This enormous park was enclosed in 1637 for use as a royal hunting ground—like practically all other London parks. Unlike the others, however, Richmond Park still has wild red and fallow deer roaming its 2,360 acres (that's three times the size of New York's Central Park) of grassland and heath. Its ancient oaks are among the last remnants of the vast, wild forests that once encroached on London in medieval times. The Isabella Plantation (near the Ham Gate entrance)
is an enchanting and colorful woodland garden, first laid out in 1831. There's a splendid, protected view of St. Paul's Cathedral from King Henry VIII's Mound, the highest point in the park. Find it and you have a piece of magic in your sights. The park is also home to White Lodge, a 1727 hunting lodge that now houses the Royal Ballet School.
Royal Ballet School and White Lodge Museum. Though the school isn't open to the public, it does contain the small White Lodge Museum
dedicated to the history of the school and ballet in general. Entry is available during the school year only (though it sometimes opens on a handful of dates during the summer holidays—call or check the website for details). You can also book a separate tour of the ballet school, including the opportunity to observe the students practicing. Prebooking is essential. Richmond Park, TW10 5HR. 020/8392–8440. www.royal-ballet-school.org.uk. Free. School term, Tues.–Thurs. 1:30–3:30; occasional days in school holidays (call to check). Tube: National Rail: Mortlake, then walk to Sheen Gate (15 mins) for park-and-ride bus.