I’ve come to appreciate the none city environment more through the pandemic and lockdown. The ability to escape the city (that I still adore) was taken away from us for so long over the last year that when during breaks of lockdown we were able to go out exploring I relished the chance to walk in a field or along the beach. When freedom of movement is taken away from you, you very quickly realise how much you took that freedom for granted.
London is special in that it has such a wide variety of parks but not all are not easily accessible. Having to take multiple tubes to a park was off putting even before the pandemic. When able to we embraced rediscovering Richmond Park as it’s either a cycle or short train journey away. Of course doing this during winter had its downsides but even with the grey skies and chill in the air, it could not diminish the joy of walking its hills, keeping our eyes peeled for majestic deer and popping open the thermos full of tea (such a great Christmas present- thanks parents!). We even cycled there on one occasion for Mr Life London Food’s birthday. We both drastically underestimated those hills. It is one of the parks I easily forget about because through spring and summer it’s so busy with tourists but having rediscovered my love for it we will certainly be returning through the summer for picnics this year.
Avoiding public transport where we can has meant we have discovered lots of London by foot. We regularly do a walk to Soho and China Town so that we can stock up in the Asian supermarkets but going to those places we would normally dismiss because of how busy they would be prepandemic has been fun.
One such walk was from Battersea all the way north to Notting Hill. It certainly felt further than google maps made it seem. Our route took us through Fulham to wonderful Brompton Cemetery. Where has this been all my London life, why have I never visited before? If you have not been then I highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful monument to London, life and the rich architectural history of the city. We only explored a small part of it so we will be returning.
Continuing north we went through Kensington passing Kensington Palace and gardens (where we had taken walk during Christmas) before arriving at another new place for me, Holland Park. It was a lovely leafy place, again one that needs further exploring as we only saw a small part of it as we passed through on our way to the Notting Hill.
It is these lovely walks that allow you to explore the streets of London that get forgotten about when travelling by bus or tube. Taking to the pavements allows you to experience so much more. I haven’t been to the Notting Hill area in years! It was somewhere I actively avoided as the weekend were just a sea of people visiting and taking selfie’s in front of the beautiful ivy and wisteria covered houses of the rich and famous. But on a lockdown weekend, it was delightful. Still a fair few people around visiting the street food stands and market but a chance to leisurely explore the area.
As the lockdown has eased step by step we are getting our freedom of movement back. In April the stay at home order ended which meant I could go and see my parents, be it in their cold garden but it was worth it. Leaving the city behind in the early morning we got to the Cotswolds in time for the dogs morning walk. Huzzah! Field after field of open space. Oh how I had missed it. I love Battersea park but day after day walking to and around it there is only so much you can take. The Cotswolds countryside was definitely needed. Just that small day trip break refreshed everything. It was hopefully the start to a new normal. A way back to socialising and getting out and about.
As we move forward I want to keep this renewed love of the none city environment alive as we move through the summer and beyond. As the weather gets better, picnics in different parks, hop on a train for a countryside walk and fingers crossed at the end of May an actual overnight stay in a house that is not my tiny flat!