardshaw. We leave it late to cut and clear the border so that wildlife can make the most of early flowering bulbs and those late autumn seed heads.
Summer is also a great time to visit the Queen’s Orchard; a historic reminder of the amazing peaches, plums, quinces and apricots you’d find in the historic fruit gardens of Britain’s stately homes and manor houses. Visit the orchard on harvest open day, meet the volunteers who run it and discover how to get the most out of growing your own fruit, even in a small space.
And if you just want a quiet moment to yourself to sit in the sunshine – seek out the Herb Garden, close your eyes, and listen to the hum of summer.
Can I bring my dog?
Dogs are welcome in Greenwich Park, apart from in the Flower Garden, the Wilderness Deer Park and the Royal Observatory Garden. You’ll need to keep your dog on a lead in the Rose Garden.
The 200m long herbaceous border in Greenwich Park is London's largest herbaceous border.
The Queen's Orchard is an enclosed area of 0.3 hectares where fruit and vegetables are grown. Located in the north-eastern corner of Greenwich Park.
Laid out in the 1890’s The Flower Garden is one of the horticultural show pieces of Greenwich Park.
The formal Herb Garden contains a wide variety of culinary herbs and is located close to the St Mary's gate entrance to the park.
Sport and leisure in Greenwich Park
Book a tennis court or a whole cricket pitch, take a boat out, explore the Maritime Museum, head for the swings and roundabouts or play frisbee with the dog.
Make the most of every minute in Greenwich Park.
Keeping fit for free, in the fresh air
Whether you’re planning a game of tennis at the weekend or looking to book a cricket pitch for a work event, Greenwich Park has some of the best open air sports facilities in southeast London. As the highest Royal Park in London, it’s a perfect spot to enjoy your favourite sport or activity, surrounded by panoramic views and historic parkland. And there’s plenty of wide open space for a game of frisbee or football, or just to take a picnic, and watch the wildlife in The Wilderness.
We welcome joggers and cyclists, but if you’re on two wheels please keep to the designated paths.
Playing tennis in Greenwich Park
Tennis is a great way to unwind, de-stress and keep fit!
With six hard courts, a full coaching programme and summer camps, Greenwich Park has great, year-round tennis facilities, whatever your level. The courts are managed by our partners, Park Sports, who also offer coaching and private lessons. If you’re a keen player, you can also join one of the LTA local leagues here and make new friends as you improve your game.
It’s a Pay and Play system, so you can either book in advance, or make a spur of the moment decision on a sunny day.
Ready to play? Make a booking with Park Sports here.
Playing cricket at Greenwich Park
Cricket on a summer’s afternoon – an iconic sight in an iconic setting. Through the summer, we mark out the Ranger’s Field close to the Blackheath Gate entrance as a cricket pitch. It’s fully maintained to a high standard, with one square, and there’s even a cricket pavilion with changing facilities and showers, and a small kitchen.
Are you up to bat? Get in touch here.
Boating in Greenwich Park
From April onwards, the brightly coloured boats for hire on the Boating Pond are a main attraction for visitors, especially families. Open April to October on weekends, Bank holidays and School holidays. Sessions are 20 minutes in length and there’s no need to pre-book. Turn up – and cast off!
Basket swings, slides and roundabouts – Greenwich Park Playground
Who doesn’t want an adventure on the high seas, or the chance to discover pirate gold in the sandpit? We’ve given the newly restored Greenwich Park Playground a maritime theme and made all the activities fully accessible, so as many children as possible can play side by side and make new friends. Like the rest of Greenwich Park, the playground is open every day of the year.
Park Sports Greenwich Park provides high quality pay and play tennis alongside adult and junior coaching, weekly drill sessions, courses, and more.
In the summer, the Rangers' Field in Greenwich Park is marked out and maintained for cricket.
Greenwich Park Playground is a modern adventure playground welcoming more than 400,000 visitors each year. Find out more.
Eating and drinking in Greenwich Park
Look out over London from the octagonal Pavilion Café, treat the family to weekend pizza, or catch up with a friend over crepes and coffee.
Tea in the Pavilion Café, or breakfast bap at the Coffee Cabin – you choose!
Greenwich Park has two fantastic spots for you to eat and drink – both with stunning views across the River Thames and East London.
The distinctive and elegant Pavilion Café, up by the Royal Observatory, dates from 1906 and has a lovely period feel. You can sit both inside and outside, so you’ll stay warm and dry, no matter what the British weather’s doing. It’s a very family-friendly atmosphere.
