London’s Most Beautiful Parks for a Summer Picnic

As the UK is on the roadmap out of lockdown, rule of six regulations are reintroduced and the sun is starting to shine. As we take advantage of finally being able to see friends and family outdoors again, it is important we choose the right spot to help maintain social distancing guidelines.

With 3,000 of London’s parks to choose from, researchers at Essential Living can tell you which of London’s parks are ideal for a summer picnic. Taking the Ordnance Survey list of biggest parks, the team have extracted the six largest within Greater London to reveal where you can relax and enjoy your long overdue catch up with the comfort of large space.

Here are London’s 6 largest parks:

Richmond Park, Greater London – 9.53km²

Image: Royal Parks

Richmond Park, situated in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, is the largest of London’s Royal Parks with an impressive size of 9.53km², meaning it may be the best place to go for social distancing. 

Essential Living has calculated that it could fit a whopping 684,788 visitors with everyone maintaining two metres between each other. 

Along with its wide open spaces, grasslands and deer herds, there is the Pen Ponds Cafe, located near Broomfield Hill. Serving a wide range of hot and cold snacks and beverages, you are spoilt for choice with bacon rolls and freshly brewed coffee followed by ice cream and biscotti.

Hainault Forest Country Park – 3.62km²

Hainault Forest Country Park is a Country Park located in Greater London. With 3.62km² of space this park is perfect for keeping your distance from others, whilst still enjoying its open space parklands, numerous public footpaths, Hainault Forest Golf Club and Fox Burrow Farm.

If you run out of snacks or refreshments, you can nip to Le Bistro Loco for some freshly ground coffee, locally baked patisseries and hot paninis and sandwiches, which you can enjoy in the spacious outdoor seating area. 

Bushy Park, Greater London – 3.45km²

Linked to Hampton Court Palace by the Longford River, Bushy Park is famed for its mix of waterways, gardens and grassland, and roaming herds of red and fallow deer. With 3.45km² of open space, maintaining social distancing isn’t an issue.

The Pheasantry Cafe refreshment point is located at the Diana Car Park, open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm in the winter. You can tuck into their traditional bacon rolls or a variety of sandwiches and hot dogs, whilst washing it down with a freshly brewed continental coffee or a nice refreshing fruit smoothie.

Hampstead Heath 3.16km²

Hampstead Heath is one of London’s most popular open spaces with beautiful countryside, located just four miles from Trafalgar Square, the heath has some of the best views and highest points in London for everyone to enjoy. 

Open from 9 am until dusk, the Golders Hill Park Refreshment House is ideal for a quick healthy lunch bite to eat, offering takeout soups, pasta pots and salads. Customers have also mentioned their great cappuccinos and comfortingly hot cups of tea for the perfect winter warmer. 

Wimbledon Common – 2.90km²

Wimbledon and Putney Commons are countryside escapes amidst the urban surroundings of Wimbledon, Putney and Kingston-upon-Thames. The Commons offers 1,140 acres of calm and tranquillity amid the urban surroundings of Wimbledon, providing an important home for wildlife and a place for visitors to relax and unwind. 

Next to the famous Windmill Museum, the Windmill Tearooms is the perfect pit-stop for a refreshing bite if you are on a relaxing summer stroll. They continued to provide for walkers despite lockdown, offering a choice of hot and cold drinks as well as their selection of homemade cakes, tray bakes and famous bread pudding.

Hampton Court Park – 2.59km²

Hampton Court Park is a walled royal park managed by the Historic Royal Palaces, lies between the gardens of Hampton Court Palace and Kingston upon Thames and Surbiton in south west London. Its beautiful open space is perfect for those socially distanced gatherings (up to 6 people only though, remember).

The Molesey Lock cafe situated by Hampton Court Bridge has a wonderful garden oasis, perfect for enjoying their freshly made sandwiches and wonderful pots of tea. Perfect for fulfilling the needs of passers-by on their long journey.


Press release originally published by Essential Living

Note: Methodology and Data Sources
Using the Ordnance Survey’s list of 100 biggest parks, we extracted the six largest parks within Greater London and calculated how many people could visit the park based on its size and also keeping two metres away from each other. This was calculated by multiplying the number of people that can fit in a 1km2 area whilst keeping 2 metres distance between them (71,856) by the area of each park.

