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Encyclopedia > Regents Park
Royal Parks of London

Regent's Park (officially The Regent's Park) is one of the Royal Parks of London. It is in the northern part of central London partly in the City of Westminster and partly in the London Borough of Camden.

The park has an outer ring road called the Outer Circle and an inner ring road called the Inner Circle, which contains the most carefully tended section of the park called Queen Mary's Gardens. Apart from a link road between these two it is otherwise pedestrianised. The south, east and most of the west sides of the park are lined with elegant white stucco terraces of houses designed by John Nash. Running through the northern end of the park is Regent's Canal which connects the Grand Union Canal to the former London Docks.

The 487 acre (2.0 kmē) park is mainly open parkland which supports a wide range of facilities and amenities including gardens, a lake with a heronry, waterfowl and a boating area, sports pitches, and children's playgrounds. The north-east end of the park contains London Zoo. There are several public gardens with flowers and specimen plants, including Queen Mary's Gardens in the Inner Circle, in which the Open Air Theatre is located; the formal Italian Gardens and adjacent informal English Gardens in the south east corner of the park; and the gardens of St John's Lodge. Winfield House, the official residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, stands in private grounds in western section of the park.

Immediately to the north of Regent's Park, is Primrose Hill a park with fine views of Westminster and the City which is owned and maintained by the Corporation of London.


The bandstand and the boating lake in Regent's Park

The land, which was formerly known as Marylebone Park had been Crown property for many centuries and had been leased to the Dukes of Portland as a hunting ground. When the lease expired in 1811 the Prince Regent (later King George IV) commissioned Architect John Nash to create a masterplan for the area. Nash originally envisaged a palace for the Prince and a number of grand detached villas for his friends, but when this was put into action from 1818 onwards, the palace and most of the villas were dropped (the Prince later built Buckingham Palace instead), and a decision was made shortly afterwards to open the park to the general public. However most of the proposed terraces of houses around the fringes of the park were built. Nash did not complete all the detailed designs himself; in some instances, completion was left in the hands of other architects such as the young Decimus Burton. The Regent Park scheme was integrated with other schemes built for the Prince Regent by Nash, including Regent Street and Carlton House Terrace in a grand sweep of town planning streching from St James' Park to Parliament Hill.

Drinking fountains in Regent's Park
A fountain in Regent's Park


Nearest Tube

Nearest Railway

There are also Regent's Parks in a number of other cities. Regent's Park College is a Permanent Private Hall at the University of Oxford. Regent Park is also the name of a neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, known as the first major social housing project in Canada.

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