Best summer walks in south west London and Surrey
Samina Bhatti reveals the best summertime walks in south west London and Surrey, from riverside ambles to countryside trails
Richmond station to Ham House
If you’re planning to visit the historic Ham House, why not take in the sights along the way by heading to Richmond station and then make your way along the twisting Thames. Venture towards Richmond Green, which comes to life in the summer months with cricket games and ice cream vans, and head to the river and follow it towards Twickenham. There are pubs aplenty to discover along the way, wide green spaces straight out of a bucolic countryside scene and the path is relatively flat. Once you reach Ham House, soak up the history and visit the house’s splendid riverside gardens which come to life in the summertime, then cross the river on the ferry and finish up in York House gardens.
Stepping stone walk, Box Hill
For something more active and invigorating, opt for a light hike, taking on Box Hill and its stepping stones walk, which comprises of a scenic meandering walk along the River Mole. The Stepping Stones are part of the iconic Surrey countryside and an idyllic spot to sit down by the river with a picnic and watch the world go by. Along the way, you’ll also take in views of the rolling Surrey Hills which will be full of enthusiastic cyclists making the most of the good weather.
Painshill Park, Cobham
Spend a day at Painshill for a glimpse into the 18th century and enjoy the landscape as it stretches out in front of you. The historic Grade 1 listed gardens were created between 1738 and 1773 by the Hon. Charles Hamilton who was inspired by Renaissance art and his trips across Europe. Visitors can wander around the lake and discover surprising gems and follies such as Grotto Island, the Gothic temple and the amphitheatre. Once you’ve finished the trail, treat yourself to afternoon tea at the Hamilton’s Tea Room or a hearty lunch and enjoy the views of the park.
Leith Hill woodland walk, Surrey
For a leisurely stroll, take in the views on offer on the Leith Hill woodland walk and soak up panoramic views from the Leith Hill tower on a clear day or at sunset. The woodlands have been a popular picnic spot since the 19th century so grab your hamper and a blanket and enjoy the area that surrounds composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’ former childhood home.
RHS Wisley, Surrey
Immerse yourself in the verdant greenery of summer at the RHS Gardens in Wisley. During the summer, the gardens come to life, putting on family friendly events, al fresco cinema screenings and special trails. You can also wander through the Mediterranean Terraces which explode with life in the warmer sunny weather, and explore the magnificent trees of the Pinetum. There are a number of eateries in the gardens so you can stop off for a coffee and cake or a light afternoon tea.
Hampton Court to Teddington Lock
Explore the rural parts of the Thames on a walk from Hampton Court to Teddington Lock. You’ll start off at Hampton Court Palace where you’ll catch glimpses of the Royal Park and the impressive Tudor mansion. From here, you’ll stroll pass Thames Ditton Island and soon discover the Grade II listed St Raphael Church en route to Kingston Bridge. Take a break at Kingston Bridge and grab a drink and a bite to eat at the riverside pub, The Bishop. Continue your walk past Canbury Gardens and walk on to Teddington Weir and Lock.
Cannizaro Park, Wimbledon
If you want to escape the hustle of Wimbledon, head off the beaten track and discover the tranquil gardens of Cannizaro Park. Located just south of Wimbledon Common, this beautiful park is Grade II listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens and is full of floral wonders during springtime. Spot the historic statues as you stroll through the fairy tale-like paths strewn in pretty red and pink petals. On your trails, you’ll also find a large pond and a hidden rose garden. Take a picnic or finish you walk with an elegant lunch at the Hotel du Vin.
Just a stone’s throw away from the iconic Battersea Power Station is an urban oasis known for its fantastic riverside location, park cafe hot spots and great routes for runners. The summer months sees the park coming to life with picnicers and families out and about, enjoying the sunshine. On your travels you’ll also come across the Pump House Gallery which hosts contemporary art exhibitions throughout the year, a Chinese Pagoda which looks out over the river, and the children’s zoo.
Morden Hall Park to Merton Abbey Mills
Join the Wandle Trail from Morden Hall Park and head to arts hub and historic mill, Merton Abbey, which puts on arts events and family activities during the summer. Your next stop along the walk is the National Trust-owned Morden Hall. It was originally built in the mid-18th century and evolved to become a hub for industry. Surrounding the park are green spaces, a pretty rose garden, and myriad bridges. Along the meandering trail you’ll also pass the wetlands and Deen City Farm.
Tolworth Court Farm Fields, Kingston
For a quiet walk away from it all, visit the ancient grounds of Tolworth Court Farm. It’s a 43.3 hectare local nature reserve and goes as far back as the 11th century where it was mentioned in the Doomsday Book. You’ll find winding paths, hidden tree walks and sweeping fields. If you’re looking for a place to eat then the café in the Court Farm Garden Centre will satisfy your taste buds. It’s close to the reserve and you can enjoy a tea or coffee with a piece of cake in a relaxing setting and enjoy the views of plants and flowers on sale outside. The café also hosts exhibitions from local artists.
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