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This season, we have several helpings of festive cheer in the Royal Parks to help you prepare for the big day.

This includes the return of the iconic Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Christmas card- making in Brompton Cemetery, winter horse carriage rides in Richmond Park and Santa fun runs in Bushy and Richmond Parks. You can even buy your sustainably grown Christmas tree and decorations in three Royal Parks!

For a full list of events happening across the parks, visit www.royalparks.org.uk/whats-on


1. Discover the independent women of  Brompton Cemetery

Meet some of the inspirational women buried in Brompton Cemetery, by going on a free walking tour led by actors in full period costume.

On your travels you will encounter Emma Shaw, the first person to be buried in Brompton Cemetery, opera singer Blanche Roosevelt, mountaineer Elizabeth le Blond and Emmeline Pankhurst, the organiser of the British suffragette movement.

When: Saturday 30 November, 10.30am-Noon

Where: Meet at North Lodge, Brompton Cemetery

Free (No booking required)

For more information book here.


2. Walk in a Winter Wonderland

Taking place over six weeks, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is a sprinkle of winter magic in the heart of the capital.

This year sees the return of the Magical Ice Kingdom with ‘A Christmas Carol’ theme, the UK's largest outdoor ice rink and the iconic Giant Observation Wheel, plus a huge selection of food and drink stalls and more! New for 2019 is the UK debut of Paddington on Ice, a captivating family show that follows Paddington on his big adventure, as he travels by ship from the jungles of Peru to London.

The best time to visit, especially if you have little ones, is weekday mornings and afternoons. So, wrap up warm and get out early to make the most of your day.

When: Open every day until 5 January 2020 except for Christmas day. 

Free to enter.

Learn more at  https://hydeparkwinterwonderland.com


3. Buy a sustainably grown Christmas tree from a Royal Park

This Christmas, visit Bushy, Greenwich or Richmond Park to take your pick from a variety of non-drop, British-grown trees, including Nordman Fir, Noble Fir and Fraser Fir.  The pop-up stalls will be a one-stop-shop for all your festive needs, with baubles and fairy lights for sale, as well as wreaths and garlands.

Christmas trees are available to purchase from the following Royal Parks from 29 November until 22 December. You can also buy them online and have them delivered straight to your door.

Where: Bushy Park – Diana Fountain Car park

Greenwich Park – Blackheath Gate

Richmond Park – Roehampton Gate Car Park

Proceeds from the sales will help The Royal Parks to care for over 5,000 acres of historic parkland and 170,000 trees in the heart of London.


4. Enjoy a Christmassy horse-drawn carriage ride through Richmond Park

Step back in time and enjoy a ride through Richmond Park the old-fashioned way. Snuggle under a blanket with a sloe gin and mince pie in hand, and let our majestic Shire horses transport you through this National Nature Reserve, offering an unforgettable vantage point of the park in its stark wintry beauty.

Proceeds from the rides will help fund sustainable conservation initiatives with the working Shire horses in The Royal Parks.

When: Various dates until 5 January 2020.

For more information click here.


5. Make Christmas cards in Brompton Cemetery

Bring the whole family along to make festive cards in Brompton Cemetery. Coincidentally, the cemetery is the final resting place of Henry Cole, the man who invented Christmas cards!

Story has it that Cole wanted to send greetings to friends and family at Christmas, but letter writing was a time-consuming business. So, he asked his friend to illustrate a card that could be printed cheaply and had 1,000 cards made for Christmas 1843.

There will also be Christmas storytelling at the North Lodge Information Centre at 11am, 1pm and 2pm.

When: Sunday 8 December. Christmas card making from 1-3pm.

Free

For more information click here.


6. Take part in the Santa Fun Run in Bushy and Richmond Parks

Get in the festive spirit by dressing up as Father Christmas and running 5K to raise money for the Princess Alice Hospice.

The annual run is suitable for all ages and abilities  and you can complete the course however you want – walk, jog or run. A Santa suit is included in the price of a ticket, and under 12’s get an elf hat.

When:

Bushy park – Sunday 8 & 15 December

Richmond Park – Saturday 14 December

Cost: £18 for adults and £8 for children over 5.

For more information click here


7. Discover the hidden stories of Hyde Park with a guided walk

Explore the history of Hyde Park through the decades, including the notorious criminals who met their untimely end at the Tyburn Tree, the inception of Speakers’ Corner and the park’s instrumental role during World War One.

Finish with an exclusive visit to our Victorian pet cemetery, the first public cemetery of it's kind in Britain, where over 1,000 pets have been buried.

When: Friday 13 December, 10.30am-Noon.

Where: Hyde Park

Cost: £10

Book your tickets here.


8. Discover the origin of Christmas traditions in a walk-through Kensington Gardens

As the year's shortest day approaches, join us for a stroll through Kensington Gardens to look at the seasonal folklore and traditions that have developed over the centuries.

On this walk you will find out what Christmas traditions Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert introduced to Britain, why robins appear on Christmas cards, and how holly was protected by Kings.

When: Saturday 14 December, 10.30am-Noon

Cost: £10

Buy your tickets here


9. Watch the Peter Pan Cup on Christmas Day

Swimmers have been taking to the water in Hyde Park since 1864, to race against each other in an icy 100 yard swimming race before going home to tuck into their Christmas dinner. The race is only open to members of the Serpentine Swimming Club but members of the public can watch for free.

When: 25 December, 9am

Where: Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park

For more information visit the Serpentine Swimming Club website.


10. Go on a guided walk of Richmond Park on Boxing Day

Walk off that extra helping of Christmas pud by joining the Friends of Richmond Park for a guided stroll on 26 December

When: 26 December, 10am

Where: Meet at Pembroke Lodge Car park

For more information click here.


Merry Christmas from everyone at the Royal Parks!



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