Richmond Park – London
The largest of London’s eight Royal Parks, Richmond Park (2,500 acres) has a varied landscape of hills, open fields, woodland gardens, thick lush forest and grasslands.
It is home to the charming Isabella Plantation (garden of exotic plants), Pembroke lodge (beautiful Georgian mansion) and herds of Red and Fallow deer (650).
Wandering through Richmond Park’s huge open space of unkempt, wide land, among so many deer (who roam freely), it’s easy to forget you’re actually still in London.
The park attracts all kinds of outdoor lovers – walkers, runners, horseback riders, cyclists, kite flyers, as well as folk who simply want to get out of doors, escape the hustle and bustle of Central London and breath in some fresh air.
I recommend devoting several hours if not a whole day to this stunning parkland. I also suggest making a planned stop at King Henry’s Mound. Not only is it the highest point of the park but it is from this very spot that an avenue of trees force the eye along its path, providing an uninterrupted 10 mile view of Central London, all the way to St Paul’s Cathedral.
This amazing vantage point did not happen by chance, it was designed in 1710 and is today specially maintained and legally protected, so that no future buildings can be built in its path and obscure the spectacular view.
Enjoy a trip to Richmond Park for the fresh air and wide open space, and whatever you do, don’t forget your camera!
Regent’s Park – London
Sunny days in London are best spent lying on the grass in Regent’s Park – reading, picnicking, people watching or simply gazing at London’s surprisingly blue sky. In summer, or really whenever the sun is out, the park is a flurry of activity, with people playing cricket, sun bathing, frisbee throwing, walking, jogging, bike riding and so on.
If you happen to find yourself in Regent’s Park, make sure you take the time to walk around the beautifully manicured lawns and tranquil gardens, where in the springtime an impressive display of tulips and other flowers paint the park a myriad of gorgeous colours. If you don’t feel like walking you can always rent a ‘Borris’ Barclays Bike and cycle leisurely along either the inner or outer circle park roads or on one of the many bike paths.
Also, make sure to check out the beautiful and somewhat secret garden of St John’s Lodge, located within the park’s Inner Circle. This serene and rather fragrant spot is the perfect place for a catch up picnic with friends.
Primrose Hill – London
London is filled with an amazing collection of parks, gardens and green spaces. Among them, Primrose Hill – my favourite park and also my all time favourite spot in London. Primrose Hill the area and the hill itself are known mostly by locals and not tourists, you won’t find them on the usual tourist map. This surprises me a great deal as the hill provides one of the most spectacular views of the city.
I loved nothing more than sitting up on the hill watching not only the clouds roll in but also the steady stream of planes as they circled above waiting for their turn to land at Heathrow. Sometimes it was possible to see ten or more planes up there. The hill also provides a great place to people watch from. Primrose Hill is also a known haunt for celebrity spotting; some of my friends have seen the likes of Jude Law, Gwen Stefani, Chris Martin and Jamie Oliver. I however had no such luck, despite how hard I looked.
If you have time I suggest taking a stroll along Regent’s Park Road (Primrose Hill’s high street), which has lots of lovely cafés, bakeries, delis, florists and boutiques. From this short walk you’ll feel like you’ve somehow transported yourself from the busy, bustling London city streets to a quiet, quaint village, when in fact you’re only about 10 minutes away from the boisterous Camden scene.
If you’re in need of a caffeine fix you can’t go past The Little One Coffee Shop. Well actually you can walk straight past as it’s so tinnie tiny but make sure you don’t as it serves up delicious Monmouth Coffee. If you’re not one for coffee, don’t despair there are also tasty sweet and savoury crepes and freshly baked muffins to keep you satisfied.
Whenever I’m in the area I make a point of visiting this super cute and super tasty little bakery that serves up the most delicious, fun and lovingly handmade cupcakes full of rich moist chocolaty goodness. Of course not all the cupcakes at Primrose Bakery are of the chocolate variety, there are lots of different flavours to choose from such as your classic vanilla and carrot, to the more exciting kinds of maple syrup and pecan, malted marshmallow, plum, peanut butter, mocha and earl grey. If for some reason they do not tickle your fancy or you’re not in the mood for cake they also serve up hot pots of tea, toasted crumpets and a range of homemade biscuits.
The bakery itself is small with only handful of patrons being able to sit in. However it is extremely cosy and inviting. There’s actually a really nice feeling that you’ve just stepped into someone’s kitchen as you enter, a kitchen that has the kettle on and a cake baking away in the oven. The pastel coloured walls, playful bunting, retro furnishings and the mix matched collection of vintage teapots, tea cups and saucers all play apart in creating this homeliness.
The bakery also serves up a selection of mini cupcakes that are not only of a novelty size but in a moment of weakness or great indecision allow you to satisfy your cupcake craving with a variety of different flavours.
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