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/news/britains-100-biggest-parks 

Keep Calm… we’re going to Disneyland Paris!

9 days until my 30th birthday & our journey to Paris…
10 days until Little Man’s birthday & our day trip to Disneyland Paris!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris family vacay

We are all SUPER EXCITED!

It’ll be our whole family’s first time to Disneyland and we are so excited for it! We’ve started preparing what we’re going to bring and wear including those insta-worthy Mickey Mouse ears which we’ve bought from Ebay for £3 each! It’s so much cheaper online than buying on the day or at the Disney store but if you prefer to splash and go all out then definitely purchase your official Disney ears prior to DL to save yourself some cash.

Disneyland Paris via Eurostar

We’ll be travelling via the Eurostar from London St. Pancras. I managed to bag tickets during a summer sale promo for £29pp per way which was a bargain! The Eurostar will take us from London to Paris in just under two hours which works well for us as we’ve booked an evening journey so will arrive in time for dinner. We’ve decided that we will play it by ear and see how the kids feel on the day before deciding where we will eat. If the kids are super tired, we’ll have an early night instead.

One thing I really love about London is how well connected everything is. Sure our transportation has its good and bad days but no-one can fault how easily accessible it is to travel around the country and abroad from London.

My 30th Birthday Plan

I can’t believe how quickly the years fly by! Being an August baby means I get to see nearly all of my friends turn 30 before I do – not a bad thing – but it makes me feel slightly pressured to do something BIG. We’ll see how that’ll pan out as I don’t have anything planned right now with friends.

However, on the morning of my birthday I’ve managed to book free tickets to SKY GARDEN which is going to be amazing! Insta-worthy photos, here I come! I’ve also just treated myself to a Fenty Beauty bronzer and highlighter kit so let’s pray that does me some justice… now to just plan an outfit fit for the occasion… plus or minus a 30th birthday tiara! Then after my morning birthday breakfast treat, we’ll probably just wander around London with the kids then get back home for a quick afternoon nap before leaving for the Eurostar journey.

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A view of Sky Garden / Photo Credit: Secret London

We will board our Eurostar to Paris around 6pm and arrive at Gare du Nord Paris. We will be staying at the Renaissance in La Defense – the financial district. As it’s summer, I’m hoping it won’t be too busy around the area but pray the weather will be nice enough for us to explore Paris on the Saturday before we depart as we’ll certainly be spending all day Friday at Disneyland Paris.

Our itinerary:

Thursday:
20.00 Arrival at Paris Gare du Nord (depart from London St. Pancras)
21.00 Hotel check-in and dinner at hotel or local restaurant
22.30 Bedtime

Friday:
07.00 Breakfast at hotel, then straight out on RER to D’Land
FULL DAY
Disneyland Paris + dinner at the resort
22.00 Night illuminations and park closing parade
23.00 Back to hotel for bedtime

Saturday:
08.00 Breakfast at hotel and pack bags for hotel check-out
12.00 Visit to Jardin D’acclimatation
15.00 Late lunch at a local restaurant
16.00 Eiffel Tower visit
18.00 Depart from Paris Gare du Nord (return to London St. Pancras)

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris family vacay
Disneyland Paris / Photo Credit: Sogol Salehi on Unsplash

I’m going to try and document our Disneyland family vacay as much as I can and will add to my instagram stories so if you’d like to check out our trip, follow me at @mannyngo_yogi

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Why Ibiza should be on everyone's bucket list

Travel: 5 reasons why you need to visit Ibiza at least once

Whenever I tell someone that I’ve been to Ibiza, I am always greeted with a surprised face and “Ibiza? I didn’t know you was a party girl…” The thing is they’re right, I’m not! There’s much more to Ibiza than just parties (even though they are said to be amazing). Ibiza will always be a place for the ravers but the island has more to offer.

Ibiza is a beautiful and magical island that’s great for all kinds of travellers – from solo flyers (yes, I’ve been to Ibiza alone!) to family funsters and soul searchers. Ibiza is demographically part of Spain and belongs to the cluster of Balearic Islands. The other popular Balearic islands are Tenerife, Majorca (Mallorca) and Menorca (Minorca).

