Bushy Park extends over about 1,100 acres (445 hectares) of grassland to the north of Hampton Court Palace. The park measures 1.5km (nearly a mile) from north to south and 3km from east to west. There are ponds, streams and woodland gardens as well as sports pitches and a children’s playground.
Bushy Park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for the rare invertebrates that live here in their habitats. This traditional deer park, with its bracken, rough grassland and plantations, is complemented by formal avenues of lime and chestnut trees.
The park has many notable features including the Diana Fountain, the Water Gardens, the large ponds, the Longford River and the Woodland Gardens. On entering the park, visitors will see that space, tranquillity, and unspoilt nature are principal features.
They are wild animals and unpredictable. Be aware that they can be aggressive when disturbed or frightened. Visitors who have got too close have been injured.
Visitors should stay at least 50 metres away from any deer and do not encourage them to approach you. 50 metres is equivalent to the length of three London buses end to end.
You must not try to feed the deer. Human food is injurious to the health of deer.
Keep your dog on a lead near deer, as the dog can upset the deer and be attacked.
In the rutting season during the autumn, and again in early summer when their young are born, the deer are especially sensitive and aggressive. It is dangerous to get close to them at any time of year, but especially so at these times.
The short film made for a children’s TV programme showing families enjoying the ceremony might stir memories. You can view it here.
Visitors should not confuse it with the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fountain in Kensington Gardens.
Please see this map for details: Map of Bushy Park
The gardens began to be cultivated in 1925 around the Waterhouse, from two early nineteenth-century plantations. In 1948 improvements were made by the then Park Superintendent, Joseph Fisher. He created the paths, layouts and ponds that are the basis of today’s gardens. Places in the gardens include Fisher’s pond, Triss’s pond, King’s River garden, Willow Plantation, Silver Birch Glade, the bog garden, and Hornbeam Avenue.
The Pheasantry café is located at one end of the gardens, in the centre of the park. Next to the café is the Visitor Centre, which opened in 2019.
Diana (or Arethusa) statue commissioned by Charles I, and located first at Somerset House; then moved to Hampton Court Palace in 1656; and finally to Bushy Park in 1712, on a new pedestal in the basin pond thus completing Christopher Wren’s design for The Great Avenue, now known as Chestnut Avenue. Shrouded in camouflage netting during WW2. Restored in the last phase of the Lottery Heritage-funded Restoration Project, completed on 2009 and awarded grade 1 status.
Created by Joseph Fisher, park superintendent late 1940s to late 60s; named after daughter Triss.
Created by Joseph Fisher just before his retirement; known as Fisher’s Pond
Initially dug in 1536 fed by nearby springs; in 1630s Charles I ordered construction of the Longford River fed from the Colne to augment the supply in the Waterhouse pond – effectively a reservoir to feed fountains in Hampton Court Palace.
Upper Lodge Water Gardens and Canal Plantation
Created by Charles Montagu, Earl of Halifax, to complement his house, now called Upper Lodge. It consisted of an upper pond fed from the Longford; in turn feeding a second pond over a cascade, whose outlet then fed back to the Longford. A third pond is in front of Upper Lodge. A fourth pond (now a marshy area), and a fifth, the Canal Plantation. All five are on an axis.
Hampton Hill Pond
Believed to have been created by a World War II bomb crater.
Barton’s Cottage was originally a Grace and Favour residence but is now a rental property. It was originally surrounded by farm buildings (hence the origin of the pond), which were demolished in 1851.
Heron Pond and Leg of Mutton Pond
Dug in the Commonwealth Period when Oliver Cromwell was occupying Hampton Court Palace, to provide for the new pastime of fishing. Initially fed by springs, and later augmented by take-off from the Longford River. Bushy Park was sold into private ownership in 1654 but was bought back 2 years later, on the instigation of Oliver Cromwell.
Created after WW1 to provide employment. Small rowing boats and pedalos were for hire before and after WW2. Stopped in 1970s because ‘uneconomic’.
The Water Gardens are open every day except Mondays, 9am to dusk. They will be open on Bank Holiday Mondays but will then close on the Tuesday.
There is disabled access but there is no special car park for the Water Gardens.
There are two entrances. One on the north side from the main Hampton Hill gates. Walk straight ahead and turn right before the mews. The pedestrian gate is on the left just before you get to the Longford River. It is a 5 minute walk from Hampton Hill High Street. The south gate is reached via Upper Lodge Road. Take the footpath on the left just before you reach Upper Lodge. The entrance gate is at the end of the path. This gate is a 20 minute walk from the Pheasantry Visitor Centre.
Please see this map for details: Map of Bushy Park
Water Gardens Regulations
The following regulations are to ensure the health and safety of visitors, and to preserve the peace and tranquillity of the restored gardens:
Longford River is maintained by The Royal Parks and is the responsibility of the Bushy Park Manager.