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life in london is mental. from the moment i awake it’s an all-out sprint over concrete and email until around midnight when i rest my wearied head still reeling on my pillow. but the beauty of london is you not only have access to a throbbing metropolis and cultural mecca but also have the bonus of green oases spread around the city. so on the weekends, it’s nice to take pause and escape to the sweet air of those grassy spaces.

the most well-known (and often most tourist trodden) parks are regent’s park, st. james’s park, hyde park, green park (which includes buckingham palace and the palace gardens) and my favourite hampstead heath. but there are tonnes of other spaces to explore. i’ve lived in london for three years and only just took a little trip down to richmond park — about 2500 acres of gorgeous fields, gardens, forests, ponds and wildlife.

this sign at the entrance of one of the gardens sums it up:

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written by (or about) the poet james thomson, it reads:

 ye who from london’s smoke and turmoil fly,

to seek a purer air and brighter sky,

think of the bard who dwelt in yonder dwell,

who sang so sweetly what he loved so well,

think, as ye gaze on these luxuriant bowers,

here, thomson, loved the sun

and the flowers,

he who could paint in all their varied forms

april’s young bloom, december’s dreary storms

by yon fair stream, which calmly glides along

pure as his life, and lovely as his song,

there oft he roved. in yonder churchyard lives

all of the deathless bard that ever dies,

for here his gentle spirit lingers still.

in yon sweet vale – on this enchanted hill,

flinging a holier interest oer the grove,

stirring the heart to poetry and love,

bidding us prize the favourite scenes he trod,

and view in nature’s beauties, nature’s god

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it’s easy to get to richmond park from central london, just take british rail or district line to richmond station, pick up some nibbles for a picnic and take a stroll along the thames about 15 minutes to the park (or get bus info here). here are some more pics from my day out…

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check out londontown.com’s post on top london parks for info on other places to chill out like primrose hill and waterlow park.

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