Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Winter Parks

I am on winter holiday and seeking, as ever, thrifty things to do round and about London. I have spent all my money on presents and mulled wine, and although the lure of the Sky+ box is strong, it can't hold me until January 3rd.

One of my favourite ways to escape the madness, save a bit of cash and experience the city in a different way is to explore some of our great outdoor spaces- the parks- during the winter months. They take on a new persona; subtle, sometimes haunting, and I notice aspects easily lost amongst the flowers and noise of summer. Statues, old buildings, bare and delicate flora; even the stark skyline- they all come to the fore in winter.

Another advantage of seeking out a park or square is that London has wonderful examples in both the centre and suburbia. It is very easy to take a small time- say, half and hour- between shopping or partying and get a bracing walk in. I did this Saturday before meeting up with the hardy few of Twitterland who were still up for Winter Wonderland. It made me feel a bit more virtuous when necking mulled wine and London stout all afternoon.

Of course, I would hazard a warning about venturing out (male and female both) into secluded woodland after dark. Not only might there be ruffians intent on separating you from your iphone, I also heard of a guy up north who slipped, fell and had died of hypothermia before they found him when wandering a large cemetery. Parks are big places and quiet in winter- it's their appeal, but also requires a little common sense.

London is a city blessed with fabulous open spaces. I'm using Hyde Park as an example here today, but could reel off several more favourites (Osterly, Hampstead, Walpole, Gunnersbury, Richmond...). What spaces have you in your area? And, if they look a bit shabby, is there a local group campaigning to improve them? I have several wonderfully restored canal walks near me - I remember them as muddy trolley-filled ex-canals in my youth, but now they are inspiring. Local action at its best. The more we use our open spaces, the better.


  1. What a brilliant post! That looks fab!

  2. I'm very lucky to live very near to lots of lovely countryside. Its a Boxing Day "must" that me and my other half go for a nice long walk, and last year it was a snowy one! The peace and tranquillity in contrast to the previous day is always so nice :)

  3. Stunning photos!
    We've got lots of countryside and parks nearby but I must admit to preferring an urban landscape to a rural one. x

  4. Yeah,a gal has to get crafty with her holiday stumbling around in these penny strapped times!We have a local park we go to a lot, and we used to have a really good river walk,(we are really close to the Avon River)but the earthquake has ruined it.Eventually they will clear the houses away and apparently we will get a wetlands/recreational park,which will be brillant!Just down the road!
    be safe and rug up out there,darling!

  5. We've got loads of green space locally, despite Croydon's dodgy urban reputation - woods, parks and nature reserves. There's nothing like seeing (and hearing) a flock of shrieking parakeets flying across a winter sky.

    Incidentally, where are the jellybaby people? Great photo!

  6. The Jellybaby people are in between Marble Arch and Hyde Park on the 'island' in the middle of the road! They are super bright on a sunny day.

  7. Wonderful! I love our parks in Blighty. Where would we be without 'em.
    We're lucky in Winch in that we're close to the countryside and that our parks are well looked after. I still prefer a walk in a big city park though. London can't be beat!xxx

  8. Thats what I love about London lots of beautiful scenery to see and go too.

  9. Beautiful photos, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you. x

  10. Wonderful post, wonderful photos, it's like a lesson we all need at some stage in our lives, the lesson of looking at things from a different perspective.

    Hope you had a lovely Christmas season and that 2012 is an amazingly wonderful and stylish year for you.

  11. Where I live in Wiltshire we have themost amazing countryside, riverside and canal walks just a minute away and also Bath pretty nearby. Thanks for reminding me to get out and about and appreciate it.


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