Old Deer Park: One of London’s finest open spaces

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Old Deer Park is an expansive open space on the outskirts of London that plays host to a wealth of sporting events.

Stretching over a 147-hectare site, although more than half of this is private land, it is situated within the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.

Originally the land was part of Richmond Palace, which was built at the behest of Henry VII in the 16th century, and the site takes its name from the hunting park that was created by James I in 1604.

However, the present area is only a fragment in terms of size of the former Deer Park. The location is still owned by the Crown and is leased to Richmond Council. But Old Deer Park still has plenty to offer visitors.

Sports

Today, Old Deer Park is mostly used as an important site for sport and events. The Pools on the Park Complex offers both indoor and outdoor pools, as well as a gym. There are a number of clubs (including ones for triathlon, swimming and freediving), while visitors can also use the sauna, steam and jacuzzi. In terms of outdoor facilities, there are pitches for football, cricket, rugby, and both hard and grass tennis courts. There are two excellent children’s play areas near the tennis courts, which provides challenging play for the very young up to teenagers. As you can see, young families will be able to have a very good time when visiting this area.

Park Run

Visitors who like to keep active when on their holidays can take part in the Park Run held at the Old Deer Park every Saturday morning. The 5 km race is held at 9 am and runners of all abilities are welcomed – you will even have your time officially recorded. It is a great way to start the weekend and lets people take in the glorious open spaces in a relaxed environment. You can run with your friends or on your own, and the event is organised by volunteers.

Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club

This golf club consists of two 18-hole golf courses (called the JH Taylor and the Pam Barton respectively) and it covers a vast swathe of the park. The club, which gets its name from the fact it straddles the border between Middlesex and Surrey, held the PGA Championship in 1961 and 1968. Now it is one of the finest places to play golf for people who are staying in London, as it is only 10 miles from the city centre. This has helped to increase its popularity, as the course can be reached relatively easily from any part of the capital.

Richmond Cricket Club

One of London’s largest and friendliest amateur clubs, Richmond offers competitive cricket for people of all ages and abilities. You can go along and sample the atmosphere at the weekend, as the first and seconds will be playing. Old Deer Park also hosts Middlesex 1st XI matches, which means you might even spot a future England international.

Old Deer Park complex

This state-of-the-art complex has four rooms available for private hire, each boasting great views of over 12 acres of park. You can also see the famous pagoda of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. On top of this, there is ample free parking and the staff have been described as both “professional [and] helpful”. Among the uses for the the venue are:

  • Meetings and conferences
  • Team building, fun days and away days
  • Training days
  • Product launches
  • Charity fundraisers
  • Private parties
  • Summer balls/Christmas parties
  • Corporate cricket and rugby
  • Corporate hospitality

The King’s Observatory¬†

The observatory offers some spectacular views of Old Deer Park and is easily accessible for people staying in hotels on Cumberland Road in London. The Grade I-listed building used to house an astronomical and terrestrial magnetic observatory, and the Richmond Council have granted planning permission for the observatory to be used as a private single family dwelling. As part of the changes, all ornamental trees and bushes will be removed and replaced with semi-mature indigenous trees that are more suitable for a parkland setting. Once the work has been completed, the observatory will offer the same kind of views that were available to people over 250 years ago.