Regent's Park (officially The Regent's Park) is one of the Royal Parks of London. It lies within north-west London, partly in the City of Westminster and partly in the London Borough of Camden. It contains Regent's University London and the London Zoo. The park is Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.
The park has an outer ring road called the Outer Circle (4.45 km) and an inner ring road called the Inner Circle (1 km), which surrounds the most carefully tended section of the park, Queen Mary's Gardens. Apart from two link roads between these two, the park is reserved for pedestrians. The south, east and most of the west side of the park are lined with elegant white stucco terraces of houses designed by John Nash and Decimus Burton. Running through the northern end of the park is Regent's Canal, which connects the Grand Union Canal to the former London docks.
The 166 hectares (410 acres) park is mainly open parkland with a wide range of facilities and amenities, including gardens; a lake with a heronry, waterfowl and a boating area; sports pitches; and children's playgrounds. The northern side of the park is the home of London Zoo and the headquarters of the Zoological Society of London. There are several public gardens with flowers and specimen plants, including Queen Mary's Gardens in the Inner Circle, in which the Open Air Theatre is located; the formal Italian Gardens and adjacent informal English Gardens in the south-east corner of the park; and the gardens of St John's Lodge. Winfield House, the official residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, stands in private grounds in the western section of the park. Nearby is the domed London Central Mosque, better known as Regent's Park mosque, a highly visible landmark. Located to the south of the Inner Circle is Regent's University London, home of the European Business School London, Regent's American College London (RACL) and Webster Graduate School among others. On the northern side of Regent's Park is Primrose Hill, another open space, which with a height of 256 feet (78 metres) has a clear view of central London to the south-east, as well as Belsize Park and Hampstead to the north. Primrose Hill is also the name given to the immediately surrounding district.
In the Middle Ages the land was part of the manor of Tyburn, the property of Barking Abbey. In the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Henry VIII appropriated the land, and it has been Crown property ever since, except for the period between 1649 and 1660. It was set aside as a hunting park, known as Marylebone Park, until 1649. It was then let out in small holdings for hay and dairy produce. When the leases expired in 1811 the Prince Regent (later King George IV) commissioned architect John Nash to create a masterplan for the area. Nash originally envisaged a palace for the Prince and a number of grand detached villas for his friends, but when this was put into action from 1818 onwards, the palace and most of the villas were dropped. However, most of the proposed terraces of houses around the fringes of the park were built. Nash did not complete all the detailed designs himself; in some instances, completion was left in the hands of other architects such as the young Decimus Burton. The Regent Park scheme was integrated with other schemes built for the Prince Regent by Nash, including Regent Street and Carlton House Terrace in a grand sweep of town planning stretching from St. James's Park to Parliament Hill. The scheme is considered one of the first examples of a garden suburb, and continues to influence the design of suburbs. The park was first opened to the general public in 1835, initially for two days a week. The 1831 diary of William Copeland Astbury describes in detail his daily walks in and around the park, with references to the Zoo, the canal, and surrounding streets, as well as features of daily life in the area. On 15 January 1867, forty people died when the ice cover on the boating lake collapsed and over 200 people plunged into the lake. The lake was subsequently drained and its depth reduced to four feet before being reopened to the public. Late in 1916 the Home Postal Depot, Royal Engineers moved to a purpose built wooden building (200,000 sq ft) on Chester Road, Regent’s Park. This new facility contained the Home Postal Depot administration offices, a large parcel office and army letter office both of which moved from GPO Mount Pleasant. HM King George V and HM Queen Mary visited Home Postal Depot at Regent’s Park on 11 December 1916. The Depot vacated the premises in early 1920. Queen Mary's Gardens in the Inner Circle were created in the 1930s, bringing that part of the park into use by the general public for the first time. The site had originally been used as a plant nursery and had later been leased to the Royal Botanic Society. In 1982 an IRA bomb was detonated at the bandstand, killing seven soldiers. The sports pitches, which had been relaid with inadequate drainage after the Second World War, were relaid between 2002 and 2004, and in 2005 a new sports pavilion was constructed. On 7 July 2006 the Park held an event for people to remember the events of the 7 July 2005 London bombings. Members of the public placed mosaic tiles on to seven purple petals. Later bereaved family members laid yellow tiles in the centre to finish the mosaic.
