Royal Parks of London

The Royal Parks of London are lands originally owned by the monarchy of the United Kingdom for the recreation, mostly hunting, of the royal family.[1] They are part of the hereditary possessions of The Crown.


With increasing urbanisation of London, some of these were preserved as freely accessible open space and became public parks with the introduction of the Crown Lands Act 1851. There are today eight parks formally described by this name and they cover almost 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) of land in Greater London.

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens (which are adjacent), Green Park, Regent's Park and St James's Park are the largest green spaces in central London. Bushy Park, Greenwich Park and Richmond Park are in the suburbs. The Royal Parks agency also manages Brompton Cemetery, Grosvenor Square Gardens, Victoria Tower Gardens and the gardens of 10, 11 and 12 Downing Street.[11]

Hampton Court Park is also a royal park within Greater London, but, because it contains a palace, it is administered by the Historic Royal Palaces, unlike the eight Royal Parks.[12]

The public does not have any legal right to use the Parks, as public access depends on the grace and favour of The Crown, although there are public rights of way across the land. Until 2017, the Royal Parks Agency managed the Royal Parks under powers derived from section 22 of the Crown Lands Act 1851. As part of its statutory management function the Agency permitted the public to use the Parks for recreational purposes, subject to regulations issued under the Parks Regulation Acts 1872–1926 which were considered necessary to secure proper management, preserve order and prevent abuse within the Parks. The Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997 then came into effect until a separate charity took over the parks from the Royal Parks Agency. [13]


The parks were managed by The Royal Parks (an executive agency of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) until a charity - The Royal Parks - launched in July 2017. The parks are policed by the Royal Parks Operational Command Unit of the Metropolitan Police (the English section of the previous force policing the parks, the Royal Parks Constabulary, has been abolished). The main form of funding for the Royal Parks is a central government grant. This contrasts with most of London's other parks, which are funded by local borough councils. The Royal Parks generate additional income from commercial activities such as catering and staging public events such as concerts.

The Royal Parks Foundation is a registered charity which raises funds to protect, support and create new opportunities within the Parks. They have a number of membership schemes such as adoption and champion programmes.

Mayoral control

In 2010, Mayor of London Boris Johnson proposed that control over the Royal Parks should be devolved to the Greater London Authority[14] and the government put forward proposals for that to happen later on that year.[15] The plan was welcomed by Royal Parks but not implemented.[16]

See also


  1. Thurston, Hazel. Royal Parks For The People: London's Ten. UK and USA: David and Charles. Vancouver: Douglas, David and Charles. 1974. ISBN 0-7153-6454-5. Includes listing of the Parks with black-and-white photographic plates.
  2. Archived 19 May 2011 at WebCite
  3. Archived 1 February 2010 at WebCite
  4. Archived 19 May 2011 at WebCite
  5. "Hyde Park". The Royal Parks.
  6. Archived 19 May 2011 at WebCite
  7. Archived 16 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. "Written answer to the House of Commons from the Head of the Royal Parks Service". 7 February 2002.
  9. "". Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  10. Archived 7 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. "What we do".
  12. Richmond Borough Council Archived 26 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. "Who we are". The Royal Parks.
  14. Mayor's Proposals for Devolution Archived 26 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. "Responsibility for London's Royal Parks to pass to London's Mayor".
  16. Royal Parks sees merger with the mayor's office as opportunity to boost sponsorship

Coordinates: 51°30′29″N 0°09′55″W / 51.5081°N 0.1654°W / 51.5081; -0.1654

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