There’s always something special about transporting yourself to an oasis in the middle of one of the worlds busiest cities; getting away from all the people who cant drive, shutting out most other annoying people in the world, and not having someone say sorry a million times after they’ve trodden on both your feet. One such special oasis is Richmond Park in London.
The park is situated south of the River Thames in west London and covers 2500 acres. The park is one of 8 Royal Parks in the city and is a National Nature reserve. Richmond Park contains a unique environment that resembles much of what England used to look like hundreds of years ago (and I wish it did now); thick forests with overarching trees, ponds dotted around the park, and hundreds of deer roaming freely.
Richmond Park is an exceptional place to visit any time of the year, and my mum and I took a stroll through the park on Christmas Eve, here are some of the best bits you can’t miss.
Everyone loves a good tree to climb. If you don’t then you physically cant, or you’re dead inside. Thankfully, there’s a large amount of forest in Richmond Park that is just waiting for you to explore. At this time of year, all the leaves have fallen to the floor and your whole surrounding takes on an earthy browny/orange colour. Although a lot of the tree branches in the park are trimmed it’s pretty easy to find a decent tree to climb, and I couldn’t resist!
Richmond park definitely has a natural feel to it; the parts we saw felt like they were left to themselves and there wasn’t much evidence of human interference. This is obviously what the park rangers are after however, as there is a huge amount of management in the park. The park is so well managed that the illusion that there is no human interference is there, and it is great. It seems that when trees fall over they are left to become part of the natural environment and become home to hundreds of creepy crawlies. It also seems that random logs and branches are strewn throughout the park (I mistook many of these for dogs, such is my love for dogos). The forest floor is so spongy due to the thick layer of leaves and the thousands of spiky, yet spongy, chestnut tree seeds.
The historical human influence.
Smack bang in the middle of the park you can’t miss the White Lodge…
The rather majestic looking building is pretty interesting; it is a Grade 1 listed building that was completed in 1730 and was once was a hunting house for King George the 2nd. Interesting fact: It was in this house that Lord Horatio Nelson presented his battle plans for The Battle Of Trafalgar to Lord Sidmouth. Nowadays, the house is not used to plan battles and is used by The Royal Ballet Lower School to teach their little munchkins.
The famous deer.
One of the main attractions that make Richmond park so unique is the hundreds of deer that roam freely through the park. There are over 600 red and fallow deer in the park and you can see all of them if you can find them. Sometimes they may be relaxing out on the open grassland but other times they may be hiding away in the forests!
While we were there we saw quite a lot of action; a couple of deer started fighting in front of us with their antlers, it didn’t look too aggressive so they may have been playing or practicing, but it made for a great picture! The deer rut (when they mate) is in autumn and here you will see male deer competing for the female deer.
There was also a dog that had clearly run away from its owners that was chasing the deer around the park. This is really not cool as it frightens the deer and some of the deer nearly ran into us when they were running away! Keep your dogs on leads people!
Richmond Park is a fantastic place to visit any time of the year. We visited on Christmas Eve when all the trees had shed their leaves and seeds which made the forest floor beautifully red and brown. The map above shows that the park is huge and on our visit, we probably only explored around a 1/4 of it, so there is plenty more for you to explore!