London is well endowed with open spaces. The eight Royal Parks of London are former royal hunting grounds which are now open to the public. Green Park, St James Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens form a green strand through the West End. Regents Park is on the northern edge of central London, while Greenwich Park, Bushy Park, and Richmond Park are in the suburbs. Many of the smaller green spaces in central London are garden which were built for the private use of the residents of the fashionable districts, but in some cases are now open to the public.
Most of London’s council-owned parks were developed between the mid 19th century and the Second World War. Examples include Victoria Park, Alexandra Park and Battersea Park. Some of the other major open spaces in the suburbs, such as Hampstead Heath, Wimbledon Common and Epping Forest have a more informal, semi-natural character. The leading paid entrance garden in London is the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew. Hampton Court Palace also has a celebrated garden.