Check out the park information boards or the park map to see the exact locations in the park.
Picnicking in Greenwich Park
The park is a great place for a picnic! A selection of freshly cut sandwiches, artisan baguettes and drinks are available in our cafés and kiosks.
Feel free to bring your own food and drink to enjoy in the park but barbecues and any sort of fire lighting is absolutely forbidden.
Please take your litter home with you or place it in one of our bins on the way out – wildlife and litter don’t mix.
Every purchase helps us care for Greenwich Park
A proportion of anything you spend at our cafés or kiosks goes straight back to help look after the Royal Parks, and the wealth of wildlife and natural habitats they contain.
The Pavilion Café, located at the top of the hill by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park offers a delicious breakfast and lunch menu and cream tea.
The Wolfe Statue kiosk is the perfect place to grab a drink and a snack and take in the stunning views of East London.
Take a step back in time in Greenwich Park
Greenwich Park is known for its famous view over the city, which has been admired by visitors for centuries.
But next time you are admiring the vista at the top of the Grand Ascent, look behind you. You will see General Wolfe – a naval hero who won a famous victory for the British at Quebec in Canada. He was a Greenwich local who would have been familiar with the view he now looks over.
Down by the boating lake you’ll see the sundial. This marks the Greenwich Meridian Line that famously runs through the park from the site of the Royal Observatory at the top of the hill.
To the south of the park is the Victorian bandstand. Installed by locals in the 1890s, it has hosted many acts over the years – from brass bands and rappers to jazz musicians and opera singers. If you’re lucky, you might catch a performance.
To find out more about these landmarks and discover many more, explore the links below.
General Wolfe statue
Built in 1930 to commemorate General James Wolfe (1727-1759), this Grade II listed structure was designed by Dr. Tait Mackenzie and a gift from the Canadians.
The statue commemorates Wolfe's victory against the French at Quebec which secured Canada for the British. Wolfe, whose parents lived in Macartney House on the edge of the park, died in the battle.
The monument was unveiled by the Marquis de Montcalm, a descendant of the Commander-in-Chief of French forces who also died at the Battle of Quebec.
Wolfe lived in Greenwich and is buried in a local church.
Greenwich Park Bandstand
Erected in 1891, the same year as the park's only surviving Victorian granite drinking fountain, this Grade II listed structure is located on the south-east side of Great Cross Avenue. The field surrounding it is known as Bandstand Field.
The metal was cast by the Coalbrookdale Company, famous for its decorative ironwork. 40 years before, the company exhibited the Coalbrookdale Gates (now in Kensington Gardens) at the Great Exhibition. The iron bandstand in Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham, was also cast at Coalbrookdale and erected in 1864 - making it the country's oldest surviving iron bandstand.
This bandstand is used today as a traditional meeting point for leisure activities and sponsored events.
Please visit our What's on page to see if any performances are scheduled.
Installed next to the Greenwich Meridian in 2000, this double horizontal dial not only tells the time but also the direction of the sun.
The Millennium Sundial was designed by Chris Daniel, chairman of The British Sundial Society, and consists of a 3m triangular metal sundial and floor mosaic.
Further information is available at the Greenwich Meridian website.
The history and architecture of Greenwich Park
Home to the ruins of a Roman temple, a curious Anglo-Saxon cemetery and the world-famous Royal Observatory.
Greenwich Park’s early history
Greenwich Park has been settled since Roman times, and in the south of the park you can see the traces of an ancient Roman temple, excavated in 1999. The park was also an important space for Anglo-Saxons who chose this land to bury their dead – over 30 of their distinctive circular burial mounds can still be seen to the west of the park.
But ever since the land was inherited in 1427 by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester – brother of Henry V – generations of British monarchs have taken this magnificent park into their hearts.
The creation of a Royal Park at Greenwich
Humphrey enclosed the Park in 1433 and built a tower on the site of what is now the Royal Observatory. When he died in 1447, Margaret of Anjou, the wife of King Henry VI, seized the estate and renamed it the Manor of Pleasance or Placentia.
Greenwich Park and the Tudors
King Henry VIII was born at Greenwich in 1491– and it was he who introduced deer to Greenwich Park. King Henry married his first and fourth wife at Greenwich, and his two daughters, Mary I and Elizabeth I were also born here. His only legitimate son, Edward VI, died in Greenwich, just before his sixteenth birthday.
Greenwich Park and the Stuarts
In the 1600s, the Stuarts transformed the park. King James I replaced the fence around the park with a brick wall double a man’s height – much of which still exists.
