Wednesday, 21 April 2010

sunny afternoon in Ham...

I love London but I'm a country girl at heart so there's nothing I like more than getting out of the city. But, when the weekend is so precious I don't want to spend half of it in the car! So what's the answer? Ham! Not the kind that goes in a sandwich but the kind that sits between Richmond and Teddington on the mighty River Thames.

There are two ways of doing this. Either park your car in the National Trust car park at Ham House or hire a boat from Richmond and row up stream. I've never done the boat option but it's on my list! Anyway, organise your day as you wish but this is how we did it… We walked to Ham village green, which is a picture perfect English scene. I don't think I've ever been there when there hasn't been a game of village cricket going on! Then we walked into Richmond Park (always a GDG favourite), turned left by the Ham Gate duck pond and eventually popped out at the Petersham Gate. We then bravely walked passed one of my favourite spots - Petersham Nurseries, where the tea shop is located in a converted garden shed and the restaurant in an old glasshouse. It is a quirky and beautiful spot but it gets busy (hence why we gave it a miss on such a sunny day) so if you want to go to the restaurant you really have to book.

Head a little further down the river bank and you get to Ham House. It's worth a whiz around the gardens (and house if you like that sort of thing) but most import is the tea shop! It's located in the old Orangery Kitchen Garden and is an idyllic spot, away from the chaos of the river on a sunny day. Laze around the gardens at Ham for as long as you want or take a stroll along the river bank - there is always something going on. If you want to venture further afield you can always hop on the £1 ferry outside Ham House that takes you over to the other side of the river…

It is so easy to walk from place to place along this stretch of the river that you can happily while away a romantic summers day. This is a perfect date for those wanting to bask in the glory of their existing romance, but equally good for those early days when you want to get out of London but aren't quite ready for a mini break!

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