We’re from the Kingston area and used to enjoy visiting one of our favourite local parks: Richmond Park. It is huge (the largest of London’s royal parks) and leafy, with plenty of space for the kids to explore, not to mention a few spots to get a warming cuppa.
However, since moving to a different area, it isn’t as local as it used to be, so we’ve found some alternative hangouts. And we’ve been rather taken with the other parks that we’ve since discovered. For all the Kingston locals, if you fancy a change from lovely Richmond Park, I’ve put together some great alternatives. I think they’re especially useful considering the increasing battle to get a parking space at Richmond Park’s Pembroke Lodge!
Nonsuch Park is nestled between Ewell and Cheam in the south London/north Surrey borders. Like Richmond Park, it is also large with lots of space for the kids to roam. We particularly like the large walled gardens of Nonsuch Mansion, which are home to a variety of beautiful flowers, as well as a pond and a huge grassy dip for the kids to run up and down.
Dogs are not permitted in the gardens, but are free to roam the rest of the park. There is also a lovely café at the mansion selling the usual beverages as well as some homemade treats and a variety of ice cream. There is plenty of parking at the entrances at different edges of the park.
Bushy Park the second largest of London’s royal parks. It is located north of the river Thames, just to the north of Hampton Court Palace. It is also fairly vast and largely flat, making it easy to walk with a laden buggy. Like Richmond Park, it is also home to deer, amongst other wildlife, as well as water features and ponds. There is a lovely playground located near the Hampton Court entrance for the kids to burn some steam. We particularly enjoy visiting the Woodland Gardens, a lovely area of pathways, streams and flowers, with well-kept grass to picnic on. There is also a café with toilet and changing facilities near the Woodland gardens, as well as parking.
Hampton Court Palace
If you love Hampton Court Palace, but don’t fancy shelling out to enter, you can always visit the formal gardens for free. Located nearer the front of the palace adjacent to the maze, there are plenty of areas to stroll around or sit for a pleasant lunch.
There is also the Tiltyard café which sells hot and cold food, as well as ice cream (we like ice cream). There is a charge for parking on-site, which isn’t extortionate if you’re not going to be there all day. Alternatively, you can pack in a dose of public transport thrills (for your toddler) and get on the train to Hampton Court station, which is just a few minutes’ walk away.
Painshill Park is a little further out, heading south on the A3 near charming Cobham. It is a huge landscape garden, complete with lake, follies, decorative bridges and wild flowers. There are plenty of places to grab a picnic.
There is an area which requires an entry fee, which gains you access to some of the wonderful attractions there (the crystal grotto, education centre and a number of timetabled attractions you can see here). We adore Painshill Park, and urge you to visit too if you fancy a little drive out of the London area.
So there you have a small handful of the parks we have discovered and now frequent since moving from New Malden. We do miss Richmond Park, but we feel all the richer for making some new discoveries and adventures.
Apologies for the ‘Chick’s Nursery List’ branding on all of the photos. This post was originally written for my website’s blog. It is powered by http://www.wix.com, and after taking the time to write and compile all of my photos, I realised that their blog facility is unable to facilitate more than one photo. I know, ridiculous. So I hated to waste the post and have found a little home for it here on Free Range Chick.
Either way, I’d love to hear about your family’s favourite places to visit to get that piece of peace and tranquillity?
p style=”text-align:justify;”>Till next time.