London is known for its beautiful parks, all strikingly large and often equipped with multiple lawns, flower gardens, a pond and historic buildings. While I’m living in a busy city like London, I really love having the opportunity to escape the crowds in almost every district by visiting one of the many parks. Perfect of course when you are on the road with children, enjoying the outdoors, while they are running ahead and you’re not have to be afraid of the busy traffic. We like to discover new parks, whether it is in our neighborhood or on the other side of the city. This time we stayed close to our home and brought a visit to Gunnersbury Park.
From our house in Chiswick it’s just about a 20 minutes walk. The road to the park is not very inspiring, but once you have arrived, you immediately forget the busy motorways and imagine yourself in a place strewn with trees. The information board at the entrance tells us that the park is 186 hectares and includes different areas, such as a flower garden, vegetable garden, ponds, a museum, two playgrounds, enough picnic fields and a restaurant where you can go for breakfast and lunch. We had absorbed the information and decided to go on discovery and see where the paths would lead us.
The vegetable garden, surrounded by Gothic ruins dated from 1840, is our first destination. This garden is for the most part used for educational purposes. Gunnersbury park offers a varied program from the established museum and park-based activities which helps pupils of all ages to explore the local history, heritage and culture. All activities are rooted in the rich history of Gunnersbury, the diversity of the collections of the museum and the versatility of the extensive parks. When you come to Gunnersbury, you become immersed in history. This can not only be seen in the appearance of the park with its historic buildings, but also in the range of programs that you can find here.
Everywhere in the park you can catch a glimpse of the early life of the former owners of Gunnersbury. For example you can take a look at the temple, which Alexander Copeland thought it would be perfect for billiards, or the Orangery of Rothschilds where oranges, pomegranates and other exotic fruit were grown. There is also a bath house that belonged to princess Amelia, the daughter of George II, complete with a secluded plunge pool decorated with glass and minerals. The landscape around the mansions has been carefully designed to show the buildings and offer fascinating views, both inside and out.
About halfway the walk, you will find the café in the middle of the park, with next to it the museum, a little playground and a parking space. Whether you’re in for a quick coffee, breakfast, long lunch or a light bite, the cafe in Gunnersbury has it all.
The interior is playful, light and trendy, but because of the nice weather we choose the outdoor terrace with views of the meadows and the Round Pond. Good to know: there is even a specially designed ‘dog park’ outside the café, which means that you can safely leave your dog while you can submit your order inside the café. After a quick refreshment we decided to continue our way.
Gunnersburry Park is a big park with hidden historical spots but also wide open fields. It’s therefore not very surprising that during the year also different festivals take place. Such as Lovebox Festival and Secret Cinema. For more information about the program click here.
We end our visit with a long play session in the larger playground, which offers an area for the younger and one for the older children. In the end you can say that this park definitely has a lot to offer for the whole family, especially with all the extra organised activities during the year. Something we will definitely keep an eye on.
Would you like to plan your visit in advance and want to have more information about the park, museum and activities during the year? Then take a look at the website of Gunnersburry Park.