Ahoy me landlubbers! With one of the greenest cities in the world, when the sun peaks out from behind the rain clouds, Londonders take to the parks and gardens in their pasty thousands. I for one got sunburnt twice over Easter this year, and are fully aware of how ridiculous this is.
Bearing this in mind we trooped off to the gorgeous Regent's Park to soak in a few needed Vitamin D blast, shake off a touch of Donkey on the Edge syndrome and generally blow away the cobwebs.
Normal people explore parks this way;
We (of course) took it to another level, pirate hats tucked under our arms.
In a split second decision (totting up the likely danger of getting a dousing vs. relaxing and getting a shoulder workout) we queued up on the boat lake just as another couple drifted in on one of the rowboats, the alternative being leg-operated plastic pedaloes. We wobble our way on board in a strategic order (ie. the boy at the paddles, me perched in the rear for steering, advice and shouting out random Jaws references)
Known as the 'jewel in the crown', The Regent's Park (including Primrose Hill) covers 197 hectares. Like most of the other Royal Parks, Regent's Park formed part of the vast chase - hunting grounds - appropriated by Henry VIII.
Marylebone Park, as it was known, remained a royal chase until 1646. It was John Nash, architect to the crown and friend of the Prince Regent, who developed Ther Regent's Park as we know it today.
A vast rounded park was designed by John Nash, surrounded by palatial terraces, a lake, a canal, 56 planned villas (only 8 were ever built) and a second home for the Prince - a summer palace, which was never built. The Park became the home of several organisations like the Zoological Society and the Royal Botanic Society.
It wasn't until 1835, during the reign of King William IV, that the general public were actually allowed into the sections of the Park and this was only for two days of the week.(Credit & more information)
As you move around the circular boating lake island, the view slowly changes. To the left; sunning Londoners, a curtain of Weeping Willow and a bandstand.
To your right, ducks.
Once you've had your fill of nautical adventures - no splashing or running aground now - there are flower studded woodland groves, Cricket pitches and the beautifully tended Queen Mary's Gardens to wander as your recover your sea legs.
Oh, a top tip for the boating lake; the nearest tube/entrance is from Baker Street, and their hire rates are cheaper before 12pm.
We were lucky to visit in the midst of all the spring blooms, but have spent many an hour in all seasons wandering the miles of pathways (and one memorable afternoon speeding along by Boris Bike!)
From the park, you can hot foot it back to concrete civilisation, gently stroll the Canals to Camden, or hang out with some Monkeys. So many choices.
I'm not sure I could ever pick my favourite London park, it would be like choosing your favourite child. You?