King James gave the palace and the neighbouring park to his wife, Queen Anne – allegedly as an apology for swearing at her in public when she accidentally shot one of his favourite dogs! In 1616, Queen Anne commissioned Inigo Jones to design her a special home – the Queen's House. Today, the Queen’s House houses a rare collection of Royal portraits, including works by Gainsborough, Hogarth and Turner.
King Charles, Andre Le Notre, and The Grand Plan for Greenwich
In the 1660s, King Charles lI commissioned the famous Andre Le Notre, gardener to Louis XIV of France, to design a bold new landscape for Greenwich Park. Le Notre’s ‘Grand Plan’ created a formal layout of tree avenues framed by banked landscaping that can still be seen today, 350 years later.
We are currently in the midst of our own ‘Grand Plan’ to restore these extraordinary avenues and ‘parterre banks’. Discover more about the project Greenwich Park Revealed here – we welcome volunteers!
Greenwich Park and the Stuarts – celebrating invention, adventure and discovery.
King Charles II was a keen supporter of scientific research, and he commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to build the Royal Observatory, naming it Flamsteed House after the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed.
Greenwich Park’s Royal Observatory is one part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The 1800s – Greenwich Park was opened to the public
Greenwich Park's royal star began to wane in the 1700s and James II was the last monarch to actually live at the Palace. The park was opened first to the veteran sailors housed at the imposing Greenwich Hospital close to the park, but by around 1830 all members of the public were welcomed too.
Greenwich in wartime
During the First World War, some of Greenwich Park was used for allotments, and people were allowed to continue growing their own even after the war ended.
The park was home to three air raid shelters during the Second World War, providing protection for hundreds of local residents. During the long hot summer of 2019, 26 Royal Parks volunteers and professional archaeologists discovered the main air raid shelter in front of the Queen’s House, almost entirely intact!
Nature and wildlife of Greenwich Park
See pipistrelle bats swooping at sunset. Walk next to sweet chestnut trees in full bloom. Spot woodpeckers, warblers and song thrushes.
A historical home for wildlife in southeast London.
A Grade I listed landscape and a wildlife haven
Greenwich Park is the oldest of London’s deer parks – 183 acres of grassland, woodland, wilderness and ancient trees.
There are over 3,000 trees in the park, including 400-year-old sweet chestnuts, ancient oaks and cedar trees. The gnarled and crevassed trunks of these trees are perfect micro-habitats for roosting bats, fungi and many species of beetle.
Much of the south part of Greenwich Park supports acid grassland – one of Britain’s rarer habitats – and a conservation priority. The soil is less fertile, so it’s perfectly suited to specialist native wildflowers and fine grasses. Head to Croom Hill for a spectacular show of dark red sheep’s sorrel carpeting the hillside in spring, or delicate harebells.
Meadowland is another key habitat in Greenwich Park, especially on One Tree Hill. And although shrub and scrubland don’t have the romantic ring of a meadow, these habitats are just as valuable for wildlife. The wooded areas and scrubland are excellent cover for nuthatches, chiffchaffs and greenfinches.
Wildlife on the wing – the birds, bats and butterflies of Greenwich Park
Some 70 species of wild birds have been recorded from Greenwich Park – including thrushes and warblers, woodpeckers and tawny owls. At sunset, you may hear the owls hooting across the park – and over the Flower Garden lake, the air comes alive with the swooping silhouettes of pipistrelles, our smallest native bat. Pipistrelles have mighty appetites – eating up to 3,000 insects per night.
One of the best places to discover butterflies and bumblebees in Greenwich Park is in the Flower Garden – a natural magnet for peacock butterflies and painted ladies.
Letting the grass grow under our feet – putting biodiversity first
Greenwich Park is a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation. We have a duty to protect and restore the historic habitats in the park, and also to create new ones that promote biodiversity. Managing all these natural environments sustainably and respectfully is a delicate balancing act.
Around the park, you’ll see some areas where we’re cutting the grass less frequently, to promote naturalisation of the grassland and boosting its biodiversity. The longer and wilder the grass, and the more wildflowers we have, and the more pollinators we help. Long grass is also excellent cover for the many other insects, small mammals and lizards. In spring and summer, head for the path leading up One Tree Hill, alive and humming with bees, crickets and meadow brown butterflies or skippers.
Wildlife and parklife – a delicate balancing act
The Royal Parks are unique urban parklands, where people and wildlife can come together. We have a responsibility to conserve the wildlife and nature in the parks. Finding – and maintaining – that balance is in the best interests of us all, and the world we live in.