Five years here and we’re still only just getting round to exploring some local attractions, I’d been to Bushy Park before, just once and that was one of my training up to 10K runs, so I didn’t particularly get to appreciate it at the time but I’ve been meaning to take the kids for ages and the last day before school’s back, I finally managed it.
We’re lucky living where we live, living within walking distance of two Royal Parks; Richmond Park and Bushy Park, as Richmond Park is almost virtually on our doorstep we know that park better and could walk virtually blindfolded to the children’s playground at Petersham Gate, we’ve been there that often and on one of those occasions I happened to be talking to Girl Lacer, saying something along the lines of “Isn’t this a great playground?” (and it is Petersham Gate playground is lovely) when a nearby kid piped up “But the playground in Bushy Park is better,” and I’ve always been meaning to see if the kid was right.
So we got the bus into Kingston, walked through the main shopping area, stopping off at M&S for a picnic lunch, then across Kingston Bridge and one very short walk later (basically just navigating a roundabout and then a little bit up a street) we were at Bushy Park’s Church Grove Gate. A short walk along a path sandwiched by a separate kids play area and some allotments (inducing fresh allotment envy) you get into the park itself and it’s amazing, you almost have to pinch yourself that 15 minutes ago you were in M&S buying mango and cocktail sausages. It’s basically just wide open space, blue sky, trees and deer. To get to the playground from Church Grove Gate just follow the path and about 20 minutes walk you’re there. The playground itself is very similar to the playground at Petersham Gate in Richmond Park (understandable really considering they’re both managed by Royal Parks) but Bushy Park’s playground is bigger, the sand pit is, well I don’t think there could ever be a larger sand pit, short of going to the beach itself and there’s more space between the play equipment plus a few extra bits including a slide so high it terrified the normally slightly braver Girl Lacer. There’s also a larger shelter area.
After the playground we headed over to the wooded area on the map and after getting a bit lost we did manage to find some woods, including a beautiful bluebell meadow.
I also managed to photo most of the flowers I needed to photograph for a flower photography challenge on Swapbot (and I’ve put one of the photos up on my photoblog here) and then we headed back to Kingston. On the way back to Church Grove Gate, the deer we’d seen earlier in the distance under a tree, were now grazing close to the path.
I have a bit of a love hate relationship with the deer (there are deer in Richmond Park as well) and if the deer we’d seen had been a little later on in the season with bigger antlers, I’d have been distinctly nervous, not particularly because of me (deer don’t generally bother me if I’m on my own) but because the kids were with me. They’re wild creatures (the deer, not my kids . . . well ) and you do have to be careful, I remember once walking through the woods with a very young Girl Lacer during mating season and I heard a bull bellow in the undergrowth, sounding very very close to us, I never scarpered so quickly! But in April it’s not too bad.
Home was via the cafe in John Lewis and Waitrose, where Boy Lacer had his second extreme tantrum of the day, goodness if I hadn’t been through the tantrum stage once before (with Girl Lacer) I’d have been embarrassed, it was loud enough to literally stop shoppers in their tracks to gawp (in a nice way). I had thought Boy Lacer was tantrumming before but in comparison to today’s tantrums they’ve just been him getting upset, today’s tantrums had temper which I realise now I’ve seen it, is a new element), in the bucket load (the first tantrum was because he didn’t want to go the playground, he wanted to stay at home). Boy is he loud and there is literal foot stamping, which is a totally new development to. Has he entered the terrible 2s now?
So, I eventually got home with two tired children and I have to work tonight and right now my student couldn’t even reach the table (some housework is in order) and to cap it all off, I’m sun burnt, yes in April.