London counts eight royal parks including Regent’s Park, which is definitely one of my favorites. The more time I spend in this large open space within Central London, the more I appreciate the diversity of activities and sceneries it offers, especially in the spring and fall shoulder seasons, when the light and colours are amazing.
Today, DOYOUSPEAKLONDON brings you the complete guide to Regent’s Park!
A royal Park in the heart of London
First, a little about Regent’s Park’s history. It was named after Prince Regent, sometimes called “the playboy prince”, who later became King George IV (1762-1830).
The Regent’s Park (including Primrose Hill) is referred to as the ‘jewel in the crown’ and covers 197 hectares. A huge green space in the heart of London: that’s exactly what makes London’s lifestyle so unique!
This park was first named “Marylebone Park”, and remained a royal chase until 1646. It was designed in 1811 by renowned architect John Nash and opened to the general public in 1835, during the reign of King William IV, but only for two days of the week!
The main development in the 20th century was the creation, in the 1930s, of Queen Mary’s Gardens and its stunning rose gardens in the south part of the park. This is where I started my visit… 🙂
The Queen Mary’s gardens
This world-famous garden was named after the wife of King George V and opened to the general public in 1932. At that time, the first superintendent planted a rose garden which was completed in 1934.
Its collections of all the main rose types are arranged in a design which responds to the circular site.
Strolling around the rose gardens is absolutely delightful, as you are captivated by all the roses colours, fragrances, shapes and obviously the inspirational names!
The rose garden is said to be London’s largest collection of roses with approximately 12,000 roses planted within the gardens. With 85 single variety beds on display it’s hard to know where to start!
I just followed the paths, guided by the curiosity to discover original names. Also, I came to the gardens in mid-September when roses usually begin to wilt, so I was driven by the sight of those still in bloom. Luckily they were numerous and I got a chance to admire lots of roses varieties!
I would recommend you to visit the gardens in June if you want to admire the best blooms, but if you come in early September you will still be able to enjoy the beauty of the roses without the crowd around…
I was just wondering who was in charge of naming the roses but found no mention of that … Will there be any “resilience” rose as a tribute to this special year?
The Gardens variety in all seasons
Roses are not the only treasure of Regent’s Park, with makes it worth strolling around whatever the season.
The Regent’s Park counts many other flowers, plants, trees I can’t name here as I am not an expert, but walking there is truly uplifting as you are surrounded by all these green spaces with different atmospheres and you end up forgetting that you are in central London!
Still in Queen Mary’s Gardens you’ll see cascades, ponds, sculptures… there’s plenty of beautiful spots to enjoy the best of nature!
And of course the several benches to take in the lovely atmosphere 🙂
The Regent’s Park boating lake
Not far from The Queen Mary’s Gardens and maybe the most popular part of the Park is the lake with its boat and pedal hire facilities.
The lake area hosts many species of water birds, including herons nesting on the islands, and also squirrels that will ravish your kids and guarantee a good time out with family!
There’s a separate Regent’s Park boating lake for children that is open at weekends, bank holidays and school holidays only from late March to late October.
I personally enjoy walking around the lake during low season as nature is at its best and the views are absolutely gorgeous, especially during the golden hours in Autumn and Winter…
Located in the north part of the Park, it is a wonderful zoo to visit. I went there just after arriving in London when my kids were little and we had a blast there!
The open air theatre
This is such a great addition to the Park, giving a cultural touch to the place. What a better idea than enjoying a play during summer in green surroundings?
The Open Air Theatre performances take place from the end of May to early September. After discovering this original theatre, I just can’t wait for the next season to start!
Lots of fun in playgrounds
Regent’s Park is the paradise for parents: there are several nice playgrounds to keep their kids happily entertained during the visit (maps are displayed almost everywhere in the Park). You will also easily find coffee shops and food places to feel fresh and ready for a stroll in the open air.
Frieze Sculpture Week – 2020 edition
This week marks the return of Frieze Sculpture in Regent’s Park, offering the visitors a sculpture trail featuring works by artists including Sarah Lucas, Lubaina Himid, Richard Long and Rebecca Warren. Have a look at the video if you don’t have the opportunity to go there until the 18th of October. More details below.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found inspiration here. If you are soon going to have a day out in Regent’s Park, please share your experience and opinion on DOYOUSPEAKLONDON’s blog!
To go further:
The Regent’s Park: Chester Rd, London NW1 4NR
The Tube stations closest to Regent’s Park are:
- Regent’s Park (Bakerloo line)
- Great Portland Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle & Metropolitan lines)
- Baker Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle, Jubilee, Metropolitan & Bakerloo lines)
- St John’s Wood (Jubilee line)
- Camden Town (Northern line)
Frieze sculpture trail website
St James’s Park on this blog
Holland Park on this blog