Best spring walks in south west London and Surrey
Discover hidden paths away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Samina Bhatti reveals the best walks in south west London and Surrey
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. Escape the bustle of the station and head out towards the river and follow it along 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.
Stepping stone walk, Box Hill
For something more active and invigorating, why not take the family on the Box Hill Stepping Stones walk which comprises of a scenic meandering walk down to 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 picturesque Surrey Hills and pass a fort dating from around 1892 as part of the London Defence Scheme. Bear in mind that the descent to the River Mole is a steep one with 275 steps before you reach the bottom.
Painshill Park, Cobham
Spend a day in England’s most beautiful 18th century landscape garden, Painshill. 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. Wander around the lake and discover surprising gems 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. The woods are ablaze with colour in the spring as the azaleas and rhododendrons are in bloom. You can also soak up panoramic views from the Leith Hill tower on a clear day. 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 all the colours of spring at the RHS Gardens in Wisley. Spend a day at these picturesque gardens and explore the best blooms of the season. Take a stroll through the Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden and see the blue sweeping lawns of camassias and alliums on the slopes on either side of the garden. You can also wander through the Mediterranean Terraces 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, the impressive Tudor mansion and fields of daffodils. 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. Spring flowers will be blossoming across the park this time of year and it’s particularly known for its burst of bright purple crocuses. On your travels you’ll also come across the Pump House Gallery which hosts contemporary art exhibitions throughout the year, a Chinese Pagoda 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. Your first stop is the National Trust-owned Morden Hall. It was originally built in the mid-18th century on an earlier building by Richard Garth, Lord of the manor of Morden. Surrounding it is lots of green space and beautiful myriad bridges. Along the meandering trail you’ll pass the wetlands, narrow paths 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.
Now find great restaurants in south west London and Surrey…. www.timeandleisure.co.uk/food