Things to Do in Regent's Park

Updated: Februar 24, 2024
 By Margaret

This is our guide to visiting London's beautiful Regent's Park.

Originally a country retreat for royalty, today the park is a charming and beautiful royal park, open to the public all year 'round.

Read below for a brief history of the park, what to do when you get there, opening dates and hours, as well as interesting sites nearby and transport options.

As local walking tour guides, we spend a lot of time in London's parks, whether on a tour, but also in our free time. 

And in the video below, Sinead, a guide with Kostenlose Touren zu Fuß, takes you on a virtual walking tour of Regent's Park.

We relied not only on our own personal experiences in creating this post, but we also used some of your suggestions.

We also run the popular London Travel Tips Facebook group has lots of posts such as the one below.

Our group consists of roughly 50k members, including locals, like our guides, expats, regular visitors to London, as well as newbies. 

There's no need to join the group to search for and read the posts, comments, and recommendations.

So, check out the group once you are finished reading this post.

If you're looking for more beautiful parkland in the city, make sure to read our post covering the Best London Parks and Gardens.


WHAT IS REGENT'S PARK?

NOTE: For the purpose of this post, we are also including Primrose Hill as The Royal Parks do, though we have a post dedicated to that section.

Regent's Park was originally land owned by the Crown after the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1500s and was used as a hunting ground by King Henry VIII, much like Richmond Park, which still maintains its wild feel.

The Park was transformed in the early 1800s by architect John Nash, and James and Decimus Burton at the behest of the Prince Regent (future King George IV, the "playboy prince"), who wished to turn the area into a pleasure garden. 

Although the park would be named after the Regent, the Crown Estate refused to pay and it is thanks to James Burton that the project was financed, completed, and opened to the public.

Opened for the first time in 1835, the park has since evolved to contain the London Zoo, Queen Mary’s Gardens, an outdoor theatre, sports pitches (rugby, softball, football, and cricket!), and numerous statues, memorials, and fountains.

One of London’s eight Royal Parks, Regent’s Park is 166 hectares (410 acres) of green space right in the middle of London, surrounded by stunning Georgian mansions on the adjacent terraces.

The park is also a home for wildlife with around 100 species of wild birds as well as a breeding population of hedgehogs, in addition to purpose-built insect houses!

Oftentimes less busy than the more central St. James’s Park and Hyde Park, Regent’s Park is a beautiful oasis and a fabulous place to spend a few hours - or even the entire day.

Can’t make it to Regent’s Park? Why not visit one of Britain's most charming parks virtually with our guided Autumn Stroll Tour video here?


HOW TO GET TO REGENT'S PARK AND OPENING HOURS

Regent’s Park is situated in the Northwest part of central London and is easily accessed through various methods of public transport. Find the nearest station for your journey below.

Nearest Underground Stations: Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street, Baker Street, St. John’s Wood, Camden Town

Nearest Rail Station: Marylebone Station

Bus Routes that Serve Regent’s Park: 18, 27, 30, 74, 88, 113, 139, 189, 205, 274, 45 Or C2 (stop on Chester Road)

The pedestrian gates to the park open at 5:00 all year round and closing times are seasonal.

January: 5:00am - 5:0pm

February: 5:00am - 6:00pm

March: 5:00am - 7:00pm (8:00PM after the clocks go forward)

April: 5:00am - 9:00pm

May - July: 5:00am - 9:30pm

August: 5:00am - 9:00pm

September: 5:00am - 8:00pm

October: 5:00am - 7:00pm (5:30pm after the clocks go back)

November: 5:00am - 4:30pm

December: 5:00am - 4:30pm

The roads through the park are open from 7:00 am - Midnight all year round.

Primrose Hill is open 24 hours.


THINGS TO DO/SEE IN REGENT'S PARK

Walk Along Regent’s Canal (or Even Take a Cruise!)

Truly one of the most beautiful parts of London, the stretch of the Regent’s Canal that curves around the northern edge of Regent’s Park seems like a different world.