Sports are played in the park including Tennis, Netball, Athletics, Cricket, Softball, Rounders, Football, Hockey, Australian Rules Football, Rugby, Ultimate Frisbee and Running. Belsize Park Rugby Football Club play their home games in the park. There are three playgrounds and there is boating on the lake. Sports take place in an area called the Northern Parkland, and are centred on the Hub. This pavilion and underground changing rooms was designed by David Morley Architects and Price & Myers engineers, and opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005. It won the IStructE Award for Community or Residential Structures in 2006. The Outer Circle is used by road cyclists - one circuit is 4.5 km. The park was scheduled to play a role in the 2012 Summer Olympics, hosting the baseball and softball, but these sports were dropped from the Olympic programme with effect from 2012. The Olympic cycling road race was supposed to go through Regent's Park, as was the cycling road race in the 2012 Summer Paralympics, but the routes were changed. The Park also plays host to London Camanachd who have regular shinty scrimmages there.
John Nash was appointed architectural 'overseer' for the Regent's Park projects of Decimus Burton: Cornwall Terrace, York Terrace, Chester Terrace and the villas of the Inner Circle, including The Holme. However, to the chagrin of Nash, Decimus largely disregarded his advice and developed the Terraces according to his own style, to the extent that Nash sought the demolition and complete rebuilding of Chester Terrace, but in vain. Decimus's terraces were built by his father, James Burton (property developer). Clockwise from the north the terraces are: Gloucester Gate, a terrace of 11 houses designed by Nash and built by Richard Mott in 1827. Cumberland Terrace, designed by Nash and built by William Mountford Nurse in 1826. Chester Terrace, the longest façade in the park, designed by Nash and Decimus Burton and built by James Burton in 1825. Cambridge Terrace, designed by Nash and built by Richard Mott in 1825. Cambridge Gate was added in 1876-80. York Terrace, designed by Nash and Decimus Burton, the eastern half built by James Burton and the western half built by William Mountford Nurse. Cornwall Terrace, consisting of 19 houses designed by Decimus Burton and built by James Burton. Clarence Terrace, the smallest terrace, designed by Decimus Burton. Sussex Place, originally 26 houses designed by Nash and built by William Smith in 1822-23, rebuilt in the 1960s behind the original façade to house the London Business School. Hanover Terrace, designed by Nash in 1822 and built by John Mckell Aitkens. Kent Terrace, behind Hanover Terrace and facing Park Road, designed by Nash and built by William Smith in 1827. Park Crescent home of International Students House, London is just above Regent's Park station. Immediately south of the park are Park Square and Park Crescent, also designed by Nash.
Nine villas were built in the park. There follows a list of their names as shown on Christopher and John Greenwood's map of London (second edition, 1830), with details of their subsequent fates: Marquess of Hertford's Villa: later known as St Dunstans; rebuilt as Winfield House in the 1930s and now the American Ambassador's residence. Largest private garden in London second to the Queen's garden at Buckingham Palace. Grove House: still a private residence but previously owned by Robert Holmes à Court, the Australian businessman. His estate sold the property after he died from a heart attack in the early 1990s. Grove House is said to have one of the largest gardens in central London after Buckingham Palace. The garden runs along the edge of Regent's Canal. Hanover Lodge: as of 2005 under restoration for renewed use as a private residence. Recently (2007) the subject of a Court Case (won by Westminster City Council against the architect, Quinlan Terry, and contractor, Walter Lilly & Co) that ruled that two Grade II listed buildings had been illegally demolished while the property was leased to Conservative peer, Lord Bagri. It has been falsely reported that the neo-classical roadside lodges no longer stand, when actually the roadside elevations are intact and are being restored with the remaining structures by Quinlan Terry. Albany Cottage: demolished. Site now occupied by London Central Mosque. Holford House : built in 1832 north of Hertford House, and the largest of the villas at that time. From 1856 it was occupied by Regent's Park College (which subsequently moved to Oxford in 1927). In 1944 Holford House was destroyed to a great extent when a bomb was dropped on it during World War II, and it was demolished in 1948. Around the Inner Circle. Symmetrical four-storey Neoclassical villa with an imposing pedimented entrance and balustrades around a valley roof surmounted by a small cupola and flanked by two-storey wings, the whole covered with stucco rendering painted pale pink. In front is a freshly mown lawn surrounded by plants and shrubs. In the foreground is a raised round stone pool with a bronze of a nude man being pulled into the water by a mermaid. St John's Lodge: is the private residence of Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei, but part of its garden is now a public garden designed by Colvin and Moggridge Landscape Architects in 1994. This is an arrangement with Prince Jefri who allowed the main portion of his garden to be enjoyed by the public. The Holme: once owned by Audrey Pleydell-Bouverie, the sister of the surrealist art collector Edward James, and still a private residence. The garden is open several days a year via the National Gardens Scheme. South Villa: site of George Bishop's Observatory, closed when its owner died in 1861, with instruments and dome moved to Meadowbank, Twickenham in 1863. Regent's University London now stands on the site, one of the two largest groups of buildings in the park alongside London Zoo. Regent's University London has its campus just Southwest of the inner circle. Previously this campus was home to Bedford College.
