A gentle breeze rustles across the field, bringing with it the drowsy scent of lavender. For a minute, I can pretend I’m in a remote farm in Provence, but the chatter amongst tourists reminds me that I’m still in London – Mayfield Lavender Farm to be exact.
Some may claim that it’s not London at all, but when you live outside the M25 you know what the real suburbia looks and feels like. As I jumped off the train at Croydon (still in zone 5), heard the beat of a kick boxing session at Box Park, grabbed a coffee from the Department of Coffee and hopped into an Uber with Germaine. I knew I was still in the city’s boundaries.
We paid £2 for our entry and found that after only an hour of the farm being open, we were not alone. The trick to avoid other purple hue enthusiasts is to take a route to the side. With hundreds of rows of lavender, there’s room for us all.
If you count the number of cameras around you could call it an open air photography studio. It’s all too irresistible to anyone carrying a lens.
And surprisingly the few thousand bees living there don’t seem to mind.
Although they’re so focused on the job at hand, you won’t find them posing for a photograph.
Unlike me, who knew from the photos I’d seen that it makes a perfect backdrop for a new summery profile picture.
(We had a bit of a laugh getting these photos. Don’t get me wrong I love a good photo of myself (who doesn’t!) but I struggle to take it seriously and maintain a straight face.)
An hour or so into our visit we were both blissfully relaxed but a little lethargic. So we thought a little lunch and a sweet treat would go down well.
The farm is family run and they have a pretty reasonable selection of food. From toasties to afternoon tea, or just a cake and a coffee. The only thing I would say is that there was quite a queue so although once you’ve ordered it arrives really promptly with a smile, there’s a wait to make your order.
I went for a toastie, followed by a lavender scone, washed down by some lavender lemonade.
You might as well embrace it whilst you’re there, right?!
Rested and relaxed, we ambled over to the shop where you can buy lavender.
And more lavender!
The fragrant piles of purple were pretty hard to resist and naturally I picked up more lavender than I could ever find a use for.
We decided to fully make the most of our trip by hopping on the tractor. For £2 you can explore the whole farm in about 20 minutes.
Such a great way to see it all.
We should probably have left then but we found a spot in the shade and grabbed a cold drink.
One more photo before we hit the road? Go on then.
We got back to the station sun kissed and happy after a fun day out. If you love photography as much as Germaine and I do, it’s a brilliant place to explore. But if you just want a quick pretty pit stop and somewhere to take lovely portraits (it’s perfect for the kids), it’s great for that too.
I did a quick video as part of the Make Films course to show you around.
You can find a list of other lavender farms in the UK on Visit Britain.
I think lavender season blooms in July and ends some time in August.
Have you visited a lavender farm in the UK?