No traffic, picturesque views of colourful boats, the draping leaves of trees, and glimpses of beautiful Georgian buildings ( many of which boast a private residence) all come together to make a truly magical experience. 

We have a post that explains what you can see when walking Regent's Canal.

If you want to really relax, consider taking a canal boat cruise along the park either to or from Camden Town.

We have a few favourite companies to recommend, which you can find on our blog post about nearby Camden Town.


Visit London Zoo

Opened to the public in 1847, London Zoo is home to the Zoological Society of London as well as over 19,000 individual animals.

London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and is also home to the first reptile house (featured in the first Harry Potter film), the first public aquarium, and the first children’s (or petting) zoo.

There are over 20 separate exhibitions in the zoo, featuring 673 different species of animals.

Find out how to get cheap and discount tickets for the London Zoo, as well as visitor information, on our blog post here.

Find out what’s on when you’re in town on their website here.


See the London Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre

Sometimes referred to as the Regent’s Park Mosque, the Central London Mosque sits on the western edge of the park.

Completed in 1977, the Mosque can accommodate over 5,000 worshipers and is topped by a beautiful and distinctive golden dome.

The Cultural Centre located within has one of the largest and oldest Islamic reference libraries in the world with over 25,000 books and copies of the Quran in 30 languages.

Visitors are invited to see the Islamic exhibition which, “aims to provide a greater understanding of the universal message of Islam, thereby encouraging meaningful and positive dialogue and promoting greater community understanding and harmony.”

Find out more on their website here.


Hire a Boat at the Boating Lake

This is one for the warmer months! Within Regent’s Park sits the Boating Lake - which is pretty self-explanatory!

Throughout the year, guests can walk along and around the lake and see the wildlife that calls it home.

Regent's Park Boating Lake

However, from April to the end of October from 10:30 am - 6:00 pm, park visitors can hire out rowing boats and pedalos to take out onto the Lake. 

Find out more on their website.


Sit By a Beautiful Fountain

When visiting Regent’s Park, it’s always worth resting your feet by grabbing a seat on one of the benches near the beautiful Triton Fountain.

A group of bronze sculptures that depict the sea god Triton blowing on a conch shell with two mermaids at his feet, all set in the centre of a round pool, the sculpture was given in memory of the artist Sigismund Goetze by his wife in 1950.

Goetze lived in the area, but he didn’t design the fountain. It’s the work of William McMillan who also designed one of the fountains in Trafalgar Square!


See a Show at the Open Air Theatre

One of the largest theatres in London, with seating for 1,256 guests, the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has been putting on productions since 1932, often featuring new takes on classic Shakespeare works.

The theatre is charmingly hidden by clever landscaping and beautifully lit with lights along with trees, which gives visitors the feeling of being in another world once inside.

The annual season at the theatre is short - just 18 weeks - and tickets book out quickly so find out what’s on when you visit here.


Get Incredible Views on Top of Primrose Hill

Once a place where duels and prize fights took place, Primrose Hill was purchased from Eton College in 1841 to provide further open-air space for the poor people of North London.

Ironic today that the area is known for being home to some of the most expensive properties in the city!

But what makes Primrose Hill worth the visit, is the stunning view.

One of the six protected viewpoints of London, the summit is 63m above sea level, and the trees surrounding it are deliberately trimmed low so as not to obscure the view of London’s iconic skyline.

To learn more about Primrose Hill, and to see some fabulous views without ever leaving your couch, check out our virtual tour here.


Stop and Smell the Roses in Queen Mary’s Garden

Named after Queen Mary, wife of King George V, and completed in 1934, this garden is home to approximately 12,000 roses spanning from classic varieties to the most modern.

The entrance to the gardens is marked by the beautiful Jubilee Gates, built to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V and this space is host to flower specimens prized by the royal botanic society.

You’ll even get to see the unique Royal Parks rose, created specifically for this part of the park!

It’s not just roses however, you’ll find delphiniums, over 9,000 begonias, and strategically designed shrubberies that add an air of privacy to the space, located within the inner circle.

NOTE: The best time to see the blooms is during the first two weeks of June.


