For a city that boasts a population of 8 million residents (in 2012) which increases by a few million workday residents who commute from in and around the surrounding counties, it still always manages to astonish me how green and leafy it is.
From the sprawling acres of Kew Gardens to private garden squares, where ever you turn there seems to be small oasises (oasii, oases, troubled 90’s bands?) of green where you can go to get a breath of fresh air and relax, shielded from the busyness of London.
The Park has long been popular with locals, but also attracts those from further afield. From the mid-Nineteenth Century until World War II, Londoners came here to celebrate Chestnut Sunday here and to see the abundant blooming of the trees along Chestnut Avenue, discovered and resurrected in 1993 by Colin and Mu Pain
It’s the second largest park in London, beaten by it’s almost neighbour Richmond park and has many areas and gardens within the grounds to take a picnic and mutter sweet nothings.
The newly restored Baroque Water Gardens
A popular park with dog walkers, you will also see many pups gambolling along the grassy fields fetching, running, bowling their owners over in excitement (yes Murphy, I’m talking to you!) and generally loving the freedom in which to chase anything and everything through the long grasses.
It was developed from 1529 by Henry VII as a deer-hunting ground, and thereafter some of the more picturesque features added such as a 19km canal supplying water to nearby royal residence Hampton Court, the Diana fountain and Chestnut Avenue.
It’s also still home to the disused Brew House that used to supply the ale to all the estate workers.
Wouldn’t this be a cool venue for a bar?
There are still herds of fallow and red deer that roam the park, and whilst they can be a little dangerous in rutting season, they also make excellent fielders for the cricket clubs that are based in the Park.
The fields are beautiful expanses, and stunning even a little brown in the heat of our heatwave.
For further info, check out the Royal Parks website.