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Bushy Park & The Longford River, Park Office, White Lodge, Richmond upon Thames, London TW12 2EJ
 
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Bushy Park & The Longford River

 
Bushy Park & The Longford River hotels title=Adjacent to Hampton Court Palace this is London's second largest Royal Park.

Just north of the celebrated royal palace at Hampton Court, Bushy Park is the second largest of the Royal Parks. On the surface, the park appears simply to be a vast, rural expanse of exceptional wild beauty but of little historical significance. The lush grass, wooded copses and winding rivers do, however, hide an interesting past.

A settlement for over 4000 years, a number of interesting items have been extracted from the park - archaeologists unearthed a Bronze Age burial mound and barrow here, the contents of which now reside in the British Museum. A keen eye for detail can make out the traces of mediaeval field boundaries, in existence before Henry VIII turned the area into one huge deer-hunting ground.

The park was used more recently during both World Wars, as agricultural land when Britain was suffering food shortages and as the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force. The Longford River looks perfectly at ease in its surroundings, flowing leisurely through the park, but it is in truth a 13 mile artificial waterway, built in the time of Charles I to divert water from the River Colne to Hampton Court.

History aside, these days Bushy Park is simply a wonderful place to get outside, walk away an afternoon and watch the sun slide spectacularly behind the horizon. The park’s most notable feature is Chestnut Avenue; the mile long thoroughfare designed by Sir Christopher Wren is flanked on either side by majestic rows of horse chestnut trees and leads to the majestic Diana Fountain. Anglers can try their luck in the three ponds and there are facilities for a host of other sports including rugby, football, horse-riding and hockey. Formal plantations of trees mingle with wildlife conservation areas and big mounds of bracken hiding herds of deer.

Combine a walk in the park with a visit to Hampton Court. Leave the palace by the Lion Gate, stop off for a refreshing pint in the King’s Arms pub just outside before you cross the road and enter the park via the Hampton Court Gate. Walk towards Hampton Wick and take the train back from there.

Best for:
Fishing, riding, deer, bracken and Bronze Age burial mound.

Did you know?
Eisenhower masterminded the D-Day landings from a HQ in Bushy Park.
 

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