I had always heard a lot about Richmond Park – its big, its beautiful, there’s lots of deer and its home to the Royal Ballet School (I watched a documentary about it once, sadly I’ve never attended myself). So finally, myself, my boyfriend Fred and our friend’s Emma and Phil agreed to go down there – its only 40 minutes from central London down to Richmond train station, then a 20 minute walk from the station to Richmond Park itself and even less on a bus/in an Uber.
I drove down there which I was a bit wary about at first due to the lack of parking in London; I tried to look up in advance where was best to park but I was slightly underwhelmed by our options, so we did the smart thing (which I would highly recommend) and killed two birds with one stone (not literally). We went to a pub with parking for Sunday lunch before venturing out into the park. This was a great move as parking was free and the roast dinner was lovely. The pub was called the Lass O’Richmond Hill, which has a good selection of drinks and is super dog friendly (we didn’t have a dog with us but we did really appreciate the amount of them in our vicinity).
After lunch, we ventured out into the park to look for some deer, at which point we realised just how huge Richmond Park actually is. Its 2500 acres, which is three times the size of New York’s Central Park, and we had just a couple of hours before it got dark to find the illusive deer. So, we did the milennial thing and got our phones out to see if there were any key places featured on the map, which of course there were, namely a big old lake in the middle.
As I said above, it was quite cold but sunny so a great temperature to be walking in. This meant there were quite a few people out and about walking but I can’t imagine nearly as many as in summer. I would love to go back when the weather is warmer though I would bet its way tougher to park anywhere and that its a lot more crowded.
Once we’d had our fill of looking at the lake, we went for a wander and came across the much coveted Richmond Park deer. They’re quite easy to spot because generally they’re surrounded by Londoners who don’t see wildlife very often. Even though none of us are Londoners born and bred we also appreciated the possibility of seeing some deer so joined the group of people staring at the deer, at which point a policeman came over to remind everyone that they are wild animals and we probably shouldn’t stand so close to them. We heeded his advice and headed back to our starting place.
Richmond Park isn’t that far from central but really does feel like an escape. There are lots of lovely parks in London but this one felt like it was a world away from city life. If I could afford to live in that area, I would do it in a heart beat.
For now, I’m content with knowing how easy it is to get there.