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The Friends of
Bushy and Home Parks
Become a Member Make a Donation
The Friends of
Bushy and Home Parks
Become a Member Make a Donation
The Friends of
Bushy and Home Parks
Become a Member Make a Donation
The Friends of
Bushy and Home Parks

The History of Home Park

Early enclosure

In medieval times, the area was open grazing land. It seems certain that it was Cardinal Wolsey, in the early 16th century, who first enclosed with timber palings land that we now know as Home Park.

Henry VIII walled the road from Kingston to Hampton, creating a clear division with three further areas to the north, which eventually combined to become Bushy Park.
From around 1530 to the 1650s, Home Park was in two sections. The more southerly was the House Park, which contained fallow deer.
Towards the north was the Course, providing a mile-long course for the racing of dogs in pursuit of deer.


The Park was mainly planted with oaks originally, but these were largely stripped by speculators during the period of the Commonwealth in the mid-17th century.

In the 1660s, after Charles II was restored to the throne, the great canal, now known as the Long Water, was dug, and its avenue of 550 lime trees first planted.

After William III’s accession in 1689, the extra diagonal avenues were added, as well as a cross avenue linking their far ends. The 600 metre terrace overlooking the Thames (now part of the formal gardens) was added in 1701. It ended in a bowling green, around which four substantial pavilions were built in 1702, but now only one (The Pavilion) remains.

In the eighteenth century, the Park developed as the home of a royal stud, and Stud House was built for the Master of the Horse. The latter house was changed and expanded in the Regency and George IV periods as a possible royal residence but never became so. The stud waxed and waned, involving both Home and Bushy Parks, but was largely sold in 1894. At one time, 16 walled paddocks existed along the north side of the park, but now only three remain in the north-west corner. One of these was used as allotments for Grace and Favour residents of the Palace up until the 1990s.

A Public Park

The Park was opened to the public in 1893, and a golf club opened in 1895. Soon after, model boating began on the Rick Pond.

Parts of the Park were used for crop production during the 1939-45 War, although care seems to have been taken to protect ancient features of the Park’s landscape.

The park is the venue for the annual Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Flower Show. This occupies areas near the fencing around the formal gardens at the eastern front of the Palace, straddling the Long Water with several temporary bridges.

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