Who wouldn’t want to dive into these turquoise waters?!

My case of wanderlust always brings me back to this place and I’m so glad On The Beach have a low deposit option. I find it hard to save and can’t always book in full because I don’t usually have enough money so the payment plans work for me. You pay an initial booking deposit, usually around £30pp for most holidays and then the remaining balance up to 2 weeks before departure. The further in advance you book, the lower the initial deposit. Paying off my holidays in small, manageable chunks helps me to budget better around my bills, rent and other expenses.

5 reasons why you need to visit Ibiza at least once

I’m sure once you’ve gone, you will want to return one day. There’s something quite magical about Ibiza that I can’t put my finger on yet. I think it’s just the fully relaxed atmosphere, the welcoming locals and the friendly people that also flock here – not for the parties – but for the slower pace of life. If you don’t speak a word of Spanish, you can still get by everywhere as English is the second language here. It’s so close to fly from the UK too, with flights lasting about 2.5-3 hours. That’s quicker than cooking a Christmas dinner or watching Lord of the Rings back to back!

So, what are the other attractions to the island?

1. The constant balmy weather

Reading a book whilst sunbathing is how I like to relax!

Ibiza’s climate is balmy and generally warm all year long with moderate rainfall. When I first went to Ibiza back in August 2010 the temperature was around 26-30’C degree celsius. I went back again in September 2017 and 2018 and the temperature varies from 24-28’C degree celsius. In 2018, there was one day we got caught in torrential rain that lasted about 15-20 mins but as soon as it stopped it was warm and humid again.

Monthly average high and low temperatures in Ibiza:

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Ibiza Average Hi/Low temperatures (credit: holiday-weather.com)

2. The various scenery

Heading up to the Castell de Eivissa which was steep but worth it
There’s no place like Dalt Vila – discovered this little place on the way down

From the beautiful views and party places in Antonio Bay to the historical old town of Dalt Vila, there’s a lot to see around the little island. Each little town has something unique to offer. Don’t forget to explore around Castell de Eivissa when you’re in the old town, it’s cobbled floor is so pretty but awkward if you have weak ankles so wear decent shoes and not flip flops like me! The steep walk up has a great scenic route down as you pass Dalt Vila. There’s not much to do up at the castle top but the views are spectacular.

On Sundays, you can head over to Benirras beach to experience one of the most beautiful sunsets accompanied by the sensational drumming. It happens every Sunday during the summer and is an event not to be missed. I tried to go there by bus but got mixed-up with the bus times (or perhaps the bus just never came) so I missed it. My advice would be to catch a cab there early or travel to San Miguel a day before as the roads leading to Benirras beach gets very busy by Sunday afternoon. If you’re driving try to get there in the morning, chill out by the beach all day then get ready for the sunset in the evening. Bliss!

3. The sister islands (Formentera and Espalmador)

People watching at Formentera was blissful!

If the Ibiza mainland is boring you a little, take a trip out to its sister islands. Whether you head out to the pristine white sand beaches of Formentera or stop off at the secluded island of Espalmador (I’ve visited both!) it’s definitely a trip not to miss.

Formentera is a fantastic escape from the mainland. Within 40mins by boat with the main service, Aquabus you’ll reach the pristine shores of Formentera. It looks like somewhere out of a postcard, I kid you not. Plenty of luxury yachts dock at its marina and its beach shores are filled with white sand and turquoise waters. You can easily find places to eat and drink, go surfing or cycling, and explore different parts of the island.

It’s a great place to explore with the whole family. The cosy coves dotted along the coastline are calming and lovely enough to enjoy before the tide comes in. There are frequent Aquabus services to Formentera from all over the Ibiza mainland for about €20 (day return). You can even stay on the island with many B&Bs, luxury apartments, charters and yachts available to rent.

Goodbye Espalmador – as you can see, hardly any boats are docked here. It’s serene bliss!

There’s also tiny secluded island on the way to Formentera called Espalmador. It lies between Ibiza and Formentera and is basically a mass of land which has become a secluded getaway for Ibizan goers looking for peace and quiet. There’s not much to do on the island apart from sunbathe – you can go nude, semi-nude, as free as you like! There is also a mud spring somewhere on the island which you can take a dip in. There’s hardly any coverage on the island so apply plenty of sunscreen, if you burn easily I’d say skip Espalmador and just visit Formentera as there’s plenty of secluded bays there plus rocky coves where you can salvage some shade.

