Sunday, 13 October 2013

Richmond Ramblings : LOCAL LOVES

How fantastic was the weather on Sunday?? With glorious October sunshine like that it was impossible to do any kind of indoor activity so off we went to Richmond Park!

Yes - this is in London!
 Richmond is a really gorgeous area of the capital - out to the South West in Zone 4 it sits prettily on the river and has lots of lovely restaurants, pubs and shops. But the park is the real gem of this stunning slice of London life and, at 2,360 acres, it's pretty damn massive.

We drove over and parked by the Roehampton Gate but it's really easy to get to the park on public transport. We leapt out of the car and bounded off across the grass like little spring lambs...well, slightly hungover over little spring lambs...damn you Putney and your lovely bars. Heading in the direction of the Richmond Gate we stumbled across a rugby tournament - sadly there were no Chris Robshaws or Ben Fodens but what a brill place for a game.

And of course, if you see water you really must sit by it.

This is Lauren and Annie. Lauren calls lunch 'dinner' and dinner 'tea', and is one of the loveliest people I know. Annie also falls into the loveliest people I know category and has some cracking party tricks.

We walked a pretty direct route to the Richmond Gate which took just under an hour and happily we found ourselves on the steps of this fine establishment - The Lass O'Richmond Hill. It's a foodies paradise there and has a fantastically British menu. Trying to make up for the night before I plumped for a goats cheese salad but spent the entire meal eyeing up the bangers n' mash and fish n' chips the others had ordered. Bloody food envy.

After lunch we went back into the park via the Richmond Gate and headed South West towards Pembroke Lodge.

Annie had just managed to capture photographic gold - Sophie (centre - my partner in crime at work) trying to gracefully recline on a log...unfortunately she was a little too short and ended up heaving herself onto it and rolling into position quite inelegantly shall we say.

10 out 10 for a fantastic lunge from Annie

On the way to the lodge you walk through a garden called Poet's Corner where we came across the most fantastic views and in the distance you can actually see Windsor Castle. On this spot, known as King Henry's Mound, is a telescope through which you can spot St Paul's Cathedral! We all took a turn and ooo'd and ahhh'd appropriately. It really is quite amazing.

After a brief ice cream stop at Pembroke Lodge (yes, of course we needed more food) we cut through the woods in the direction of Roehampton Gates. And blimey did we see some proper nature! Deer. SO MANY DEER. The bucks, with their handsome antlers, really made a racket - I'm not sure of the official term for the sound they make but frankly I thought it wouldn't sound out of place in a Jurassic Park movie. They are such beautiful animals and it looked like a lot of the other park visitors had the same idea - sitting on logs, up in trees, peering round trunks - everyone was having a little peek.

It was such a gorgeous day and I really want to go back when proper winter has set in - I imagine the park is even more beautiful with a blanket of snow over it. So this Londoner, who is a country girl at heart really, suggests...

- Go to Richmond Park. It really is so easy to get there and t'is completely free to get in. You can walk, cycle, run, sail, play sport or just sit. Even though half of London will have had the same idea as you the park is so huge that it never feels over crowded or busy.

- Go to Richmond Park again! It is impossible to do and see everything in one day there. We only managed to cover the North part of the park and we were there for a good 5 hours. The park is also so differently beautiful in each season so a quarterly visit it the only way to do it really!