Greenwich Park

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Royal Parks of London
Image:Canary Wharf from Greenwhich Observatory.jpg
The lower level of Greenwich Park seen from the top of the hill, showing the Queen's House, the twin domes of Greenwich Hospital and, in the background, Canary Wharf.

One of the Royal Parks of London, and the first to be enclosed (in 1433), Greenwich Park is a former deer-park in Greenwich and one of the largest single green spaces in south east London. It covers 183 acres (74 hectares).

The National Maritime Museum and Queen's House lie just to the north, and the Royal Greenwich Observatory lies right in the heart of the park. On the western edge of the park is the Ranger's House, looking out on to the adjacent heath of Blackheath. The park is located at grid reference TQ390772.

The park stretches along a hillside and is perhaps best imagined as being on two levels. The lower level (closest to the Museum, Queen's House and, beyond them, the River Thames) lies to the north; after a stiff walk uphill, there is a flat expanse that is, essentially, an enclosed extension of the plateau of Blackheath.

The Observatory is on the top of the hill. Outside is a statue of General James Wolfe in a small plaza from which there are majestic views across the former Greenwich Hospital (later the Royal Naval College) and the river towards the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, the City of London to the northwest and the Millennium Dome to the north.

There are also spectacular views from neighbouring hills within the park: To the west, close to the statue Standing Figure Knife Edge by Henry Moore is a good viewpoint; to the east is 'One Tree Hill'.

On the lower level of the park there is a popular children's playground (north-east corner, close to Maze Hill railway station) and an adjacent boating lake. There is also a herb garden (close by entrance to Greenwich town centre).

On the upper level, there is a vast flower garden complete with large duck pond, a rose garden, a cricket pitch, tennis courts, a bandstand, Roman remains, an ancient oak tree (the 'Queens Oak', associated with Queen Elizabeth I) and an enclosure ('The Wilderness') housing some wild deer.

Nestling just behind the Observatory is a 'secret garden', a peaceful secluded space good for picnics and also sometimes used by theatre groups (Midsummer Night's Dream, etc). On the opposite side (ie: just south of the Wolfe statue) is the Park Cafe.

It is possible to park (pay and display) in areas along the main roads entering from Blackheath. Cycle routes criss-cross the park (as do runners, roller-bladers, dog-walkers, etc), but other road traffic (cars and motor-cycles only) can only use the park road linking Blackheath and Greenwich at peak periods on weekdays.

The English movie Layer Cake (film) starring Daniel Craig shot major scenes within the park, using the statue of James Wolfe and the stunning backdrop of London at penultimate points in the film.

When London hosts the Summer Olympics in 2012 Greenwich Park will be the venue for the equestrian events and for the showjumping and cross country disciplines of the modern pentathlon. The park also staged the start of the final stage of the 2006 Tour of Britain cycle race (3 September).

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Parks and open spaces in London

Alexandra Park | Battersea Park | Brockwell Park | Burgess Park | Bushy Park | Cannizaro Park | Clapham Common | Clissold Park | Eel Brook Common | Epping Forest | Finsbury Park | Green Park | Greenwich Park | Hackney Marshes | Hampstead Heath | Hampton Court Park | Holland Park | Hornchurch Country Park | Hyde Park | Island Gardens | Kennington Park | Kensington Gardens | Kilburn Grange Park | Lincoln's Inn Fields | London Fields | Mile End Park | Morden Hall Park | Morden Park | Osterley Park | Oxleas Wood | Parliament Hill | Parsons Green | Plumstead Common | Primrose Hill | Queen's Park | Regent's Park | Richmond Park | Kew Gardens | South Norwood Country Park | St. James's Park | Streatham Common | Trent Park | Valentines Park | Victoria Park | Victoria Tower Gardens | Wandsworth Common | Waterlow Park | West Ham Park | Wimbledon Park | Wimbledon and Putney Commons | Wormwood Scrubs

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Greenwich Park

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