London – a buzzing, fast paced, expanding metropolis. A cosmopolitan city that seamlessly blends the old with the new. A place where jam packed roads run between the heavy buildings constructed from bricks, mortar, glass and steel. London is an amazing city, full of charm and character. It is a city of dreams to many people on this planet, and it is a top tourist destination for so many more people. One of the most beautiful qualities about London, is the open green spaces, providing an oasis of calm within an other wise action packed city. The idea of a public park is a Victorian creation that has been emulated around the world.
My favourite park in London is Hyde Park. Having spent a lot of my childhood in this wonderful park, it feels like home. That being said, I am lucky to have travelled, and I have visited many parks across the globe that have used Hyde Park as their blueprint. I find that fascinating, but it is easy to understand. Hyde Park is wonderfully varied and excellently designed. It is part of The Royal Parks, and is beautifully maintained, as are the rest of the parks in the collection. It is a tourist attraction in its own right!
Despite the beautiful green spaces that Londoners have in abundance, it is nice to get right out of the city sometimes for a little adventure. Belonging to The Royal Landscape, Virginia Water is another royal park. The Royal Landscape also maintains Windsor Great Park. I have called this post “Escape to the country” in jest, as I think many hardlined folks might question how “countryside” Virginia Water can actually ever be! Travelling to this part of England from Central London is convenient, averaging a 40 minutes drive. Once you have reached your destination, you will be impressed by the landscaped gardens, natural woodlands, scenic valleys and rugged nature trails of Virginia Water. Walking through the gardens is akin to a treasure hunt. The gardens are rich in natural beauty with elegant yet imposing trees and plants that have been there since the 18th Century.
The name Virginia Water comes from the creation of the reservoirs. Created in the mid-eighteenth Century, Virginia Water was once the largest man-made body of water in the whole of the British Isles. Virginia Water is beautiful and is very well taken care of. Whilst the natural aspect is the most attractive, welcoming and intriguing part of Virginia Water, there is another surprising element worth mentioning. Walking around the site, you come across various unexpected features including a Roman temple, a plantation and a fishing temple. There is even a rather tall, 100-foot white Totem Pole which was gifted to HM The Queen by the government of BC, Canada.
Virginia Water evolves every month, every season, every year. It is after all what Mother Nature does, and it is an example in its simplest form of the “circle of life”. This is however an absolutely beautiful time of year to visit Virginia Water for a hike or a picnic. The sun is at a low level, emanating a lovely golden hue through the tree branches. This is when the chestnuts start to mature on the sturdy English oak trees, reminding you of your conker-filled childhood… it was a simpler time. And most spectacularly, this is when the leaves start to magically take on an updated, fashionable colour for the new season. And this is also when the trees self-exfoliate, shedding their heavy dead bark, ready for a refresher.
Thank you for reading.
Until next time! 🙂