Close to the eastern edge of the park : Sir H. Taylor's Villa: demolished; site now part of the open parkland. International Students House, London. Between 1988 and 2004 six new villas were built by the Crown Estate and property developers at the north western edge of the park, between the Outer Circle and the Regent's Canal. They were designed by the English Neo-Classical architect Quinlan Terry, who designed each house in a different classical style, intended to be representative of the variety of classical architecture, naming them the Veneto Villa, Doric Villa, Corinthian Villa, Ionic Villa, Gothick Villa and the Regency Villa respectively. More attractions : Park Crescent's breathtaking façades by John Nash have been preserved, although the interiors were rebuilt as offices in the 1960s. The Camden Green Fair is held in Regent's Park as part of an ongoing effort to encourage citizens of London to go Green. The fountain erected through the gift of Cowasji Jehangir Readymoney is on The Broadwalk between Chester Road and the Outer Circle.
Regent's Canal is a canal across an area just north of central London, England. It provides a link from the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal, just north-west of Paddington Basin in the west, to the Limehouse Basin and the River Thames in east London. The canal is 13.8 kilometres (8.6 miles) long.
First proposed by Thomas Homer in 1802 as a link from the Paddington arm of the then Grand Junction Canal (opened in 1801) with the River Thames at Limehouse, the Regent's Canal was built during the early 19th century after an Act of Parliament was passed in 1812. Noted architect and town planner John Nash was a director of the company; in 1811 he had produced a masterplan for the Prince Regent to redevelop a large area of central north London – as a result, the Regent’s Canal was included in the scheme, running for part of its distance along the northern edge of Regent's Park.
As with many Nash projects, the detailed design was passed to one of his assistants, in this case James Morgan, who was appointed chief engineer of the canal company. Work began on 14 October 1812. The first section from Paddington to Camden Town, opened in 1816 and included a 251-metre (274 yard) long tunnel under Maida Hill east of an area now known as 'Little Venice', and a much shorter tunnel, just 48 metres (52 yard) long, under Lisson Grove. The Camden to Limehouse section, including the 886-metre (969 yard) long Islington tunnel and the Regent's Canal Dock (used to transfer cargo from seafaring vessels to canal barges – today known as Limehouse Basin), opened four years later on 1 August 1820. Various intermediate basins were also constructed (e.g.: Cumberland Basin to the east of Regent's Park, Battlebridge Basin (close to King's Cross, London) and City Road Basin). Many other basins such as Wenlock Basin, Kingsland Basin, St. Pancras Stone and Coal Basin, and one in front of the Great Northern Railway's Granary were also built, and some of these survive.
The City Road Basin, the nearest to the City of London, soon eclipsed the Paddington Basin in the amount of goods carried, principally coal and building materials. These were goods that were being shipped locally, in contrast to the canal's original purpose of transshipping imports to the Midlands. The opening of the London and Birmingham Railway in 1838 actually increased the tonnage of coal carried by the canal. However, by the early twentieth century, with the Midland trade lost to the railways, and more deliveries made by road, the canal had fallen into a long decline.
There were a number of abortive projects to convert the route of the canal into a railway. In September 1845 a special general assembly of the proprietors approved the sale of the canal at the price of one million pounds to a group of businessmen who had formed the Regent's Canal Railway Company for the purpose. The advertisement for the company explained: 'The vast importance of this undertaking, whereby a junction will be effected between all existing and projected railways north of the Thames, combined with the advantage of a General City Terminus, is too obvious to require comment. By the proposed railway, passengers and goods will be brought into the heart of the City at a great saving of time and expense, and facilities will be afforded for the more expeditious transmission of the mails to most parts of the kingdom.'
