We really are creatures of habit, aren’t we? We like our home comforts, our trendy coffee shops and the option to go to a nice beer garden any time of the week…preferably all without stepping foot on a tube/bus/boris bike. Well, we have some news for you, central London folks. It’s not all about inner city madness. In fact, if you just spent the same amount of time it takes you to walk to that totally ahmazing brunch place you go to every. single. Saturday. on the tube, you may actually stumble across some pretty awesome things! Like…
1. Painshill Park, Zone 6
Ok, so yes it’s in Surrey, but Painshill Park is still within the M25 border, so you have no excuses not to visit itsgrottos, ruins and even a vineyard. This crystal Grotto – dating back to 1760 – is the most recent folly to be restored in the park and it looks prettttyyy amazing. You will feel like you’re in another world (and then remember you’re in London and love life).
Portsmouth Rd, Cobham, Surrey KT11 1JE
2. Eel Pie Island, Zone 5
Eel Pie (one of the best place names around, right?) is a crumb of land in the middle of the Thames that once was the UK’s biggest hippie commune. Now the land is home to over 20 working artists and their studios and lots (and lots) of boats. We know, it’s hard to believe that this peaceful floating gem used to be a gig venue for some of the most successful rockstars of the 1960’s! Accessible only by footbridge, it is definitely worth a visit.
Eel Pie Islands, Twickenham
3. Petersham Nurseries, Zone 4
Garden centre-meets-totally delicious glasshouse restaurant. What more could you want? Petersham Nurseries is a tranquil oasis in Richmond offering a simple, light Italian-inspired lunch menu, homemade cakes and ethically sourced whole leaf teas and coffee. YUM! Not to mention the decor…HELLO! So, if you fancy a break from your local cafe and want to upgrade to something more, erhm, dreamy, then Petersham is for you! Hop on a train to Richmond and then bus number 65 and you’ll be there before you can say ‘outside Zone 4’…
Petersham Rd, Richmond TW10 7AB
4. Morden Hall Park, Zone 4
Forget Hampstead Heath or Crystal Palace Park, Morden Hall Park is officially the green space of all green spaces! Once a deer park, this rural escape is now a haven for nature and wildlife. It will give you a much-needed breath of fresh air since it’s even FURTHER away from all thatsmog and pollution than all the others. Sometimes all you need is a bit of distance, ey.
Morden Hall Rd, Morden, SM4 5JD
5. Ruislip Lido, Zone 6
Like outdoor swimming but hate the screaming kids, busy queues and general rankness of the inner city lidos? Well, look no further! Ruislip Lido mayyyy seem a bit far to go for a dip, but along with its artificial beach, picturesque reservoir and Zone 6 Mediterranean weather conditions (just roll with it, ok?) it’s definitely worth the ride. Although it is in the midst of a renewal programme to get the boaters and swimmers back, you can still take a trip on the narrow-gauge railway or just laze on the sand. Up to you. But soon enough, you’ll be able to dip more than just your toes in once more. YAY!
Ruislip Lido, Reservoir Road, Ruislip, HA4 7TY
6. Eltham Palace, Zone 4
Created for millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, Eltham Palace is part showpiece of Art Deco design and 1930s cutting-edge technology, and part medieval royal palace – previous home to Henry VIII. Since its shot of Jazz Age glam it has fun activities like 30’s replica frocks that you can try on and touchscreen guides. Plus, naturally it has some seriously stunning gardens. Take the train from Charing Cross to Eltham and you’ll be there in a jiffy.
Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, SE9 5QE
Featured Image Credit: Flickr – James Stringer