If you’re keen on visiting Espalmador, bring a picnic, plenty of suncream as there’s not really shady areas and water bottle – there’s no food/drink places here and the Aquabus only passes here a couple trips per day. Also there’s no toilet on Espalmador so make sure you go before you arrive either on the ferry boat or mainland if you’re not hiring your own charter or have a private yacht.

4. The Hippy Market and other local markets

The sea views just a short walk from the Hippy Market at Es Canar

Even if you’ve never visited Ibiza, you would’ve heard about their famous Hippy Markets which is open every Wednesday throughout the summer. I remember my first time going to the Hippy Market; it was busy, chaotic but super fun! There’s something for everyone, there’s even a little play area for the kids. The last time I visited it was less chaotic but still just as busy.

There was so much to see and if you’re looking for special or unique gifts you will find something here. I picked up a gorgeous amethyst crystal necklace on a leather cord. I’d seen so many similar necklaces before but they were too expensive. I think mine cost me around €15-18 which wasn’t too bad as the quality was great and the amethyst stone looked genuine enough.

Here’s a short list of the markets you can visit on the island:

Check out Ibiza Spotlight for the full list of Ibiza’s markets sorted by days.

5. The fun, active lifestyle

The Ibizan atmosphere is super chilled. I always felt relaxed and the pace of life here seems very easy-going which is fantastic. But despite the relaxing lifestyle, there’s plenty of activities you can do around the island to keep you healthy, fit and active.

These include:

  • Surfing (there’s even indoor surfing!)
  • Stand-Up Paddling
  • Yoga (even yoga stand-up paddling)
  • Pilates
  • Cycling
  • Watersports
  • Sailing

and so much more!

If you regularly work out, there’s plenty of gyms around the island for you to keep up your strength.

PLUS! Lots of healthy places to eat out

Ibiza is actually quite a health-conscious destination. There’s loads of cafes that offer delicious and nutritiously healthy food so you don’t have to worry much about stuffing yourself with junk. There’s a healthy café in San Antonio Bay called The Skinny Kitchen. They make a good salad/buddha bowl for a decent price, plus it was the only place I could find that offered matcha lattes. There are loads of nice healthy cafes around the island so don’t be afraid to explore. Check out their food reviews on Tripadvisor.

For a more extensive list of things to do around the island, visit Tripadvisor’s 10 best things to do in Ibiza.

Where to stay in Ibiza

I’ve visited most parts of the island and it’s excellent wherever you go. You’re bound to find a beach near you no matter where you stay in Ibiza. Here are some of my recommendations:

Top Tip: If you want to avoid the major party season, visit the island between May – June or September – October instead. The island is well connected by bus so take advantage of this especially if you’ve got more time on your hands to explore the island. X


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Days Out: Top 9 Theatre Shows to see with the family this summer

Looking to become a culture vulture this summer with the kids? There’s so much going on in theatres across London from now until September and even until the end of the year.

Here are the top 9 theatre shows that have caught my eye… best of all they are suitable for the whole family – big and small 🙂

1. Alien Loves Underpants at The Belly Theatre

As part of this year’s Underbelly Festival, this adaptation from the popular children’s will leave both parents and children in stitches of laughter and fun, you’ll all be laughing your pants off!

Tickets from £11.50 / find out more

2. Rufus Longbottom & The Space Rabbit at Greenwich Theatre

Rufus Longbottom is a grouchy old man who lives in a care home and despises contact with other people. He loves watching his telly and does nothing else until one day he comes across a big yellow rabbit from outer space. A show filled with marvellous adventures, song, dance and interaction with the audience. I’m a big fan of small productions that are interactive and immersive. You’ll not be disappointed!

Tickets from £8.50 / find out more / other tour dates

3. The Elves and the Shoemaker at Greenwich Theatre

You’ll meet Mr Cobbler and his wife, who are struggling to afford the leather for him to make any shoes to sell. But could their fortune change? A beautiful retelling of a classical children’s fairytale featuring all of the original songs from the story.

