If you visit Richmond Park, London’s largest Royal Park, make sure you visit one of its highlights – the Isabella Plantation. This wonderful 40-acre ornamental woodland garden has something of interest whatever time of the year you go, in fact, it’s worth a special trip on its own.
Started in 1831 by the Lord Sidmouth, the Deputy Ranger of Richmond Park planted beech, oak and horse chestnut trees and enclosed it to protect it from the deer. An ornamental garden was started in the late 1940’s and it opened to the public in 1953.
What to see
Evergreen azaleas – flowering in late April early May
Rhododendrons – over 50 different species and 120 hybrids at their best in April-May
Camellias – white, pink and red camellias, best from February- March
Acer Glade – stunning autumn colour
Heather Garden – heathers, gorse and broom provides year round colour
Thomson’s Pond – water lilies
Bog Garden – pools and streams with architectural plants and ornamental grasses
It’s also a good place to spot some wildlife with plenty of ducks to feed including handsome Mandarin Ducks (pictured). Resident birds include Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Redpoll, Bullfinch, Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk and Tawny Owl.
How to get there
The garden is in the south west section of the park and if you travel by car, the nearest place to park is the Broomfield car park.
Without your own transport, there are two ways to get there:
This is ideal if you plan to spend some time in Richmond. Take the district line to Richmond tube station or the train from Waterloo to Richmond. Take bus 65 from outside the train/tube station. Get off at Ham Common and head down Ham Gate Avenue. It’s 1.17-mile (1.89km) walk to the garden.
For a shorter and easier walking route, take the district line to Putney Bridge tube station or the train from Waterloo to Putney. Take bus 85 and get off at the Warren Rd/Kingston Hill stop and walk along Ladderstile Ride. It’s 0.82-mile (1.33km) walk from here.