Brits love a bracing walk (and it’s set to be a pretty bracing start to Spring). In fact, we’d probably pick a rugged, cold climb up a crumbling path over a pleasant downhill stroll with the sun on our faces. It’s that red-faced, cheek-tingling, numb extremities feeling – it’s like our crack. Or maybe it’s the promise of a pint at the end. Because let’s face it, we all know what ‘bracing’ actually means. It means tip your heart rate ever-so slightly over 100bpm and let the wind whip you around enough so that three pints and a packet of crisps in front of an open log fire tastes even better. And you know what, there ain’t nothing wrong with that. Especially at the weekend.
1. Go for a walk in… Hampstead Heath
Home to Emma Thompson, 180 bird species and a pretty unbeatable view of London, Hampstead Heath is a beautiful place to take a stroll on a Sunday morning. A circuit of the Heath, starting and ending at Parliament Hill, is 6 miles long, which is that perfect distance between not-too-short that you’ll wonder why you bothered and not-too-long that you’ll…wonder why you bothered.
And then go for a pint at… The Spaniards Inn
A prominent feature of Hampstead since 1585, The Spaniards Inn was Keats and Dickens’ favourite watering hole back in the day. With dark panels and low beams stretching throughout the bar area, it’s certainly retained a touch of that 16th Century charm (even if the prices have suffered a bit of inflation). We’re not sure what the food was like back when the literary greats used to frequent it but we can safely say that by 2015, these guys know how to do a damn good Scotch Egg.
Spaniards Road, Nw3 7JJ
2. Go for a walk in…Richmond Park
Not just a prime location for getting a pic of Bambi and his mates, Richmond Park is also a top UK site for ancient trees and has over 250 different types of fungi (if it looks like a parasol don’t eat it I DON’T CARE HOW SKINT YOU ARE). The road around the edge of the park is 6.73km long but for a more scenic walk make sure you dip into the Isabella Plantation – it’s a beautiful spot that we could talk about till the cows come home. Or the deer.
And then go for a pint at…The Roebuck
Situated atop of Richmond Hill, the Roebuck offers beautiful views of London, which make the District Line shlep there totally worth it. After a long walk around the park (and a huff and puff up the hill), a pint at this much-loved local will feel like that first sip of water after a sleepless night. Too dramatic? Maybe. Apparently The Roebuck has fed Pete Townshend, Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall…hopefully not all at once.
130 Richmond Hill, TW10 6RN
3. Go for a walk in… Victoria Park
The City’s oldest purpose built park, Victoria park is the ultimate East London go-to-for-your-greenery. A bit rougher round the edges than the its western counterparts, Vicky park is a great place to get one-to-one with nature and watch the seasons change. It’s also wonderful for the littluns with some great playgrounds and a pretty impressive array of wildlife.
And then go for a pint at… The People’s Park Tavern
Arguably one of the best beer gardens in town, this grown-up hipster hangout backs onto Victoria Park so it’s the perfect place to visit after an afternoon stroll. This superb Hackney pub has its own micro-brewery on site and they also serve hearty, traditional pub food, with a rather magnificent roast lunch option on the day of rest. Because let’s be honest – what else are Sundays for?
360 Victoria Park Road, E9 7BT