Greenwich Park is a former hunting park in Greenwich and one of the largest single green spaces in south-east London. One of the Royal Parks of London, and the first to be enclosed (in 1433), it covers 74 hectares (180 acres), and is part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site. It commands fine views over The River Thames, the Isle of Dogs and the City of London. The Park is open from 06:00 for pedestrians (and 07:00 for traffic) all year round and closes at dusk.
The Observatory is on the top of the hill. Outside is a statue of General James Wolfe in a small plaza from which there are majestic views across to the former Greenwich Hospital (the Old Royal Naval College and now the University of Greenwich) and then towards the river, the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, the City of London to the northwest and the Millennium Dome to the north.
On the lower level of the park there is a popular children's playground (north-east corner, close to Maze Hill Railway Station) and an adjacent boating lake. There is also a herb garden (close by entrance to Greenwich town centre). On the upper level, there is an extensive flower garden complete with large duck pond, a rose garden, a cricket pitch, many 17th century chestnut trees with gnarled, swirling trunks, tennis courts, a bandstand, Roman remains, an ancient oak tree (the 'Queens Oak', associated with Queen Elizabeth I) and an enclosure ('The Wilderness') housing some wild deer.
Nestling just behind the Observatory is the garden of the former Astronomer Royal, a peaceful secluded space which is good for picnics and also sometimes used by theatre groups (Midsummer Night's Dream, etc.). On the opposite side (i.e., just south of the Wolfe statue) is the Park Café. There is another, smaller café by the north west gate. It is possible to park (pay and display) in areas along the main roads entering from Blackheath. Cycle routes criss-cross the park (as do runners, roller-bladers, dog-walkers, etc.), but other road traffic (cars and motor-cycles only) can only use the Park Road linking Blackheath and Greenwich at peak periods on weekdays.
During the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Greenwich Park was the venue for the Olympic equestrian events and for the riding and running parts of the modern pentathlon events. It was also the venue for the Paralympic equestrian events.
The use of Greenwich Park for Olympic equestrian events caused some tension between the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012 (LOCOG) and some local area residents. A community action group, NOGOE (No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events), believed Greenwich Park was not a suitable venue for the events and started an (ultimately unsuccessful) petition to get the equestrian events relocated; by February 2009 this had gathered over 12,000 signatures.
The park also staged the start of the final stage of the 2006 Tour of Britain cycle race (3 September). One of three start points for London Marathon, the 'red start', is located in southern Greenwich Park, close to Charlton Way. British Military Fitness runs classes in the park when daylight permits.