English Garden: Information about Munich's largest park

Ausblick vom Monopteros, Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann
Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann

Monopteros, Chinese Tower and much more

The "Englischer Garten" (English Garden) is Munich's largest park. In addition to its beer gardens, the famous Monopteros and surfing waves beckon. Here's why it's worth a visit:

All about the English Garden

Frühling im Englischen Garten, Foto: Katy Spichal
Foto: Katy Spichal

The English Garden is one of the largest inner-city parks in the world and it's even larger than the Central Park in New York:

  • Location and size: It measures 375 hectares and stretches from the Altstadtring inner-city motorway to Munich's northeast along the west bank of the Isar River
  • Food and drink: In the park you will find four beer gardens and several kiosks
  • Events: Kocherlball and Japanfest in July, Christkindlmarkt at the Chinese Tower in December

Must Do's

  • Enjoy the panoramic view from the Monopteros (a small temple-like structure)
  • Watch the surfers on the 2 Eisbach waves
  • Linger and relax at the beer garden at the Chinese Tower
  • Watch Kleinhesseloher See (a little lake in the park) from the beer gaden terrace of Seehaus restaurant
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Seehaus

Seehaus von innen

The Seehaus restaurant in the English Garden Munich, is considered "Island of the Blessed" due to its pavilion, Bavarian Stüberl and heavenly beer garden. Be it breakfast, cakes and tarts in the afternoon, dinner, banquets or festivals, the restaurant Seehaus is an idyllic venue for many occasions - featuring its modern and cozy atmosphere.
At the heart of the English Garden, right on the banks of Kleinhesseloher Lake, there are direct parking facilities.
See more information here

Attractions: Monopteros, Chinese Tower, Japanese Teahouse

Chinesischer Turm im Frühling, Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann
Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann

The best view is probably from the Monopteros: The temple-like round building was inserted into the southern park landscape together with the hill in 1836. The panoramic view over Munich is stunning - so just sit and enjoy!

Perhaps the most famous structure in the English Garden is the Chinese Tower . The pagoda building with its imperial Chinese style rises 25 meters into the air, and its design traces back to 1789. More about the Chinese Tower

The Japanese Tea House was not built until 1972. Just at the south end of the park, it's situated on an artificial island in the little river "Schwabinger Bach".  Fans of Japanese culture regularly meet there for traditional tea ceremonies.

Behind the Chinese Tower is the Rumfordschlössl, a classicist building dating back to 1791, and now used as a nature and cultural meeting place for young people.

Beer Gardens: The Seehaus, the Chinese Tower and More

Biergarten am Seehaus, Foto: Yasemin Merx
Foto: Yasemin Merx Seehaus
  • The Seehaus at Kleinhesseloher See, including its beer garden, is popular not only for the magnificent view it offers, but the restaurant serves Bavarian specialties, modern recipes, fresh Helles beer or warm mulled wine (depending on the season). There is literally something here for every taste.
  • The beer garden right next to the Chinese Tower offers plenty of space for those who hunger and thirst for special delicacies. Little wonder it is one of the largest beer gardens in the city - with almost 7000 seats! Awesome, right? In summer, the trees and the tower provides shade, while in winter, the beer garden enchants with a wonderful Christmas market.
  • On the southern border of the north-most part is the beer garden, Hirschau (in German), which can accommodate 2500 guests.
  • The northernmost beer garden in the park, the Aumeister (also in German), is a great destination for a bike tour.
  • To quench your little hunger, visit any of the numerous kiosks like the Fräulein Grüneis at the Eisbach or the Biokiosk Milchhäusl at the entrance coming from the University.

Video: Check out the spectacular English Garden

Sports and leisure paradise for surfers, joggers & more

Surfen am Eisbach im Englischen Garten, Foto: Katy Spichal
Foto: Katy Spichal

The English Garden is a recreational dream for all hobby athletes: cyclists and joggers train on 78 kilometers of paths. In spring, summer and fall, tightrope walkers stretch their slacklines between trees, Frisbee players throw their discs and amateur kickers meet for soccer.

You shouldn't necessarily be a pro, but you should be an expert if you dare to go surfing at the southern end of the Eisbach. There, the surfers show their tricks in the cold water at any time of the year - under the views of many spectators.

The Kleinhesseloher See lake at the border of the northern English Garden is lively sometimes and relaxed at other times. The lake is not suitable for swimming, but you can spend a perfect day on the water with a rowing or pedal boat. Hundreds of people like to sit at the shore, not just during summer.

In the northern part of the park, you'll always see groups of people doing yoga or Thai Chi. Also, all horse lovers would be excited to visit, because asides a selection of riding trails, the university's riding school is located here.

Bathing not allowed at the Eisbach and the Floßlände

Surfing on the Eisbach wave near the Haus der Kunst was legalized in summer 2010. However, this permission only applies to experienced surfers - less experienced athletes can practice at the Floßlände. Please note, surfing is at your own risk.

Swimming and bathing is not allowed anywhere at the Eisbach, or at the Floßlände.

Events: Japanfest, Kocherlball and Christmas market

Kocherlball am Chinesischen Turm, Foto: Haberl Gastronomie/Paul Günther
Foto: Haberl Gastronomie/Paul Günther Kocherlball

A top event is the Kocherlball at the Chinese Tower, which takes place once a year, usually on a summer Sunday morning in July. The traditional costume event dates back to a tradition of Munich domestic servants who met to dance before going to work.

Amateur actors regularly perform plays outdoors on summer weekends in the north of the English Garden. Spectators also bring picnic snacks and lanterns to the amphitheater near the Studentenstadt.

In the Japanese Tea House at the southern part, there are regular traditional tea ceremonies, and on the third Sunday in July, the " Japan Festival " takes place around the tea house.

During Advent every year, the Christmas market at the Chinese Tower is quite cozy. Around the illuminated tower, you will find numerous stalls with handicrafts and Christmas delicacies. 

An event in itself and much more than just a "tourist attraction": Enjoy a carriage ride through the park - as the coachmen tell you some real insider stories.

The south and north: Wondering what the difference is?

The park is divided into the lively southern part and the rather quiet north. The southern part is the area from Prinzregentenstraße to Mittlerer Ring. 

If you want to have some peace and quietness while walking, jogging or cycling, you will mostly end up in the northern part from Mittlerer Ring up to district Freimann. Here, you get to experience the park and its wild meadows. It's anything but hectic, and on some days also occupied by a flock of sheep. 

Brief history of the English Garden

Schlittschuhläufer auf dem Kleinhesseloher See im Englischen Garten, Januar 1908., Foto: Georg Pettendorfer / © Stadtarchiv München / Courtesy Schirmer/Mosel www.schirmer-mosel.com
Foto: Georg Pettendorfer / © Stadtarchiv München / Courtesy Schirmer/Mosel www.schirmer-mosel.com

Over the course of two centuries, the English Garden has undergone constant change, with new buildings and green spaces being added again and again - for example, the Hirschau or the old military garden (Militärgarten).

It all began in 1789, when Elector Karl Theodor ordered the creation of a public park on the Isar River. It was intended to provide recreation for the army - but was then opened in 1792 as a people's park for the 40,000 citizens of Munich at the time.

Benjamin Thompson, who came from America and later became the Imperial Count of Rumford, and the court gardener Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell were both responsible for the original design of the park.

The park was given the name "English Garden" (Englischer Garten) because it was not laid out as a meticulously geometrically-designed French Baroque garden, but in the style of an English landscape park.

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