Escaping the city at Morden Hall Park
I've lived in London for over ten years, and I'd never even heard of Morden Hall Park before seeing it on a few people's Instagram feeds a couple of weeks ago. This city is so full of hidden spaces, you can live here for years and still find things that are completely new to you. if you've not heard of it before, Morden Hall Park is a huge and beautiful park owned and maintained by the National Trust. The nearest station is Morden in South West London, which is not somewhere you'd typically think of as blessed with wild green spaces. I used to actually take my driving lessons around that area, it brings back bad memories. I still haven't passed my test...
I badgered Gav into taking us in the car last Wednesday on his day off. He works in retail so he gets a mid-week day off as well as a Sunday. Its hard sometimes that we don't get whole weekends together, but it's great when we benefit from having fun days out when it's a lot quieter. We didn't have much of a plan for our first visit as we didn't really know what to expect, so we let Rory nap at home and then slowly got ourselves together to head out late-morning. We arrived at about 12.30pm, and went straight to the cafe for some lunch. They have two cafe's at the park, one which has a more extensive food menu (although still not a huge selection and not great for veggies) and another cafe that was more for coffees, cakes and ice cream. They had a good kid's menu, although we are in the habit of taking food with us for Rory because so much gets chucked on the floor it pains me to spend a fiver on something for her that is going to get wasted. We let her eat bits of whatever we have, and bring loads of different things for her like pasta, fruit and other healthy snacks.
After lunch we set off to explore the park, letting our little wild adventurer run free to chase the ducks and wave at absolutely everyone we saw. I don't think I've ever seen her so happy. I was so surprised by how large and varied the park was. Some parts of it are more manicured, with rose gardens, smooth paths and picnic benches. Other parts are much more overgrown, and feel more like fields with huge trees, nettles, cow parsley and long grass. It's such a wonderfully peaceful place, it almost felt like we were in the countryside in some parts. As well as the park, they're are plenty of other things to see and do. There's a second hand bookshop, a garden centre (mostly outdoor plants) an adventure playground, activities for the kids and lots of wildlife. It's about a half a mile walk to a local city farm too, but we didn't have enough time to check it out on this visit because we left a little late in the day and we were keen to head home before rush hour. As if traffic in London isn't bad enough!
Morden Hall Park is one of the most beautiful places I've been in London, and one of my favourite days out in the the city. I only wish we had planned it a little more, left earlier and taken a picnic with us. We didn't cover much of the park at all, and I'd love to have had a whole day to explore. We're already planning a trip back with some friends, and I can't wait. I'm so pleased with how our photos turned out from the day as well, I'm so grateful for capturing memories like these and also for Gav being so encouraging with us taking time to get some photos of all of us. I know it's not a process he particularly enjoys, but I see that since we've had Rory he really appreciates having these moments preserved. I always make sure I send the edits to his phone so he can look at them through the day when he's working, because he misses out on her so much. My pictures of the two of them together are something I treasure a lot. More days out like this please, they are so special.
I'm actually hosting my beginner's photography workshop and a Wildness Tonic photo walk at Morden Hall Park this Summer, so if you fancy a trip and want to improve your photography at the same time then come along to one or both of them! You can find all the details for the beginner's photography workshop on Sunday 2nd July here and the photo walk on Sunday 25th June here. I'm really excited to share my knowledge and love of photography with you, and to do it at one of my new favourite place in the city!