Home Park and The Long Water

Home Park is a proudly appointed Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Home Park is a proudly appointed Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Updated 29 July. Hampton Court Palace and gardens (including The Magic Garden) is open 7 days a week throughout August. The Maze remains closed currently. Please read our visit information

When

Open daily 07:00 - 20:00


Ticketing information


Free

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Home Park

Accessible from outside Hampton Court, Home Park occupies 750 acres of ancient parkland, as stunning as it is diverse. Supporting a remarkable mosaic of acid and neutral grassland, woodland and wetland habitats, our park is a proudly appointed Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Here you can observe the deer herd, ancient trees, rare plants and endangered invertebrates.

During the COVID-19 restricted period, Home Park remains open but we will keep this decision under review. We ask all visitors to the park to observe social distancing guidelines.

Home Park is currently open from 07:00 - 20:00 daily. The Kingston vehicle gate remains closed.

If you're new to the park, please be mindful of the deer. Please keep dogs on a lead or under strict control at all times and clean up after your dog.

Veteran trees

Home Park is residence to many grand and enduring veteran trees - the dominant species being Tilia (lime trees). These interspersed old-timers occur within avenues, along boundaries, and woodland areas, and are an ecosystem within themselves.

The oldest trees are home to endangered saproxylic invertebrates (a type of beetle). These insects require rare wood decay habitats, found only in ancient timber - making our park a very exclusive neighbourhood!

A policy of continuous re-planting has kept the tree community thriving - with some over 100 years old!

Acid grasslands

The acid grasslands of Home Park sustains a diversity of plant communities, some rare, and of scientific significance. Once widespread across the floodplains of the Thames valley area, few of these plants remain today - making Home Park genuinely extraordinary.

The Long Water

Longwater Canal - known today as The Long Water - is a beautiful stretch of water completed in 1660 by King Charles II. In a spectacular show of affection - the king dedicated this water feature, complete with its double row of lime trees as a wedding present to his bride-to-be, Catherine of Braganza.

The 12-mile Longford river - commissioned by King Charles to bring fresh water to Hampton Court Palace - was dug by a royal tenant farmer by the name of Edward Manning. He completed the immense task in just nine months. 

Passing through Hounslow, Feltham, Bedfont and Hanworth before entering the royal estate at Bushy Park and into Hampton Court Palace, The Long Water is towards the end of the river, flowing in to the River Thames.

During his reign, Oliver Cromwell extended and improved river flow. Following his death, King Charles II was desperate to abnegate the glory of the court, so contracted famous French landscape gardener, Andre Mollet, to design something breathtaking. Mollet diverted the old course of the Longford River at Hampton Court, pouring it into the magnificent canal of today. 

Over time, each monarch's river modification played crucial roles in both landscape history and ecological terms enhancing bio-diversity dramatically and crafting the wondrous and thriving ecosystem we enjoy today. 

The Long Water in autumn, looking east from the decorative wrought-iron screen.
Aerial view of Hampton Court Palace from the west.
Aerial view of Long Water in Home Park looking west towards palace
Home Park, showing Hampton Wick Pond. Showing a wide expanse of the lake and banks on either side.