Can You Really See St Paul’s Cathedral From Richmond Park?
Situated on the highest part of Richmond Park is King Henry’s Mound.
It’s originally a burial mound (known as a ‘barrow’) but the real curiosity is that – believe it or not – it affords an uninterrupted view of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Why the name?
The King in question is Henry VIII. He loved to hunt in Richmond Park, one of the 8 royal parks of London. The mound is named after him because it was traditionally thought that on May 19 1536 he stood here waiting for a rocket to be fired from the Tower of London to signal Anne Boleyn’s beheading, paving the way for him to marry Jane Seymour. This is unlikely to be true because we know he was in Wiltshire that night, but the name stuck.
The so-called viewing corridor was laid out in the 1700s as an entertaining feature of the park and it’s one of 8 protected views of the cathedral. This means no one can build anything in its path and the greenery is kept in good shape so as not to block the view.
So can you still see the Cathedral?
For those without a ginormous telephoto lens, there’s a handy telescope to ensure you can still see Wren’s masterpiece.
And I can confirm that this is what you can see through it!
Though the view of St Paul’s is a highlight, it’s also a gorgeous place to walk through and soak up the fresh air of one of London’s best green, open space.
The mound was incorporated into Pembroke Lodge in the 19th century, Pembroke being the family name of a Countess that lived here from 1788-1831. It was previously known -charmingly – as the Mole Catcher’s Cottage.
As well as the view to St Paul’s in the East there’s a great view of the Thames Valley to the West too
The Guardian recently reported that the view has been subject to controversy, with a new 42-storey tower block almost finished in Stratford. St Paul’s Cathedral says they weren’t told about the plans. Read the story here.