The railway company subsequently failed, but in 1846 the directors of the canal went about trying to obtain an Act of Parliament to allow them to build a railway along its banks. The scheme was abandoned in the face of vigorous opposition, especially from the government who objected to the idea of a railway passing through Regent's Park. In 1859, two further schemes to convert the canal into a railway were proposed. One, from a company called the Central London Railway and Dock Company, was accepted by the directors, but once again the railway company failed. In 1860 the Regent's Canal Company proposed a railway track alongside the canal from Kings Cross to Limehouse, but funds could not be raised. Further schemes over the next twenty years also came to nothing. In 1883, after some years of negotiation, the canal was sold to a company called the Regent's Canal and City Docks Railway Company. at a cost of £1,170,585. The company altered its name to the North Metropolitan Railway and Canal Company in 1892, but no railway was ever built; instead it raised money for dock and canal improvement and eventually, in 1904, became the Regent's Canal and Dock Company.
A new purpose was found for the canal route in 1979, when the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) installed underground cables in a trough below the towpath between St John's Wood and City Road. These 400 kV cables now form part of the National Grid, supplying electrical power to London. Pumped canal water is circulated as a coolant for the high-voltage cables. The canal is frequently used today for pleasure cruising; a regular waterbus service operates between Maida Vale and Camden, running hourly during the summer months. Due to the increase in cycle commuting since the 2005 London Bombings and increasing environmental awareness, the canal's towpath has become a busy cycle route for commuters. National Cycle Route 1 includes the stretch along the canal towpath from Limehouse Basin to Mile End. British Waterways has carried out several studies into the effects of sharing the towpath between cyclists and pedestrians, all of which have concluded that despite the limited width there are relatively few problems.
The Regent's Canal forms a junction with the old Grand Junction Canal at Little Venice, a short distance north of Paddington Basin. After passing through the Maida Hill and Lisson Grove tunnels, the canal curves round the northern edge of Regent's Park. It continues through Camden Town and King's Cross Central. It performs a sharp bend at Camley Street Natural Park, following Goods Way where it flows behind both St Pancras railway station and King's Cross railway station. The canal opens out into Battlebridge Basin, originally known as Horsfall Basin, home of the London Canal Museum. Continuing eastwards beyond the Islington tunnel it forms the southern end of Broadway Market and meets the Hertford Union Canal at Victoria Park, East London. It turns south towards the Limehouse Basin, where meets the Limehouse Cut, and ends as it joins the River Thames.
Transport on the Regent's Canal includes a number of water transit services which run along the Regent's Canal in London, England, UK. Several privately owned boat companies operate services which are open to the public, providing both leisure cruises and regular scheduled "water bus" services along the canal between Little Venice, London Zoo and Camden Lock.
The boat companies running services include the London Waterbus Company, the Jenny Wren and Jason's Canal Boat Trips. The companies operate on the canal under licence from Canal and River Trust, and are run independently of other London public transport services and therefore cannot use Oyster Cards or contactless payment on these services.
The London Waterbus Company has a fleet of four traditional canal barges or narrowboats which have been converted to carry passengers as a water bus service. Three of the vessels are of historic interest and are noted on the National Register of Historic Ships.
The London Waterbus Company runs scheduled water bus services run all year round, with an hourly service running daily during the spring and summer months (April–September). In the autumn the company runs a reduced service four days a week, and in winter there is a weekend service only. They also provide charter hire services and regular day-long trips along the Regent's Canal to the Limehouse Basin, and on the Grand Union Canal. The Jenny Wren operates a similar route, offering a scheduled pleasure cruise service from Camden Lock to Little Venice and back with a tour guide. During the winter months, the boat is available for private hire only. Jason's Trip has operated public trips from Little Venice to Camden since 1951. Jason operates from the first weekend in April to the first weekend in November. The Floating Boater, based at the Waterside Cafe in Little Venice, operate two private charter boats, bookable in advance. Lapwing is a historic narrowboat built in 1913 and The Prince Regent is purpose built especially for entertaining in Edwardian style and launched in 1990.
