A guide to the Richmond Park through the lens of a mindful photo walk. Where you’ll find wide-open spaces, grasslands, a woodland garden, and plenty of ancient trees. It’s a slice of the countryside on London’s doorstep!
Richmond Park, in the borough of Richmond upon Thames, is London’s largest Royal Park.
Enclosed in 1637 by King Charles I, its pastoral landscape is home to over 600 majestic wild red and fallow deer.
The park is also a national nature reserve and a Special Area of Conservation, which makes it a unique place to experience the outdoors in England.
If you are in need of the great outdoors and a digital detox, Richmond Park is for you.
A Mindful Photo Walk In Richmond Park
It’s January and even though the weather is brisk, the choice to explore Richmond Park is intentional. I’m proactively trying to manage the 9-hour jetlag that followed me home from California!
As a part of my self-care travel routine, I find long walks are a great way to energize after a long haul flight.
They are good for the mind & body. And along with practicing some simple tips for healthier travels, they help me ease the transition.
Some good old-fashioned in nature time always sets things right.
Nature never fails to add happiness the day and it’s a great component to incorporate into planning tech-free travels!
Not many of us can say we don’t want more energy, balance or sanity in our lives. Right?
It’s why I faithfully plan wellness travels.
And you should too, traveling with thought and attention to well-being is for everyone!
Mindful photo walks are one of my favorite things to do for my well-being!
They are a great mix of exercise, living in the moment, & doing something I love (photography). It’s truly an ideal way to experience mindful travel.
There are endless things to photograph in London and it’s one of the reasons I visit so regularly.
Last month I got to experience festive London in December with a mindful photo walk. And it’s round two this month.
What can you say, photo walks are awesome!
Join me for a tranquil photo walk in Richmond Park
on a brisk January day…
Richmond upon Thames
The District line tube ends right in Richmond.
So, I head left from the tube station for the first mandatory stop of the day, coffee!
Luckily, there is a well regarded sustainable coffee shop on the way. It’s always great to support a business with an ethos that cares for the planet.
The coffee blend at Kiss The Hippo coffee gives me my first ahhh moment of the day.
I don’t know it at the time, but there are a few more to come.
Walking up Richmond Hill on the way to the park provides for spectacular scenic views.
There is something special about lingering here. It’s a captivating view.
The River Thames meanders along the lush green fields and the countryside feels expansive.
Continuing up the road, Richmond Gate welcomes you to the park.
One of the great things about Richmond Park is that you can just explore without agenda.
King Henry’s Mound
One of the first things I notice walking along the path to King Henry’s Mound is the birdsong.
It makes you really tune-in and listen.
I find myself smiling.
King Henry’s Mound offers a panoramic view of the Thames Valley on one side.
And believe it or not, the other side offers an uninterrupted view to St. Paul’s Cathedral.
It’s actually one of eight protected views of the cathedral, which means that nothing can be built to impede the view.
Passing through the grasslands of Sidmouth Woods, the earth beneath is incredibly soft and quiet.
It adds a sense of tranquility to the walk.
Traversing the field, the softness under foot makes for a mindful wander.
Horses dot the pathway at Sawyers Hill, which is a famous panoramic point.
There are five stables in Richmond Park and it seems like a dreamy place to ride.
The hill provides a clear view of the London skyline.
The city is close, but the hustle and bustle couldn’t feel further away.
Saw Pit Plantation
Crossing through the heart of the park, White Lodge appears in the distance.
Formerly a Royal residence, this Grade 1 listed Georgian building is now home of the Royal Ballet.
It’s grand, even from such a distance.
There’s a couple walking an energetic dog.
I can’t help but think of my two dogs who crossed the rainbow bridge, Lucky & Bella.
I still miss them every single day.
In fact, travel really helped me to heal.
There’s more about that experience in the blog post, Grief & Travel (Practical Tips To Help You Cope On The Road).
Being drawn to water, I stop to take a few deep breaths when I arrive at Pens Ponds.
It’s one of the regular healthy mind & body travel tips that I call on to hit the reset button every so often.
It’s such a simple thing, I don’t know why it took me so long to develop a practice! Or why it sometimes so hard to remember to do?!
Good grief, what my older self would tell my younger self. 😉
King George V Plantation
Crossing the open space heading towards the cafe, a fellow photographer comes into view.
Can you imagine the beauty of the deer up close and personal through that zoom lens?
Some serious camera envy kicks-in!
Finally, the cafe appears.
It’s an earl gray tea and a stop to relax on the picnic benches. And a welcome pause to thaw my hands against the warm cup. It’s a chilly day for sure.
Leaving the cafe, more horses traverse across Lawn Plantation.
Maybe someday I could take lessons here. Dare to dream, right!
Suddenly, a father excitedly exclaims to his son that the deer are close.
I turn around and my heart soars! There they are, in all of their majestic beauty.
This is what I was so hoping to see today.
It’s an inspiration to see the deer roam in their natural habitat. There’s a calm about their movements, it’s mesmerizing.
For a time, I am totally engrossed in their flow.
They are beautiful.
After spending a half-hour watching the deer, it’s time to head towards the next stop. Which is Pembroke Lodge for lunch.
Almost back to the main road, I can’t believe my luck when I walk around the bushes and come face to face with even more deer.
This is a travel moment I will never forget. All of those eyes peering at me.
It’s a very visceral connection. The world just falls away, and every part of my being is there at that moment. Present. It’s bliss.
I will cherish this moment for a long time to come.
The deer are really why I came to the park today, and I walk away floating on air.
I’m happy & I feel energized. And isn’t that what travel is supposed to do? To inspire us and help us to experience the awe & wonder in the world.
Out of nowhere the clouds open up and the sun comes out. What a day it’s been, and it gets even better arriving at Pembroke Lodge.
Lunch in a Grade 2 listed Georgian mansion makes me very happy. (Georgian architecture is my thing!)
On my way out, it’s another stop at King Henry’s mound.
Earlier in the day, I was so busy taking in the view of The Thames, that I really didn’t pay attention to the impressive tree-lined view to St. Pauls!
Perhaps it’s a good thing when we are so caught up experiencing travel, that we don’t always get to capture the moment. 😉 Well, at least it is in my book!
Something tells me this won’t be the last trip and I hope you get to experience it too!
until the next time…
…live well – travel well – be well
More Wellness Inspiration…
The Necropolis- Explore Glasgow’s Victorian Era Garden Cemetery
A Stroll In Prior Park Landscape Garden
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