Richmond Park is possibly my favourite London park. I love it. And I love Richmond. It is a seriously beautiful part of London and I wish I lived there (just need to win the lottery first).
I’m going to divert slightly from the ‘parent’ theme of this blog and write instead about a great day date I would highly recommend you take your boyfriend / girlfriend on.
I first went to Richmond Park with Tom earlier this year. It was a bright, crisp January day, so we wrapped up in our scarves and gloves ready to brace the cold – my absolute favourite kind of day. I was living in Balham at this point, so we made the short train journey to Clapham Junction for another South West train journey out west. Easy!
When we got to Clapham J, we were met with the dreaded ‘weekend engineering work’ signs and the even more dreaded ‘rail replacement bus service’. Sigh. This really nearly made us head straight back to mine for a lazy duvet day, but I wasn’t going to let stupid South West trains ruin our mini adventure, so we decided to press on and brave the bus.
The bus journey took us part of the way to Barnes station, which after a quick Google, was still easily walkable to the Roehampton Gate entrance of Richmond Park. Although it took around 25 minutes to walk, the walk itself is a spectacle. Walking down Priory Lane, you go straight past the entrance to the National Tennis Centre (we waved to Andy Murray but don’t think he was there), as well as The Priory (yes, the Priory) which is actually a stunning building from the outside, looking more like a castle than a mental health and addiction treatment centre. As we got closer to the park, we ducked down a side street to avoid the busy main road and found ourselves on a quiet residential street where the houses were ridiculous. We had a fun time picking out our favourite, imagining which one we would live in, spotting all the snazzy sport cars parked up outside the private gates and guessing how much they were worth (answer = A LOT).
So it had already been quite an eventful morning before we even arrived at Richmond Park, but eventually we made it and were greeted by a lovely view of green grass, open space and blue skies. Perfect.
Richmond Park is huge. There are so many different paths and trails going off in different directions it’s easy to get lost and end up walking in circles. With our trusty Google Maps, we could vaguely tell which direction we wanted to head in, and set off towards the Richmond Gate.
We walked around the edge of the park, past ponds and wildlife, countless dog walkers and joggers, taking in the fresh air and welcoming the cold which was waking us up from our January blues. We made it to the Richmond Gate, and exited the park for a quick pub lunch at The Roebuck. While here, I made a mental note to bring my dad at some point; a lover of real ales and a member of CAMRA, he would definitely love it.
Feeling refueled and re-energised after our pit stop, we headed straight back into the park after a mandatory stop at Richmond Hill (directly opposite the pub) to take in the views…
The rest of our day consisted of walking, walking and walking (approximately 10 miles in total). We stopped off at the Isabella Plantation to see what beautiful flowers and wildlife it had to offer, and also made it to Pen ponds – a lake divided in two by a path running through the middle. And it wouldn’t be a blog post on Richmond Park without mentioning the deer. ALL THE DEER. They really do just wander freely throughout the park and there are loads of them – it’s pretty cool to see them so close and you really do forget you are only a few miles outside central London.
Having gone on a winter’s day, light soon started to dwindle and the park closed at around 4.30pm so we looped back round to the Roehampton Gate and headed back to Barnes station for our return journey to Balham. We had a great day and I think it is still up there as one of mine and Tom’s top things we’ve done together. We really like to get out of the city, breathe in fresh air and see open space all around – and Richmond Park definitely provided all of these.
I have since taken my parents to Richmond Park so look out for a blog post on this too, coming soon!