Learn more about Greenwich Park
|Royal Parks of London|
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.
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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