It’s easy to fall in and out of love with London. One day you’ll be praising it’s beauty while enjoying a G&T on a balmy afternoon. As soon as you head home all love will dissipate, a tube strike has now meant to get to your next destination you’re going to have to take a bus, and welter in the “lovely” afternoon heat on a journey thrice a long. If you’re a Londoner I’m sure you’ve experienced these swings on a daily basis.
Don’t even get me started on what it’s like catching up with your friends who have left the capital. They don’t have daily spikes of cortisol, they’re paying reasonable rent and how much is a pint!?
I find myself in very much a love hate relationship with London.
I had a very hateful day today while sussing out a new place to live. London property is insane! Anyway I’m sure you know enough about it, I just had one of those days where the sliminess of estate agents, shocking flats and overall disappointment upon exploring Wimbledon Common all caught up with me.
In London you need to have your secret escapes. Places to go to get away from your own thoughts, tackle problems from another angle and rekindle your love and drive while living in the city.
I’ve broken this down by seasons, as my recommendations are not applicable year round.
Richmond park is my favourite park in London. The wildlife makes you forget everything about being cooped up in a city and instantly transports you to the wilderness. It’s best experienced early morning when the mist is rising and the traffic and cyclists are at their lowest. It’s 2500 acres in size and I’ll give you a medal if you manage to walk around the entire thing in an afternoon! This is where I went to get over my house hunting blues.
Kensington palace you may imagine to be bustling with tourists, it is on sunny weekends and in the middle of the afternoon. However again early morning it can be a real retreat and the convenient location in SW London makes this a short lived but peaceful trip back in time.
Pack wine, sandwiches and a blanket and head to Primrose hill straight after work. Get settled in your spot and enjoy the view and watch as the buildings change through different shades of peach. It can be busy but going midweek you’ll still find somewhere to sit and have a great time. It does beat going home and just watching Netflix.
Hampton Court was the reason we got our Royal palaces membership – while busy it’s always easy to find a place to go in the grounds and set up camp and have a small picnic. It’s right next to Home Park, which is a massive playground and full of wildlife.
A seemingly short distance away in Richmond lies the untouched beauty of Kew and it’s gardens. Kew gardens are world removed and if you’re interested in getting lost in botanicals then look no further. The history of the palace is also rather interesting and current palace is actually the fourth palace to be built there, with it’s heritage dating back to 1631.
Greenwich is a great day out and taking a boat down the Thames is a novel experience. The observatory and the buildings are often quite quiet after the summer rush. Again just another good outside space to sit back and relax.
In winter the Tate Britain on an early weekend morning is a surprising sanctuary. Personally I enjoy walking through the galleries getting lost in the worlds depicted. It still baffles me how some artists could dedicate 50 years to a painting. It’s easy to find places to sit and get away from it all. I challenge you not to discover something new when you visit.
Afternoon Tea Claridges
Afternoon tea is seriously comforting and where better place to spend it than at Claridge’s. One of the most historic and best-rated afternoon tea spots in London will take you on an adventure. If you’re a tea fanatic then you’ll love to know the reasoning behind their tea selections, which come from small batch producers.
I’m sure you’ve noticed the recurring theme of parks and outdoors activities I recommend to escape London. This may have been ingrained within me because of my Cornish heritage but I still feel getting away from the hustle and bustle through the outdoors is the best way to be on top of it when you inevitably have to face it again.