At the western end of the canal, water bus services run from the area known as "Little Venice" in Maida Vale, north-west London, at the junction of the Regent's Canal and the Grand Union Canal. This part of the canal was originally called Browning's Pool, after the English poet Robert Browning who lived here from 1862 to 1887, and who is believed to have coined the name "Little Venice". From Little Venice, the canal passes under the ancient Roman Road of Watling Street (today the A5 road) through the 272 yards (249 m) Maida Hill tunnel, and then passes through St John's Wood, curving parallel to Prince Albert Road around the northern edge of Regent's Park. The London Zoo water bus stop lies on the zoo side of the canal and can only be accessed by London Zoo visitors (there is no access to Regent's Park without buying a zoo ticket). At the Cumberland Turn, the junction with the former Cumberland Basin, the canal bends left past a floating Chinese restaurant. The service terminates at the Grade II listed Camden Lock, only twin-lock remaining on the Canal. The locks were constructed in 1818–20 by James Morgan, and are located in the popular Camden Town area.
Access into the boat is steep ladder type steps with a narrow entrance way. Small guide or assistance dogs may be carried down into the boat and they have a secure private office where larger dogs, for whom the steps may not be safe or accessible, can safely be left most of the time.
There are 5 steep steps down into the boats with handrails each side and the safest way down them is backwards. Wheelchairs can be carried if folded but cannot access the boats unfolded. Please do telephone or email if you would like advice on the access possibilities. Only cards are accepted, no cash.
The Regent's Park Allotment Garden is open to the public Monday - Friday from 8.30am - 4:30pm. You can find them on the corner of the Inner Circle and Chester Road, next to the Park Office. The site is maintained by a team of dedicated volunteers. The Allotment garden purpose is to inspire and train people to grow food, while providing advice on organic food growing techniques. We run various activities including: Open days, Food growing training and Sessions for local schools.
Dogs are allowed in Regent's Park
There is metered parking around the grounds of Regent's Park concentrated around the Inner Circle and the Outer Circle. There are 3 designated areas for accessible parking which provide free parking for a maximum of 4 hours for Blue Badge holders. These accessible parking areas are located on Chester Road and on the Inner Circle near Chester Gates and Garden Café Gate Entrance. Visitors should note that there are limited dropped kerbs between the parking bays and the pavement. There is space for approximately 8 vehicles at each location.
There are a range of restaurant and refreshment facilities located within Regent's Park. Most of the restaurants offer hot and cold food and have plenty of seating for visitors. The Boathouse Café is located close to the boating lake, please note the boat hire facility is also located at this location. The Pavilion Café and Tennis Centre is situated near York Bridge, the tennis courts are open all year round and all of the courts are floodlit. The Hub Café, located within the Hub, is popular with visitors as it offers a 360 view of the park. A number of refreshment stands are also open on a seasonal basis during summer months. In total, there are 4 playgrounds within Regent's Park - Hanover Green, Primrose Hill, Gloucester Gate and Marylebone Green.
The Park Office is located on the Inner Circle close to the junction with Chester Road. The office is open for information between 8.30am and 4pm Mon – Fri (excl. Public Holidays). The office is accessed by 4 steps or a moderate ramp and entry into the building is gained via a manual, single door. Outside of normal operating hours an emergency telephone is provided to the left of the entrance should assistance be required by the Metropolitan Police.
Accessible toilets and baby changing facilities are provided adjacent to the main areas of interest around the park. Visitors should note that most of the accessible toilet cubicles require a RADAR key for access. The accessible toilets provide some grab rails with hand washing and drying amenities at mostly accessible heights. The accessible toilets are generally located within the standard toilet blocks some of which may not be suitable for all users. Designated children's toilets are also provided close to most play areas.
Access to most areas of the park is possible along well maintained and sufficiently wide pathways which are constructed from tarmac. The park is generally level, however, visitors should be aware that there are some gentle undulations and in places steeper inclines which follow the contours of the land. There are information boards at most entrances and key points within the park which provides visitors with information including the suggested most accessible pathways. Text on the signboards is supplemented by directional arrows and symbols. Seating is provided at regular intervals throughout the park. All seating is bench style and all at a uniform height. The vast majority of seats have armrests however visitors should note that there are some without arm or back rests.
Location : Regent's Park, London NW1 4NR
Transport: Regent's Park (Bakerloo Line), St Johns Wood (Jubilee Line), Great Portland Street (Circle Line, Hammersmith + City, Metropolitan Line). London Buses routes 2, 13, 18, 27, 30, 74, 82, 113, 139, 189, 274, 453, C2 stop outside
Opening Times: Daily, 5:00 until dusk.
Opening Times : London Waterbus Company
Tickets : Adult £7.70; Child £3.80.
Tickets Regent's Canal : London Waterbus Company Fares
Tel: 0300 061 2300
Tel: London Waterbus 020 7482 2550