Saturday, August 09, 2014

The Royal Parks

According to www.royalparks.org.uk there are 8 royal parks in London. We went to St James, Green, Regent's and Greenwich Parks. We didn't have time to check out the rest. The Brits are fortunate to have vast open grounds to enjoy the peace and tranquility of nature especially in summer when the weather is conducive for outdoor living. We went to experience this English lifestyle which Malaysians can only dream with envy. Perhaps our weather is unsuitable to be under the sun due to the high humidity. So when I planned the itinerary I worked in the parks and recommend visitors to London to not only shop, visit the museums, see live shows and sightsee popular tourist spots, but also relax and recharge in as many public parks as time allows.

All the parks we visited are designed to be family and senior friendly. Apart from maintenance vehicles no public vehicles are allowed so users can move about safely. No fees are charged and they open late into the evening. We don't see any security guards so presume there is no necessity. The park layouts were designed for walking, picnicking, resting on benches, enjoying the beauties of trees, shrubs and flowers. There are vast tracts of open ground, shaded and open, for visitors to lie down to rest, read books, listen to music and sound of nature, socialize with families and friends or just having fun. There are also ponds and man made lakes with ducks, crows, pigeons, geese and vaious types of birds to feast our eyes and ears. I was impressed by the total absence of litter. Park users including tourists have adopted the culture of respecting the need to keep the place clean. I don't even worry over the cleanliness of the benches I sit down to rest or the grass I lie down to enjoy the cool summer breeze, the clear blue skies and fluffy white clouds. I treasure the moments I spent in the parks and should I return to London I will surely go there again. It's the most economical way to enjoy England.

Of the 4 parks we went we love the Regent's Park most. It was there I found happiness of lying on English turf unprotected from ants and other insects. It was there I needn't have to look around or fight for a spot to sit down for the park management thoughtfully placed many strong wooden benches under the shade trees along the broad avenues where people walked past each other without having to consciously avoid bumping into the opposite traffic. Regent's Park also deserve praise for the lovely flower terraces, water fountains and shade trees to make a visit there soul refreshing and physically invigorating. While the other parks also provide rest and recreation they cannot meet the pleasures I derived from entering Regent's which I recommend you to go when in London in summer. I'm sure it will be pretty too in spring and autumn but check out the website above for updates.

We also found Green Park interesting and memorable. Just adjacent to St James and Buckingham Palace, this park offer visitors opportunities to rest either lying on the grass or use the available reclining deck chairs. We found two vacant chairs and happily laid down to rest our tired bodies. Moments later a park employee in uniform approached us and tactfully asked for payment for the use of the chairs. They cost us £3.20 for an hour of use which we paid ungrudgingly. Of course we stayed the full hour not only to recoup our money but to chat and feel the ambience of British park life. It was fun as we whatsapp our family members how we enjoyed our first full day in London.

I won't miss the shopping for I can buy most of the goods back home. I won't miss the accommodation for home is still the warm place to be. I won't miss the food as I can find them in western restaurants. But I will miss the London parks and forever remember being there. Breathe in country-like air, listen to the chatters of people around, and soak in the atmosphere that cannot be recreated but recalled with much fondness.


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