As one of the capital’s Royal Parks, Richmond Park is not a hidden secret. But for many Londoners, as it can be found at the end of the District Line out in zone 4 and a handful of other Royal Parks battle for attention in zone 1 and 2, it often ends up on the ‘must visit list’.
With an empty sunny Sunday afternoon I dusted off my ‘must visit list’, hopped on the underground and went out west.
Half an hour from Victoria on the District Line happily reading a book, followed by a brisk 10 minute walk through Richmond, I found myself looking out across the horizon and a calmer part of the River Thames.
Terrance Gardens is a tempting treat you’ll find on your way to the park. I had to resist a making a detour as I knew I’d then get swept up in the peaceful Terrance Fields and the rippling river alongside it.
But it’s worthwhile taking a moment to enjoy the view and soak up the sunshine.
I often forget to put on practical footwear for the park being so used to the city streets (I know – cliché city girl!), but when I reached the gates I was glad I’d thought to put on my wellies on so I could wander without the worry of cold wet feet all the way home.
I’d finally learnt my lesson from the previous two trips in an old pair of trainers!
For this trip I had one aim in mind – to see the view from King Henry’s Mound that Jessi (from Two Feet, One World) had bought to my attention a couple of weeks ago. So I located it on the park map and looked out for the sign.
As you reach the top of the mound (a fairly short steady incline) you’re rewarded with this view out west.
If you’re lucky like me you might get to enjoy the autumnal sunshine adding a rather lovely glow across the horizon.
There’s free a telescope in place which means you can spy on the likes of Heathrow and Strawberry Hill. But if you turn it east through this frame you’ll get a completely protected view of a city icon – St Paul’s Cathedral.
Unfortunately it’s hard to capture with your own camera which means you’ll have to find an excuse to go up there and see it yourself 🙂 My excuse was to simply tick off another city view, there’s something about gazing across the crazy city you live and work in from a calm spot with grass under your feet.
Of course this tempting view led me to think there was more to see on the other side of those tall trees ahead so I decided to wander over, passing a picturesque cottage on the way.
When I reached ‘The Way’ I was slightly disappointed to find you can’t make your way through to the other side with the trees at either side.
It’s a little like peeking into all those private gardens in the city and wondering what it might be like to enjoy it all to yourself.
Of course the unknown of what lay at the end of that path then led me to stroll along a route to the left-hand side, where I was happily surprised by the park’s infamous deer.
Looking lovely in the last of the day’s sunshine.
As the sun started to set I found my city skyline. The Shard standing proud. However, I really struggled to spot St Paul’s again!
It’s a lovely view that’s worth seeing, making parts of a nice afternoon of strolling along at leisure. But I’ll admit it doesn’t quite beat my favourite view from its northern equivalent over at Hampstead Heath.
I’m a sucker for sunsets (which you’ll probably already know if you follow along on Instragram!), and could resist quickly returning to Terrance Gardens for one last view of the horizon.
A lovely way to end the day and weekend.
Hopefully, for those yet to visit Richmond Park, this has given you an excuse to leave the comfort of zone 1 and 2 and venture out west. And for those who have already been, an excuse to return and discover a part of the park you’ve not seen before.
Have you been to Richmond Park? Do you have a favourite Royal Park or view of the city skyline?