Last month (yep, sorry, this is SO backdated!), I had a spare day and nothing to do. I really wanted to get out of the flat and do something with my day, and I hadn’t picked up my camera in too long. I was itching to get outside into the fresh air. So threw on a waterproof, slung my camera over my shoulder, plugged Woman’s Hour podcasts into my ears, and hiked off into Richmond Park.
I was first introduced to Richmond one snowy winter’s day, and I fell in love with it there and then. I was there on a date with somebody I madly adored, which probably helped! After a pub lunch to warm us up we strolled through the town, winding past rows of twinkling shops and up Richmond Hill (with its stunning view of the sweeping landscape and river) into the park itself. Our romantic stroll quickly descended into a snowball fight, but it was one of the best dates I’ve ever been on.
Ever since then, I have found any excuse to come back to Richmond. I love the town and the shops, the riverfront, and its gorgeous, sprawling, medieval park. So on this particular day it was my escape from the outside world, my leafy green paradise for a few precious hours. I had no one to meet up with or spend time with, and I wanted something to occupy the hours of solitude, something which would make me feel like I was being productive.
I believe that Richmond Park has been left relatively untouched over the years, and that the landscape of it is pretty much the same as it would have been 500 years ago, when it was prime hunting ground for Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. I think that’s also one of the reasons why I love it, as it helps me to imagine the England of a bygone age, historic England in one of my favourite periods of time.
Highlight: Getting my best close-up shot of the Richmond Park deer to date. It’s not exactly award-winning, but I’m proud of it! I’ve been enamoured with these gorgeous furry residents since the first day I saw them, and the park’s charm is as much about them as it is its wild beauty.
One of my favourite things about Richmond Park is just how sprawling it is. Covering 2,500 acres, it’s three times as big as New York’s Central Park. If you live more towards central London or are just visiting the city, it may seem like a bit of a trek to catch the train all the way out to Richmond from Waterloo, but it’s so worth it. You can really lose yourself there, without having to see another human soul. And there’s always something to catch your eye.
Finally as I turned for home and began the trek down the towpath towards Kingston, I noticed a couple and their dog in the distance heading my way. They looked pretty familiar, but I dismissed it and carried on. Until I got a bit closer, and realised that I hadn’t iamgined it at all. It was JP and Binky from Made in Chelsea! Now, I have watched MiC since it first aired, way back when I was still studenting all those years ago, and I was trying desperately not to goggle at them as we crossed paths. Especially because they are possibly one of the most beautiful couples I’ve ever seen. But this was made way more difficult by the sudden realisation that little old me holding my camera could be majorly miscontrued as a wayward member of the press stalking them during their private walk. Needless to say, I suddenly became very interested in staring straight past them and marching on, pointing my camera determinedly at the ground to dispel any such fears! I am just the epitome of celebrity spotting cool, folks…
The only other notable part of my walk home was when I realised just how deserted the towpath was, and my Criminal Minds addicted brain kicked into gear and imagined kidnappers, rapists and serial killers hiding behind every fern and under every log. I think I need therapy…
Luckily, I made it home safely, and turned straight away to my step counter to see how far I’d travelled. Turns out I’d walked a whopping 10 miles!
Have you ever visited Richmond Park? Do you love it as much as I do? Do you have your own favourite green space to escape to when you need a bit of alone time?