Regent’s Park is one of 8 Royal Parks in London, covering 166 hectares. It lies within the North-West of London and contains Regent’s University London and London Zoo. The park is actually situated between two boroughs; Westminster and Camden.
Regent’s Park used to be known as Marylebone Park and was originally Henry VIII personal hunting ground due to the high numbers of deer that roamed there. However, the park hasn’t always been in royal hands. In 1646, Henry VIII passed the park over to Oliver Cromwell, who let out the land as small holdings. This continued until 1660, whereby the park was then returned to Charles II.
So, we know who owned the land initially, but how did Regent’s Park develop into the beautiful haven of calm that it is today?
It wasn’t until architect John Nash got his hands on the park in the early 20th century that it began to transform into the outdoor space we know today. Nash developed great plans for the outdoor space which included palatial terraces, a lake, a canal, villas and a second home for the Prince to use during the summer. Of course, not all of these plans were given the nod of approval but Queen Mary’s Gardens, which Nash designed during the 1930s is still a focal point today. The park also became home to several organisations, including the zoological Society and the Royal Botanic Society.
Regent’s Park wasn’t really a ‘park’ at this point because it wasn’t open to the public. It only became accessible to the public in 1835 when King William allowed restricted access to the grounds two days a week.
Today, Regent’s Park is home to large open spaces, decorated pathways that are ideal for a leisurely stroll and 4 children’s playgrounds. The park is also known for its varied sports facilities and boasts London’s largest outdoor sports area. In the centre of the park is an artificial lake, which is a popular place to hire boats or try your hand at watersports. Throughout the park, you’ll notice many Grade I listed buildings, sculptures, monuments, gates and bridges.
As well as London Zoo, there are other famous focal points within Regent’s Park, one of which is Primrose Hill. Primrose Hill is a well-known vantage point where visitors and locals alike can relax with a picnic and enjoy sweeping views across London.
After a stroll in the park, you might want to drop into our French restaurant in Marylebone for some delicious food and wine.
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