We may well be in the deep, dark depths of winter, but that shouldn’t stop you from donning waterproofs and wellies and heading out to explore the beautiful gardens of the south of England. From mature leafy expanses to carefully manicured lawns and herbaceous borders to sprawling play parks.
Most of the parks in Britain were created during the Victorian period when for the first time, leisure time wasn’t just for the upper classes. As a result of this, many of our public parks are situated in towns and cities that are home to train stations, making the train the perfect way to visit the gardens and negating the stress of finding somewhere to park. Here are three parks that are worth a visit come rain or shine.
Verulamium Park – St Albans
Set within 100 acres of beautiful parkland, Verulamium Park in the heart of St Albans is an excellent place to visit whatever the weather. Named after the Roman City of Verulamium on which it stands, the park has a host of amenities – including a fabulous café.
The children’s play park is perhaps one of the best public parks in the UK and it’s Toddler Splash Park, open in the summer months is the perfect place to let little ones frolic. In colder months and on wetter days, the hands-on and award-winning Verulamium Museum set within the park is a must visit. Displaying various artefacts discovered under St Albans the museum brings to life the Roman City of Verulamium.
With direct trains from London and a central station, having a day out in St Albans is both cultural and fun.
Stanborough Park – Welwyn Garden City
Founded in the 1920s, Welwyn Garden City is one of the original Garden Cities. Designed to combine the benefits of a city and countryside, Garden Cities were a revolutionary movement. Containing an equal mix of housing, industry and greenery, Welwyn Garden City is home to a traditional countryside park set within 126 acres.
Stanborough Park offers something for everyone, from nature trails and fishing, to play areas and water sports activity centre. It’s easy to spend hours surrounded by greenery, whilst only being a stones’ throw from the city centre.
With its centrally located train station getting there is easy enough, for example travelling from Stevenage to Welwyn Garden City takes less than 15 minutes, so a day out exploring the beautiful gardens is simple and accessible.
Chiswick House and Gardens – Chiswick
Situated in the leafy London borough of Chiswick is a park befitting the grand Victorian houses and tree lined avenues that surround the 655 acres of public parkland. Home to Lord Burlington’s villa, Chiswick House and Gardens is a Palladian paradise. With formal gardens and classical landscapes as well as wild woodlands and serpentine lake, there’s plenty of places to explore. The café and shop situated within the grounds benefits from a seasonal menu serving produce from the Kitchen Garden and has a covered terrace seating area overlooking the lake and house.
Playing host to a variety of events throughout the year, Chiswick House and Gardens is as beautiful as it is historic, and with central London under 30 minutes away by train it’s the perfect place to escape the city.