Explore the Hidden Waterfall and Japanese Island

Even for Londoners themselves, Regent’s Park still has some secrets!

Tucked away in Queen Mary’s Garden, and reached only by a small bow bridge, sits a Japanese garden on an island.

Winding paths, gurgling streams, hundreds of verdant plants, blooming flowers, and even a waterfall are all here for you to explore.

Guests can also climb to the top of the waterfall to have a seat, and survey the garden below them.

This hidden garden is a remnant of the Royal Botanical Society and was constructed in the 1850s, 80 years before the rest of Queen Mary’s Garden was created.


Quench Your Thirst at a Victorian Water Fountain

Located near the centre of the Broad Walk, a tree-lined avenue that runs from Regent’s Park Underground station in the south to the London Zoo in the north sits one of the most elaborate drinking fountains London has to offer.

Featuring four sides, sporting carvings, and decorations, the fountain is made up of 10 tonnes of Sicilian marble and 4 tonnes of red Abdeen granite.

Unveiled by Princess Mary of Teck (later Queen Mary) in 1869, it was a gift from Sir Cowasjee Jehangir, a wealthy industrialist from Bombay who gave the fountain to Regent’s Park as a thank-you for the protection he and fellow Parsees received from British rule in India. 


Stroll Along the Avenue Gardens

The Avenue Gardens are in the southeast corner of the park and are comprised of two gardens: The Italian Garden and the English Garden.

With flower beds that change with the seasons, flowering trees, and a Regency-style summer house this is one of the most charming parts of the Park.

Here you'll find a charming mix of formal gardens in two very distinct styles.

You will also find the charming Broadwalk, one of the park's stunning tree-lined pathways, boasting beautiful rows of trees.


Enjoy Music at a Music Festival

In the spring and summer months, the Regent's Park Bandstand comes alive with seasons of live music at the Regent's Park Music Festival.

Each year different artists are chosen to perform and guests can pack a picnic, bring their blankets, and come enjoy free live entertainment.

To find out the schedule for this year just check out their website.

Note that here you will also find the small memorial that commemorates the Regent's Park bombing.

In 1982 the bandstand was part of an IRA terrorist attack and a bomb was detonated during a concert, injuring 24 and killing seven.


Take the Kids to a Playground

If you’re looking for a place to take the kids, Regent’s Park is a great choice as it features 3 children's playgrounds!

Gloucester Gate Playground

Originally built in the 1930s, this playground has just undergone a complete transformation.

Now an accessible space, the playground is double the size of the original and features climbing equipment, water play, swings, slides, sandpits, a roundabout, and a 50-meter zip wire!

Get more details on this playground here.

Marylebone Green Playground

Located in Marylebone Park, this playground is divided into three areas; The Traditional Zone with swings, seesaw, and climbing frame; The Art Zone with a slide and rock climbing wall; and The Natural Zone with a living willow tunnel as well as climbing rocks and trees.

Get more details on this playground here.

Hanover Gate Playground

Here you will find a traditional playground for younger children as well as a treehouse within a giant sandpit for slightly older kids.

Get more details on this playground here.


NEARBY LOCATIONS AND THINGS TO DO

Sherlock Holmes Museum

It probably won’t surprise you to know that the Sherlock Holmes Museum is located on Baker Street.

Technically, since 1990, the Museum has been located at 221B Baker Street - an allowance is given to them by the Westminster City Council to replace their actual number, 239.

This privately-run museum is dedicated to Sherlock Holmes and is set up as though Holmes himself still lives inside.

Located within a Georgian townhouse, this building was indeed a boarding house between 1860 - 1936, covering the period of 1881 - 1904 when Holmes and Watson were said to live on Baker Street.

Inside guests will find items from several different adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, all references to the various cases he worked on, as well as original architectural and historical features.

Book your tickets here.

If you’re a big Sherlock Holmes fan, make sure to check out our blog post on related sites - including a self-guided tour - here.


Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Founded by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud in 1835, this is the original Madame Tussauds.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in London, the museum displays the waxworks of famous and historical figures, as well as film and television characters.

The museum gets incredibly busy so make sure to book your tickets early!

