I mentioned it before in this post about Brighton: I love love loved London, but sometimes, it was so nice to get away from the loud, bustling city. Fortunately for me, there were plenty of parks that surrounded Kingston-upon-Thames that I could walk or take a bus to when I needed some peace and quiet.
One of the first parks I visited was actually by mistake. My friend Lauren and I went wandering one afternoon along the River, and eventually noticed a fence had started up to our right. The field past it was beckoning us, and we eventually found a place to get inside. (That was when I realized I forgot my camera – I’m still so mad at myself for that! The pictures below are not mine, but if you click on them, they bring you to the original sources.)
At first, Lauren and I didn’t really know what we were seeing. There were so many deer surrounding us, that we eventually realized this must be a royal park. Sure enough, when I got home to research it later, I learned we had been in Bushy Park. This park, which was eventually taken over by King Henry VIII (because, really, what didn’t he take over?), was established as deer-hunting grounds (source).
Of course, they don’t hunt the deer anymore, but there are still so many of them. Part of the park has also been turned into a golf course. For two American girls, it really was quite a sight.
As we walked on (we still had no idea where we were or where we were going), I started to catch a glimpse of a huge, looming building. As we rounded a bank of trees, there was Hampton Court Palace.
The pictures above don’t quite capture what we saw that day: the sun was setting behind us, casting an orange glow on the palace. The only noises we could hear were coming from the ducks and swans in the lake and a few snorts from the deer behind us. It was just amazing.
(My friend Lauren smartly had her camera with her – credit for the photo below goes to her!)
As we passed the lake, we came upon a road, which eventually lead us out of the park. After further investigation, it turns out that Lauren and I had walked a five mile (!) loop along the Thames, through the park, and back to Kingston Bridge. It was just an amazing way to spend an evening.
Richmond Park was just a short bus ride from Kingston. It was built in the early 1600s, and was actually first used as a place to get away from the city by Charles I – but in his case, he was escaping the plague. I’m very glad we didn’t share the same reasoning!
The first time I visited this park was actually the second weekend I was in London. I had next to no idea how to use the bus systems, and the map I had didn’t help. Long story short, I ended up wandering a good mile past the park before turning around and finding it! 😛
It was a cloudy, humid day, but perfect for some exploring and hiking!
I hope you enjoyed the pictures! Have a great day!