Five Parks Walks
10 December. On a rather frosty morning – in fact it remained frosty for the rest of the day – fifteen of us ventured out on what ended up to be not five, but more or less a six-parks walk. We made our way through the relatively small Archbishop’s Park, towards Lambeth Bridge past the Garden Museum and Lambeth Palace. After crossing the bridge, we cut through Victoria Tower Gardens towards St. John’s Smith Square (St. John’s Church is now a well-established concert venue and also the home of the Southbank Symphonia). From there we made our way to St. James Park via some ancient back streets (North Str, Cowley Str, Barton Str, Great College Str) through Dean’s Yard to emerge by the bustling Victoria Street with Westminster Abbey to our right. There was a time when one could walk around the Abbey Cloisters, which are accessible from the Dean’s Yard, free of charge but that’s sadly no longer the case.
In St. James’s Park we found the lake sporting a thin film of ice. Alas, the pelicans were not around as, I believe, they were in quarantine to keep them safe from catching bird flu. On this bright sunny day with plenty of people about, it became a bit of a job to spot our group – I lost sight of them at one point. But eventually we arrived together at Green Park where we looked at the Canadian memorial before reaching Hyde Park Corner. A busy junction which is always a challenge to cross over, but was even more so with large crowds making their way into Hyde Park to visit, what else, but Winter Wonderland. Our route took us through the rose gardens taking us to the north side of the Serpentine. With the lake to our left, we walked to the Long Water with the fountains at the end near Lancaster Gate, Bayswater Road.
Lunch stop was at the cosy Mitre Pub where Peter awaited us eagerly. Food was served relatively quickly considering we were a large group. By the time we continued our afternoon stroll, our number had dwindled from 15 to nine, but with the sun still shining brightly we walked via the bronze statue ‘Physical Energy’ by the artist George Frederick Watts through Kensington Park. The Round Pond was truly frozen over with the swans and ducks ice skating instead of gliding through the water. Then a brief tour through the public section of the Kensington Palace gardens before making our way towards Holland Park.
Shortly after leaving Kensington Gardens three more walkers branched off so the final six enjoyed a walk around Holland Park, where a peacock had taken residence in the terraced garden. On entering the Kyoto Garden, we found that the narrow stone bridge across the pond by the waterfall was closed – probably too icy to be safe!! Can you spot a few of our walkers near the bridge in the Kyoto Garden picture?
Four of us rounded off the day with a cuppa and pastry in a café by Holland Park station. Pleased to say that the frosty temperature did not spoil the conviviality of the group.
Sigrid (photos: Sigrid)