Sunday, 25 September 2011

Rural City

This evening I am relaxing in front of the telly after a weekend entertaining my parents. As always, it was a pleasure, but came with it the usual predicament – what do we do? Where do I take them that is easily accessible and not too manic? In London this is always a challenge – it doesn’t really do relaxing, and although the tube is great at getting you out and about, it comes with it a labyrinth of corridors and staircases.
So, after some deliberation I decided to take them to Kew. It’s nice and easy to get to – a bus to Caledonian Road tube station followed by a straight forward change onto the District Line at Barons Court (there are other stations you can change at but at Barons Court you literally just have to walk to the other side of the platform). And, once you have taken the short stroll to the Victoria Gate entrance, you can wander around the Royal Botanical Gardens at your leisure – or get the little bus that runs every half an hour to do the hard work for you.
The added bonus is that, even though it is popular, Kew is big enough not to get crowded. And apart from the aeroplanes flying overhead every 90 seconds (we timed them), it’s a lot more peaceful than a lot of the other attractions in London.
Today we caught a bus up for Hampstead for a wander around the Heath and a look at Kenwood House. Again it ticked all our boxes – easy to get to, somewhere for my dad to stretch his legs and a cafe for my mum to sit down and enjoy a cuppa. After a couple of hours we popped back down to Highgate for a spot of lunch. Unfortunately the Angel Inn was packed so we settled for the Rose and Crown. It was busy there too so we ended up outdoors once more – a quiet area at the back of the pub with high walls that sheltered us from the noise of traffic on Highgate Hill, if not the wasps who took a liking to my Pork Belly.
When we returned home, it struck us all how peaceful the weekend had been – apart from a busy tube journey, we could have been back home up north. So, next time my folks come down, we might head out of the City Centre again – maybe to Hampton Court or Richmond Park. Either way, it just goes to show that London does indeed cater for everyone – even those who don’t really do urban living.

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