9. Exercise and Indulgence: Richmond Park

This is the ultimate day trip if you have time, energy and feel like you just need to just get out of the city but you don't have a car. All you have to do is hop on the underground and go to Richmond Station and head to Richmond Park

Out the station turn left and weave your way through yummy mummies, city-boy-dads, prams and posh poodles. Stop off at Paul's on the way and grab yourself a coffee to wake your sensors - with the views ahead you’re going to need it.

Follow the high street all the way to the bottom (pass the House of Frasers, follow the road as it bends round to the left, past the Waterstones, then across the road is an All Bar One). Next to the All Bar One there is a cobbled street – walk down here and let the adventure begin! If your lucky enough to be here on a Saturday you can wander through the small Farmers Market that they have. Weave your way down the the steps and you shall reach the glorious banks of the River Thames. No matter what season you come here is always looks absolutely breathtaking.

Turn left and walk alongside the river. Rowers, canal barges, boat restaurants float up and down the river. Joggers, dogs, families and tourists weave gently past each other as the admire the gentle currents of the river. Along your walk you pass a number of nice cafes, ice cream stands, there's a famous steak house that I've always been tempted by but they have a strict no dog policy and I've always got my mutt with me. Keep following the path along the river until you get to a small wooden gate which leads to a field with an inconspicuous path across it. Take the leap and cross this field (Terrace Field). Sometimes there are cows roaming in it. There is always a lovely strangeness of being in London, with the Heathrow planes speeding by above you, city houses looking down on your in this field with a cow...IN LONDON?!?

While crossing this field if you look to the row of beautiful million billion pound houses with one of the most enviable views of London you will see Mike Jaggers ex Jerry Hall's house, in amongst them. Might even get a celeb spot.

Over the field, down the hedged walkway, turn right and then you will see the entrance to Petersham Nurseries. Go in and explore one of the most chic and beautiful hidden treasures of West London. I've never actually purchased anything here, all far to expensive, but I love coming here for interior ideas. Slip through the restaurant and go to the cafe round the back for some afternoon tea. I recommend the pungently strong coffee and one of their moist cake – last time I was here we shared a coconut, carrot and chocolate cake – to die for; airy, light and yet totally delicious. After a good wander round and refuelling get ready for the next stretch of walk. Out of Petershams and at the end of the road turn right now, jump up and peer over the wall to see the creepily beautiful old cemetery at St Peter's Church.

Now that you have reached the main road turn left, over the road at the traffic lights and through the old metal gate and your in Richmond Park. Climb up that mighty hill. Go on. Faster. Last time I did this in January at 4pm you could literally see the city heat rising from the frosted trees all over London. Stunning.

I eat all the time, so now, regardless of the fact I ate a cake an hour ago I always like to go to Pembroke Lodge Cafe and have one of their sausage sandwich- French bread and hearty peppery sausages topped up with a ridiculous amount of condiments. Mustard mayonnaise face. After gobbling on that you can either walk around the park or head to the exit – Richmond Gate. On Richmond Hill road you will go past The Royal Star and Gater Homes which had cared for disabled ex service men and women there since 1916 and is a truly spectacular building.

Walking along Richmond Hill road you go past the Roebuck. Pop in here and treat yourself to a refreshing drink. What is great about this little pub is that you can take your glasses out with you, cross the road and sit on one of the benches. Right now you are sitting in one of the most spectacular seats in London. Take it all in the simple, tranquil wonder that is before you.

Author: Holly Bourne Starecka

1 comment:

nimsy said...

Some smashing ideas in this blog. Richmond is a lovely place to visit - the Richmond theatre is quite good too and you can often catch a play or musical for less than the West End.

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