Autumn done right: Richmond Park
Updated: Nov 19, 2018
Weather chat. The Brits love it. And now I know why. It's not just a way of making polite conversation, the weather is actually worth talking about. Unlike Queensland, where a change of wind plunges you into the depths of Winter or you're thrown into Summer at the first hint of that old friend, humidity; you experience all four seasons here. And in Autumn, you can get a bit of everything; sometimes - all in just one day. So the weather can provide endless fodder for small chat.
But the best part of Autumn here, is that the trees actually lose their leaves. The oaks, chestnuts and even those nasty hay-fever-inducing plane trees, are all stripped bare and the streets change colour as Mother Nature decorates the footpaths with an awesome combination of brown, yellow and red.
London's parks too - transform. And among the best of them is Richmond Park. Particularly for kids. It's a place where kids can just be kids and unlike Australia, you don't have to constantly worry about snakes or spiders! There's almost 2,500 acres to explore and running right through the middle is a little stream where kids can watch the ducks, look for frogs or newts and play around in the mud. My kids love the extra space and the freedom. But their favourite part by far... is the deer.
Six hundred deer call Richmond Park home. And in Autumn, the stags become quite the spectacle. September marks the start of the rutting season and the male deer not only strut and bellow, they lock antlers and fight. Sir David Attenborough has done a documentary on this - but to see it in the flesh is something else. Richmond is less than 10 miles from London and some parts of the park offer uninterrupted views of the Shard and St Paul's Cathedral. So to be watching wild deer fight, with some of London's famous buildings as their backdrop, is one of those pinch-yourself moments I've grown to love about living here.
The other wonderful thing about Richmond Park is its location. A short stroll out of Star and Garter hill, is Petersham Nurseries - a fabulous cafe set within the glasshouse of a gardening centre. It's a fabulous spot to soak up the sunshine but is particularly cosy on a rainy day, when you can wrap your hands around a warm cuppa and watch the rain fall around you, while staying perfectly dry.
From there, it's a lovely little stroll through a cow meadow and then along a very quiet stretch of the Thames to Richmond's High Street, where you'll find a swag of shops and pubs - some with water-views. There is a fabulous vibe here on the weekend, so you can sit back with a refreshment in-hand and soak it all in.