Out of all the six royal parks in London, Hyde Park usually takes the top prize. But with so many different attractions to see and activities to do, The Regent's Park certainly gives Hyde Park a run for its money.
While Hyde Park usually takes the top prize out of all the six royal parks in London, The Regent's Park certainly gives it a run for its money.
The 395-acre park was first acquired by Henry VIII, and the area was used mostly as a hunting park up until 1649 (when it was known as Marylebone Park). In 1811, the future King George IV hired John Nash (the architect behind Buckingham Palace) to redesign the area, and villas were built in the park for the many friends of the royal family. The park remained closed to the public until the official opening of Queen Mary's Gardens and the Inner Circle in the 1930s, and it's been a popular tourist destination in London ever since.
Today The Regent's Park offers a ton of different outdoor activities for tourists and locals, and its sports facilities alone cover nearly 100 acres (which makes it the largest outdoor sports area in all of central London).
Regent's Park Highlights
Besides venturing to the nearby Primrose Hill to enjoy views of the London skyline, or checking out the gorillas and lions at the ZSL London Zoo (at the northeastern section of the park), there's a wealth of other tourist attractions to discover both in and around The Regent's Park.
A must-do for any tourist in London would be to watch a performance at The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (located near the southern tip of the park). Only four annual productions are held at the theatre between May and September, so if you happen to be visiting the park during these months, visit the theatre's official website to book your tickets.
Another prime attraction located in The Regent's Park would be The Hub, which is favoured by both tourists and locals alike. Here visitors can enjoy games of football, tennis, softball, rugby and even cricket, and there's also a nearby lake with boats and pedalos for hire. If you have some time, try and snap a photo of the bandstand located on Holme Green (between the Inner Circle and the Boating Lake) which was moved from Richmond Park during the 1970s.
Near York Bridge close to the Inner Circle, you will see the Grade-II listed Jubilee Gates which were installed to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935. The centrepiece over the centre gate features a crown with the letters “GR” underneath, as well as the date “6th May 1935.”
Nature lovers will appreciate the cluster of gardens scattered all throughout the park, with one of the most raved-about being The St. John's Lodge Gardens. The gardens were designed in 1889 by Robert Weir Schultz for the nearby St. John's Lodge (which is a private residence owned by the Sultan of Brunei). You can find the gardens through a small gate along the Inner Circle, and from there you'll be able to see some of the many impressive sculptures and statues throughout the gardens. (Make sure you take a selfie next to the Nymph statue at the center!)
Other impressive gardens located in the park include The Avenue Gardens (located near The Broad Walk), which are definitely worth taking a picture of - especially the massive circular stone bowl called the Griffin Tazza (or Lion Vase). Also try and check out The Regent's Park Allotment Garden (on the corner of the Inner Circle and Chester Road), which is used primarily for gardening purposes and organic food-growing techniques.
- If you want to do some bird-watching during your visit to The Regent's Park, the birds usually fly over the park during the first few hours after dawn.
- If you want to hire a boat or pedalo, it's much cheaper if you hire them before noon.
- While in The Regent's Park, you can easily walk to Oxford Street in 15 minutes, or the Camden Markets, which are about a 15-minute walk away from the London Zoo. Other attractions like The Sherlock Holmes Museum and Madam Tussauds can be easily reached from the park as well.
- Make sure you bring some bread with you so you can feed the ducks on the lake!