I always look forward to play dates with girlfriends. Not only do you get to catch up on all the gossip and have a good old natter, but it’s a great opportunity to explore parkland and outdoor spaces that are not so local to us.
We’ve been to Bishop’s Park and adjoining Fulham Palace on a few occasions now, and it’s a marvellous space along the River Thames. Once you’re inside the depths of the park and within the Palace grounds, it’s hard to imagine that you are in the busy metropolis and close to the Hammersmith flyover.
We all had lots of fun, and it was great to watch our little ones running about and exploring the undergrowth behind trees, picking daisies and playing hide-and-seek. Monkey D was having so much fun, he didn’t even notice rolling around in what I hope was manure.. (and not dog poop), which wasn’t a pleasant experience for myself or anyone else downwind of him! Did I have a spare change of clothes? Did I heck! Thank goodness for wet wipes! My goddaughter O didn’t seem to notice as the pair played happily together – clambering up huge pine cone sculptures dotted around the lawns.
The weather may not have been scorching, but this didn’t stop us enjoying the peace and tranquility – and each other’s company. We all agreed it was the perfect tonic to what had been an exhausting week for us all.
From around 700, when the site was acquired by Bishop Waldhere, it served as a Bishop’s residence for over 12 centuries. At least since Tudor times, Fulham Palace was the Bishop of London’s country home, providing the Bishop and his family with a healthy rural retreat in summer months.
Now the public can enjoy the botanical gardens, explore the museum which charts the Palace’s eventful history and take tea (or in our case, wine…) in the Drawing Room Cafe which serves the usual fare of cakes, hot food and ice cream. The Cafe has a lovely outdoor terrace which overlooks the gardens, and is a delightful spot – particularly when sunny.
And the best thing is… you can enjoy the grounds for absolutely free!
The Grade II English Heritage Park is set around a huge ornamental lake and boasts a moat garden and two meadows. It also has a unique urban beach… which in during the summer months, is brilliant fun, especially as the children can run through large fountains and water features – and cool themselves down.
The toddler’s playground which is separated from the large junior area, is well-contained and D particularly liked the miniature train. The kids loved it here, and we were hard pressed to get them to leave…