Another of Henry VIII acquisitions, Hyde Park was bought from the monks of Westminster Abbey in 1536. He and his noble men were often seen galloping through the fields in the hunt for deer, turning the land into a vast hunting park that stretched from Kensington to Westminster.
Henry dammed the Westbourne River to create drinking ponds for the deer and Hyde Park remained a private hunting ground until James I came to the throne in 1603 and permitted access to the public.
Hyde Park as we have come to know it today was thanks to the work of Queen Caroline, wife of George II in 1728. Queen Caroline took almost 300 acres from Hyde Park to form Kensington Gardens and separated the two parks. In 1730s Caroline had Serpentine built by damming the Westbourne River.
The Serpentine was one of the first man-made lakes in England that was designed to look natural.
It will be little surprise at this stage that, like the previous Royal Parks, Regents Park formed part of Henry VIIIs vast estate. Frequently referred to as the ‘jewel in the crown’ The Regents Park - including Primrose Hill – spans an impressive 197 hectares.
The park is home of several organisations including the Zoological Society and the Royal Botanic Society and was opened to the general public in 1835 by King William IV.
We recommend you take full advantage of this now open terrain and explore the historical features in this serene pocket of London, favoured by the Royals to this day.
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