The Isabella Plantation is a 40 acre woodland garden set within a Victorian woodland plantation planted in the 1830's. First opened to the public in 1953, it is best known for its evergreen azaleas, which line the ponds and streams and at their peak of flower in late April and early May.
Cycles are not allowed inside and bike will need to be locked outside. Full information on the Royal Parks website can be found here.
A map of the plantation and access can be found here.
Pen Ponds is composed of two lakes, together forming the largest waterbody in Richmond Park. The excavation of the lakes dates back to 1746, and over the centuries they have provided habitat for a wide range of wildlife, from invertebrates like dragonfly nymphs, to fish, amphibians, and of course waterfowl. The ponds include three small islands, which are a favourite spot for nesting and roosting birds.
There is a refreshment kiosk located next to Pen Ponds car park open from 9am until 6pm during the summer.
White Lodge (Royal Ballet School)
White Lodge is a house in the Palladian style, added to in later times. Originally a hunting lodge in Georgian times, it was used by various members of royalty and prominent dignitaries up until the 1950s. At that point it became the home of the Royal Ballet School. Occasionally White Lodge offers a guided tour (normally when the Ballet School is on holiday), dates can be found on the website.
Pembroke Lodge is a magnificent listed Georgian Mansion set in 13 acres of landscaped grounds. It is situated at the highest point in Richmond Park with spectacular views over the Thames Valley to the west. Classic and contemporary English refreshments in elegant Georgian Tea Rooms can be found inside the house. Visitors can wander the grounds freely and enjoy the views.
Further details on Pembroke Lodge and its amenities can be found here.
The visitor centre is situated in the open square in front of Pembroke Lodge, by the car park. It is open every day, except Christmas day, volunteers permitting. The centre provides information regarding the park, and volunteers are there to answer any queries visitors may have. It also sells various park related items such as cards, postcards, nature guides, tea towels, mugs, stationery items, adult and children’s nature books etc.
Poet’s corner is set within the gardens of Pembroke Lodge. Poet's Corner commemorates the poet James Thomson (1700–1748), who was living in Richmond at the time of his death. A bench inscribed with lines by Thomson and known as "Poet's seat" is located there. In 2014 Poet's Corner was re-sited and the new Poet's Corner, includes three curved benches inscribed with a couplet by the Welsh poet W. H. Davies, "A poor life this, if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare".
Ian Dury Bench
In 2002 a "musical bench" was placed in a favoured viewing spot of rock singer and lyricist Ian Dury (1942–2000) near Poet's Corner.
On the back of the bench are the words "Reasons to be cheerful", the title of one of Dury's songs The bench has metal plates on which a QR code can be scanned via a smartphone to access nine Ian Dury and the Blockheads songs (or you can access them via the Royal Parks website).
King Henry’s Mound
This steep mound, located in Pembroke Lodge Gardens, is actually a prehistoric burial chamber from the Bronze Age and later was used as a viewpoint for hunting and falconry. It is thought that King Henry VII stood in this very spot when hunting. Fabulous panoramic views of the Thames Valley to the west and distant view of St. Paul's Cathedral to the east can be viewed using a telescope.
The Way Gates
The Way’ gates are designed by artist blacksmith Joshua De Lisle and were added to the park in 2011 to mark the tercentenary of St Paul’s Cathedral. They are a short walk from Pembroke Lodge and located on the edge of Sidmouth Woods. You can also see the gates through the King Henry's Mound telescope and enjoy the protected 10-mile view to St Paul’s Cathedral.
There a number of excellent viewing points from the park including from the top of Sawyer's Hill to central London and the London Eye, Tower 42 (formerly the NatWest Tower) and 30 St Mary Axe ("The Gherkin") can be seen.
Pembroke Lodge and King Henry’s mound provide panoramic views of the Thames Valley to the west and from King Henry's Mound using the telescope it is possible to see the protected view of St Paul's Cathedral in the City.
Cafes and Kiosks
There are number of places to stop, rest and enjoy some refreshments whilst cycling in the park. Refreshment points are located near Broomfield Hill, Pen Ponds car park and adjacent to Pembroke Lodge car park.
Opening hours during the summer:
- Roehampton Gate Café – 8:30am to 6pm**
- Broomfield Hill Kiosk - 9am to 6pm**
- Pen Ponds Kiosk - 9am to 6pm**
- Pembroke Lodge Kiosk - 9am to 5pm**
- Ham Gate (opening Summer 2023)
- Kingston Gate (opening Summer 2023)
**Opening times varying during autumn and winter depending on the closing time of the park.
Public loos can be found at Roehampton Gate car park, Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Gate, Petersham Gate, Kingston Gate and Isabella Plantation where there are two toilet blocks, one near Still Pond, and one by Peg's Pond gate.