Regents Park, London The Origins of the Park The area that would later be known as London’s Regent’s Park was first appropriated in 1538 by King Henry VIII to be used as hunting grounds. Originally called Marylebone Park, it remained a “royal chase” until 1646 after which it was mainly used as farmland. In 1811, famed architect John Nash added his magic touch, at the request of the Prince Regent, and made the park into what it is today. With 197 hectares (487 acres) to design, Nash had huge plans for Regent’s Park. Round in shape, the park would have a canal, lake, and 56 planned villas, though just 8 were built and only 2 remain - St. John’s Lodge and The Holme. Both the Zoological Society and the Royal Botanical Society took up residence in the park and it wasn’t until 1835 that the general public was actually allowed to use the park, but only certain sections. More than a century later, the park marked another landmark with the creation of beautiful St. Mary’s Gardens. By that time, the entire park was open to all. Regent’s Park Today Twenty-first century Regent’s Park is a vibrant and lively place to be. It is the largest outdoor sports area in London and at the center of the park is “The Hub”, a community sports pavilion. Another centerpiece of the park is the London Zoo. Home to dozens of mammals, birds, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, visitors of all ages will love this excellent zoo, which is open year round.turkeyarena.com There’s also an open air theatre, which boasts productions from Shakespeare to Rodgers and Hammerstein. The theater season stretches for 15 weeks from early June to mid-September. Additional bandstands throughout the park provide sites for other musical entertainment as well. The park has also become an important site for wildlife, especially with the recent addition of a “wildlife-friendly” community garden, and flower aficionados will enjoy the colorful St. Mary’s Gardens. The pretty lake in Regent’s Park is open to rowboats and paddle boats, which may be rented at the boathouse. In addition, there’s another small theater situated near the lake. Concession stands and cafes are plentiful so visitors will never be hungry or thirsty while perusing this park. You can enjoy everything from a sit-down family meal to a quick cup of coffee or ice cream cone at locations throughout Regent’s Park.