Osterley Park stroll, London
Jersey Road, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 4RBRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
This serene and stunning landscape of parkland and gardens is perfect for a relaxing stroll. In the 1760s, Osterley Park House and the surrounding estate was re-modelled for the Child family; the ponds and streams were redesigned to form the three long lakes, trees were planted and new formal gardens created. PLEASE NOTE: the park is closed in the evenings.
- Bus stop
Start: Main car park, grid ref: TQ146780
Take Nine-Acre Path in the north-east corner of the car park, following it through farmland, which has been cultivated for many years. In 1782 the fields around the house were used to grow wheat, beans, barley, peas and rye. Eventually, you'll come to the end of the grass path and out onto Osterley Lane. (Note: If you wish to extend your walk by 1 mile (1.6km), leave the car park via the main drive and take the footpath on your left, just past the farm shop. Follow the path across the fields until you join Osterley Lane, near the Wyke Green Lodges.)
Bear left along Osterley Lane; this was the original approach to the house and to your right is a pair of white lodge cottages at Wyke Green, which mark the original entrance to the park. This drive offers tantalising views of the House.
Osterley House, gardens, park and farmland is one of the last surviving country estates in London. Owing to the flatness of the land, the house is never far from sight and the design of the lakes and the trees were planned around the house to take in all the viewpoints.
Walking past the rifle range on your right, continue along Osterley Lane, with Middle Lake on your left, and follow the lane as it curves left. The rifle range was set up during the Second World War when Lord Jersey offered the parkland as a base for training the Home Guard. The wooded island in Middle lake contains an ancient heronry.
The beautiful views across Middle Lake are among the most impressive on the estate. A print from 1795 shows a figure lying in a grove, suggesting it's long been a favourite picnic spot. Middle Lake is the largest of the three lakes created in the late 18th century; the aim was to make it seem as if the house was partially surrounded by a curving river. Today, two of the lakes are within Osterley Park, the third is privately owned.
Continue along Osterley Lane and past Jubilee Lodge on your left. This lodge was built to mark Queen Victorias Golden Jubilee in 1887, which is also when the avenue which leads from it was planted. This avenue provides a short cut back to the car park if you wish to shorten your walk.
Once you reach the end of the lane turn left onto Elm Avenue, which is framed by two lodges. These lodges mark the turn at which the entrance drive from Wyke Green finally heads to the house. The Cedars of Lebanon on the Cedar Lawn by the house are believed to have been planted by Robert Child's widow in 1785 to commemorate the birth of her granddaughter, Sarah Sophia. One or two date back to the original planting, the rest were planted later on as replacements.
Follow the drive down towards the house, where you can look out over the meadows towards the lakes and explore the area, visiting the house and tea-rooms if you wish. Look out for the Stableyard, built in the 16th century by Sir Thomas Gresham, which are the oldest buildings at Osterley and originally covered a larger area. Today, you can see the stables (now a tea-room and place to see a film about Osterley) and carriage houses (now the shop and information point). Above are haylofts and rooms where the servants, grooms and coachmen would've slept.
From here, follow the drive around Garden Lake and make your way back towards the car park.
The Garden Lake, so called because it stretches west into the formal gardens, is a good vantage point for watching waterfowl: mute swans; Canada geese; Egyptian geese and a variety of ducks. If you're lucky, you may even see our heron.
End: Main car park, grid ref: TQ146780
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- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 1.5 miles (2.5km)
- Time: 30 minutes
- OS Map: Landranger 176; Explorer 161 and 173
Some uneven, grassy paths and tracks which get muddy in wet weather. The route is flat with no steep gradients. You may encounter cars on the main drive if you walk the extended route. Please keep dogs on leads in the park and take any mess home with you.
- How to get here:
By bike: Near on-road London Cycle Network routes 101 and 102, see sustrans website
By bus: H28, Hayes to Hounslow to Osterley; H91, Hounslow to Hammersmith
By train: Isleworth, 1.5 miles (2.4km); Osterley underground, Piccadilly line, 0.5 mile (0.8km)
By car: On A4 between Hammersmith and Hounslow, follow brown tourist signs. From west M4 exit 3 then follow A312/A4 towards central London. Main gates at junction with Thornbury and Jersey Roads
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