Enjoy the sun
With temperatures this weekend looking to be higher in London than Ibiza, get out and enjoy the sun in one of the many fantastic parks and gardens London has to offer.
Chelsea Physic Garden
Founded in 1673, Chelsea Physic Garden contains the world’s oldest rock garden, made from fused bricks and flint, stones from the Tower of London, and Icelandic lava brought up the Thames by ship in 1772. Today the garden is also home to Britain’s first garden of ethnobotany (the study of the botany of different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples), and a Garden of Medicinal Plants, tracing the chronology of plant remedies over almost an acre, from ancient Greek herbs to plants that are likely to be used in future medicine. Illustrated information panels explain what you’re seeing, but there are also guided tours and walks, talks and workshops throughout the growing season. There’s also a shop where visitors can buy unusual plants, and a café serving very good homemade cakes.
Clapham Common provides an oasis of peace amid the busy traffic of south west London, with Holy Trinity Church, which dates from 1776, at its perimeter. A number of cafés, sporting facilities, two playgrounds and a skate park make the common a lively recreational facility for locals. Originally built in 1890, Clapham Common’s bandstand is the largest in London. After falling into disrepair in the 1960s, the bandstand was restored and reopened and now hosts a variety of open-air concerts during the summer months.
Conceived to offer both pleasure and the regulation thereof in one of the capital’s dodgier districts, Battersea Park was opened by Queen Victoria in 1858. It now has so much going for it that it’s almost unfair. What other green space in the capital can boast Thames views, an art gallery (The Pump House) and a zoo. It’s so full of variety it’s impossible not to stumble upon something new each time you visit. Kids love Battersea Park: the pedalos on the charming, landscaped boating lake, the sights and smells of the walled gardens. Battersea Park’s adventure playground is superb, with plenty of original and imaginatively-built features. The climbing structures, slides and high climbing nets present unusual challenges for children aged 5+, and there’s a separate area for younger kids too. But really, it’s all about the animals. An enclosure apparently containing deer (they’re elusive) is fun, but Battersea Park’s ace is its family-run zoo, complete with lemurs, meerkats and pygmy goats. There’s the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home too.
So no matter your plans this weekend, be sure to enjoy a bit of sun while we have it.
1 Chelsea Physic Garden Accessed online 4 May 2016 http://www.timeout.com/london/attractions/chelsea-physic-garden
2 Clapham Common Accessed online 4 May 2016 http://www.timeout.com/london/attractions/clapham-common
3 Battersea Park Accessed online 4 May 2016 http://www.timeout.com/london/attractions/battersea-park