London and thereabouts; September & October 2017
On Friday 1 September, we took a drive south west of London about 50 miles to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
First stop was Box Hill. It’s a small summit about 225 metres high. It is named from the old Box forest in the area. The ground is chalky and overlooks the River Mole The western part of the hill is owned and managed by the National Trust, so there is a paid parking area, a café, and of course a gift shop.. Plenty of walks around the hills, with some good viewpoints. You can see Gatwick airport in the distance A nice enough place to spend an hour or so.
We then drove to the village of Shere for a look around; a typical English village where we stopped at a pub for lunch. It is a small still partly agricultural village with traditional English features. The Tillingbourne river runs through the centre of the village. Quite a busy place with several pubs and cafes.
On Sunday 3 September we took the Tube to High Street Kensington. I wanted to go to the Roof Gardens which are on the 6th Floor of the Virgin buildings in Kensington High Street.
The Roof Gardens took two years to build at a cost of £25,000 and opened to the public in May 1938. The depth of the soil is 18-inches with drainage made of bricks and clinker over a waterproof membrane. Over 500 species of plants and shrubs were planted and there are seven trees which remain from this original planting and the gardens have been acknowledged as a place of ‘Specific Historical Interest’ and given a Grade II listing by English Heritage. There are three themed areas; a Spanish Garden, Tudor Garden, and English Woodland. There are some Flamingos happily living there, and quite a few ducks in the steam and pond.
Entry is free; but you need to check on their web site as to when it’s open to the public as the gardens and associated function centre are often used for private events.
An amazing and beautiful place, which is apparently not that well know by Londoners or tourists. On Sunday afternoon; there were only 25 or so people wandering around.