Tickets from £5 / find out more

4. Not Now, Bernard at Unicorn Theatre

David McKee’s iconic picture book, “Not now, Bernard” is a story that’s been loved by many children and adults for the last thirty years. The show will be vividly brought to life in this brand new adaptation.

Tickets from £6 / find out more

5. The Tiger Who Came To Tea at Piccadilly Theatre

A musical play adapted and directed by David Wood. Based on the book by Judith Kerr, this classic children’s book comes to life. The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? What they certainly don’t expect to see at the door is a big, stripy tiger!

Tickets from £12 / find out more

6. The Everywhere Bear at Polka Theatre

This captivating and beautiful new story from best-selling author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Rebecca Cobb springs to life with rhyme, original music and delightfully expressive puppets in Polka’s fun and exciting stage adaptation.

Tickets from £9 / find out more

7. Jack and The Beanstalk at Polka Theatre

Expect lots of surprises and beautiful images as Patrick Lynch (from Cbeebies) tells the gripping story of Jack who sells his cow for five magic beans and finds himself in the land above the clouds. It’s a show with something for everyone.

Tickets from £10 / find out more

8. The Jungle Book at Greenwich Theatre

Greenwich Theatre proudly presents this dynamic adaptation of “The Jungle Book”, bringing Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale to the stage with thrilling percussion, vibrant puppetry and Kipling’s unforgettable, larger-than-life characters.

Tickets from £9.75 / find out more

9. We’re Going On A Bear Hunt at Lyric Theatre

Join in this adaptation from Michael Rosen’s fantastic book, “We’re going on a bear hunt” and follow the family’s adventures with their musical dog on a quest to find a bear. As they wade through the gigantic swishy swashy grass, the splishy splashy river and the thick oozy, squelchy mud! Expect catchy songs, interactive scenes and plenty of hands-on adventure!

Tickets from £17.25 / find out more

So much choice!

I hope these top nine have sparked your interest and you’ll find something great to watch. We’ll also be attending a few more shows so will try to review them as soon as I can!

The Greenwich Mummy | London Family Lifestyle Blogger

 


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The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Things to Do in Greenwich for Free

Free things to do in Greenwich during the Summer Holidays

Everybody loves a freebie and when you’re strapped for cash, free things to do can become the best way to treat the family to a lovely day out without spending a penny. Here are a few of my favourite (free) things to do in Greenwich over the summer holidays…

Greenwich Peninsula

The Peoples Brick Company and architecture firm Something & Son have commissioned a one-of-a-kind installation at the NOW gallery that encourages visitors to get involved and participate in quarrying clay and moulding your own brick. If you want to take part, pop along to the NOW gallery at the weekend and get your hands dirty. All of the bricks made will be mass-fired on September 17th and then will be used to build a permanent folly which will stand at Greenwich Peninsula.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Things to Do in Greenwich for Free

Greenwich Park

Parks are a great place for a run around, to see wildlife and horticulture, have a picnic, etc and best thing is that it’s usually free! Royal Greenwich Park has lots of wonderful areas to explore from the flower garden to the deer encounter, to the children’s play area and the secret garden.

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Greenwich Park’s children playground

Greenwich Market

Greenwich Market is a great free place to go. It’s filled with stalls selling everything from food to fabrics. Over the summer holidays, every Wednesday is “Wicked Wednesdays” – a day filled with crafty workshops for kids. There’s also some Weds in August where they are holding free yoga workshops.

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One of the entrances to Greenwich Market

National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum is free to enter and has a lot of free galleries for the whole family to enjoy; there’s the Ahoy gallery aimed at 0-5 year olds, the All Hands gallery and the ship simulator is aimed at over 7’s, the Great World map is ideal for everyone.

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National Maritime Museum

Sky Studios at The O2

If you want to have a bit of fun, head over to the Sky Studios at The O2. Previously, they hosted a special Paw Patrol meet & greet event and now they’ve got virtual Sky Sports event on. You’ll be able to have fun with their green screen and pose with your favourite footballers – you can then save your photos digitally to a card which you’ll receive upon arriving. All you’ll need to do at home is log on to the Sky Studios page, type in your code and voila you’re photos will be available for downloads.

The Greenwich Mummy | Sky Studios at The O2
(Photo Credit: The O2)