Find out how to get cheap and discounted tickets to Madame Tussauds on our blog post here.


Camden Town

Originally developed as a residential area in 1791, Camden was an important junction for the railways and canal network that connected London to the rest of the UK.

By the 20th century, the cheap rent and abandoned warehouses led to the birth of a thriving art and music scene that is still evident today in the iconic music venues where world-famous acts still perform.

These days, most tourists visit Camden for the Market, which is actually a combination of a number of markets selling everything from produce to souvenirs, antiques to vintage clothes, and handcrafted goods to electronics.

The Market is also an amazing place for street food of all kinds, and there are plenty of nearby pubs to choose from!

If you are headed to Camden Town and want to know what’s there, get all the information you need from our blog post here.


St. John’s Wood and Abbey Road Studios

Tucked away in quiet, residential St. John’s Wood sits Abbey Road Studios - one of the most famous recording studios in the world.

However, the Studios themselves pale in comparison to the traffic crossing that lies just outside.

The zebra crossing outside the studios was iconically featured on the cover of the Beatle's Abbey Road album and is a popular destination for fab-four lovers to not only visit but to recreate their own photos in the footsteps of their icons.

Note that Sir Paul McCartney lives nearby so always keep your eyes peeled as you never know when your paths might cross...

TIP: The crossing is on a busy road, so be considerate and cautious when posing for your own photo! 

If you’d like to find out more about this iconic location, check out our virtual tour here.

Or read more on our blog post, including tips on how to get there and the best times to visit here.


Lord’s Cricket Ground

Billed as “The Home of Cricket” Lords Cricket Ground is owned by the Marylebone Cricket Club, established in 1814.

In addition to attending matches, the Grounds are open to visitors as part of a guided tour.

These tours are led by experts who take you through the grounds, including the Grade II listed Victorian Pavilion, the Long Rook, the Player’s Dressing Rooms, the Media Centre, and the MCC Museum - home of the ashes urn!

For tours, check out their website here.

For tickets to matches, check out their website here.


Little Venice

Tucked away in the residential neighbourhood of Maida Vale, Little Venice is the spot where the Regent’s Canal and the Grand Union Canal meet.

The intersections of these waterways gave the area its name.

Sitting just outside of central London, the neighbourhood was relatively unscathed during World War II, which means many of the original Georgian buildings are still standing giving this area of truly historical charm.

Or find out how to visit by checking out our blog post here.


PARK AMENITIES

Accessible Toilets: There are 6 accessible toilets in the park. Find out where they are here.

Toilets: There are 5 toilets throughout the park, but only the ones at ​​the Hub and Primrose Hill are free. Find out where they all are here.

Food & Drink: There are 7 cafes and restaurants in the park and an additional four ‘refreshment point’ kiosks, offering cakes, cookies, and freshly prepared sandwiches.

Our favorite is the Regent's Bar & Kitchen with a large dining area which means you can almost always get a seat! Find out more information here.

Parking: Regent's Park has on-street pay-and-display parking in both the Inner and Outer Circle. London Zoo has it's own parking, specifically for ticket holders.


TIPS FROM LOCALS AND TRAVELLERS

Here are some top tips from our great group members at London Travel Tips on Facebook.

Combine your trip to Regent's Park with a visit to Abbey Road

Many London visitors want to make a trip to the iconic Abbey Road to have their photographs taken on the world's most famous crosswalk. Annoyingly, Abbey Road is a bit far removed from most "big" London sights - except Regent's Park! It's easy to walk from one to the other to tick both off your list at the same time.

Visit in the Morning

The park is quiet in the mornings, when most locals choose to come. You'll also see more wildlife before the crowds make their way over in the afternoon.

Take a Boat

Consider riding one of the canal boats either to or from the park for a unique London experience!

Dinner and a Movie Doesn't Have to be Expensive

Snap up early tickets for an evening performance at the Open Air Theatre - and pack a picnic! This is one of the cheapest ways to enjoy dinner and a movie in London.

About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries. Read More...
Updated: Februar 24th, 2024
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