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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Alcock

A Brief History of Greenwich Park in London

What is Greenwich Park?

Greenwich Park is the oldest enclosed Royal Park in the UK and a former hunting ground for the British monarchy.

Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park History

Consistently conspicuous in British history, Greenwich also has the longest association of any London park with royalty after reverting to the crown in the mid-15th century. In 1433, King Henry V’s brother, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, enclosed 200 acres of Blackheath Common as a deer park for his manor. Following his death, the wife of Henry VI seized the estate, and since then, generations of monarchs have taken Greenwich Park to their hearts.

In the 17th century, following the restoration of the monarchy, Charles II had the park landscaped into the form familiar today. Following his period of exile in France, where he developed an appreciation for the Palace of Versailles, he requested that French landscapers design his Royal Parks, including here at Greenwich.

Today, the layout of the park still follows the original 17th-century plans. Besides the sweeping views of Canary Wharf and the City of London, there are many beautiful attractions, such as the herb and rose gardens, orchards, a deer park and lakes.

Greenwich Park Oak Tree

Towards the centre of the park you will discover, hiding in plain sight, a living testament to royal history: an enormous tree, known as Queen Elizabeth’s Oak, which dates back to the 12th century. The oak is understood to have had strong links with the Tudor Royal Family, and legend has it that Henry VIII once danced around it with Anne Boleyn, his second wife. Whilst Queen Elizabeth was said to have picnicked under its shade as a child. Although the oak is sadly now dead, it does still remain (lying on an angle) alongside a baby oak, which was planted by The Duke of Edinburgh in 1992.

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