Regent’s Park was originally part of Henry VIII’s hunting grounds, and ranks alongside St. James’s Park as London’s loveliest open space.
The park was designed by John Nash in the 1820s, and covers an area of 487 acres. He planned to fill it with aristocratic mansions – but only got as far as a ring of Regency architecture around the outer edge. Despite having the backing of the Prince Regent (later George IV) the cost of the project put paid to his grand plans, and only eight of his fifty-six villas were built.
It was closed to the public until the reign of Queen Victoria, and opened up for two days a week in 1845.
Regent’s Park has numerous attractions, including a Rose Garden, boating lake and outdoor theatre. Shakespeare’s plays are performed in the summer, along with food festivals and events.
At the northern end of the park is the world-famous London Zoo – Europe’s very first facility dedicated to the study and display of wild animals.
Whilst animal performances are still a big attraction, recent exhibits have focused more on conservation projects.
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