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Royal Parks of London

Related subjects: Geography of Great Britain

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Flowers in the Royal Greenwich Park, London

The Royal Parks of London are lands originally owned by the monarchy of England or the United Kingdom for the recreation (mostly hunting) of the royal family. They are part of the hereditary possessions of the Crown.

The public do not have any legal right to use the Parks, public access depends on the grace and favour of the Crown, although there may be public rights of way across the land. The Royal Parks Agency manages the Royal Parks under powers derived from s22 Crown Lands Act 1851. As part of its statutory management function the Agency permits the public to use the Parks for recreational purposes, subject to regulations issued under the Parks Regulation Acts 1872–1926 which are considered necessary to secure proper management, preserve order and prevent abuse within the Parks. The current regulations are the Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997

With increasing urbanisation of London, some of these were preserved as freely accessible open space and became public parks. There are today eight parks formally described by this name and they cover around 5,500 acres (22  km2) of land in Greater London.

  • Bushy Park
  • The Green Park
  • Greenwich Park
  • Hyde Park
  • Kensington Gardens
  • The Regent's Park
  • Richmond Park
  • St. James's Park
  • Brompton Cemetery

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. Brompton Cemetery, although not a park, is another of the green spaces managed by Royal Parks.

They are managed by The Royal Parks (an executive agency of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) and are policed by 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 generates 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.

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